Monday, September 28, 2009

A Stifled Genius

I had a few days of free time this summer (seven months of unemployment) so, I figured I'd take the opportunity to introduce my cousin, Thomas, to the finer things Atlanta has to offer. We set apart a few days for him to spend at the Duderanch with me, solo, and I set about planning our activities.

You know I love activities.

I sent Pledge Slocumb a packing list, rented a small Mitsubishi convertible, and we were off. Initially I planned to let him use my bed while I slept on the couch; thinking that a "servant spirit" may be the better part of valor under the circumstances.

Unfortunately for him, he came complete with sleeping bag and ended up on the couch in short order. I felt a tiny bit bad about parking his narrow butt in the living room, but I harkened back to all the times Dad made me sleep on the floor in situations where there actually was an extra bed handy, and I felt a little bit better. Plus, it was for his own good anyway; my bedroom can be very scary at night - I periodically have to sleep with my head all the way under the covers myself.

I intended to talk a bit more about Camp BabyJimmy (now an annual event), but the topic of scary bedrooms has distracted me so, though the following is somewhat unrelated; I want you to know that sweaty heat-buildup from undercover-sleeping led to my invention of the "Monster Snorkel" as a kid.

Do you remember how you always felt safe if you got all the way under the covers, and cinched them down tight around you? Well, I did at least; but it gets hot under there and I've always been a man in search of a solution - so, voila! The Monster Snorkel was born. Basically, we're talking about a snorkel that lets you breathe cool air while under the covers hiding from monsters.

It worked fairly well, but tended to lead to hyperventilation for some reason. My limited grasp of medical concepts prevented me from fully investigating that phenomenon, but the device was short-lived.

"Um. Why do you keep your Dad's scuba snorkel under your pillow? Does he know you have this?" Mom asked one day during the torturous sheet-changing exercise I was forced to endure quarterly.

I explained.

She was not amused, and due to her stunning lack of vision - the patented Monster Snorkel did not lead to great fortune as I had hoped. Instead I spent several sweaty, miserable, July nights clutching my Red Ryder and gasping for breath under three cinched-down blankets without my snorkel until, finally, I got so miserable I threw the covers off, shut my eyes tight, swept the muzzle of my BBgun around threateningly and hollered "COME AND GET ME" in defiance of any lurking haints.

The door to my room cracked open; razorthin shaft of light illuminating my tightly-clenched fruit-of-the-looms, and I heard Mom whisper "Please don't tell anyone we're related," before softly closing the door.

It was another case of genius stifled in its infancy if you ask me.

It may not sound like childhood trauma to you, but all I know is - I wish I had a dollar for every time I saw genius trampled under the cloven hoof of complacency.

Its a good thing Beethoven's parents weren't standing at the top of the stairs shouting "HEY WOULD YOU QUIT BANGING ON THAT THING?" or the world would be a much darker place today......sort of like a roomfull of monsters and no Monster Snorkel.

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