Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A History of Ridiculous Ideas: I Just Want to Fly

As a child, I wanted to be able to fly SO badly! I spent an enormous amount of time trying to figure out ways in which I could pull of this task. I first experimented with plastic grocery bags, and jumping off my swing set. With that being a failure, I thought maybe I should jump off something higher, like the roof. Unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t let me get up on the roof to try. So that didn’t work out.

Back at the drawing board, I thought about all the people who could fly, and how they went about it. There were only three people that I knew of who could fly: Superman, Peter Pan and angels. I realized that unlike Superman, I was not a super hero, so that wasn’t going to work. I also realized that angels fly because they have wings. I didn’t have wings, so that option was off the table as well. The last resort was Peter Pan. The good thing about him was that he was just a normal boy, but was able to fly with the help of pixie dust. This was progress! Of course, I would first have to get my hands on some pixie dust, but soon as I did, I would be golden!

So how does one go about getting pixie dust in the late 1980’s? Well, there was only one person I knew of that could help me get “hard to get things.” Santa Claus! I knew that if I asked Santa, he would definitely bring me some, and I would then be able to fly. Hooray! Unfortunately, my attention was momentarily distracted by the Christmas Lego catalog, and I ended up asking for Legos instead of pixie dust. Blast! (Though, the Leogs were glorious.)

For a child, a year is a looooong time. Christmas seems to never come, so I figured that I had blown my shot at getting pixie dust, and went back to the drawing board. I still had no hopes of becoming a super hero, so the only other option was to get wings. Unfortunately, only angels have wings... so I wouldn’t be able to have wings unless, of course, I became an angel myself. How does one become an angel? Well, in my mind, you just die and go to Heaven. At the time I figured angels were just people who were now in heaven. I figured that if I just killed myself, I would go up to Heaven, get my wings, and then I could come right back down to earth. No big deal, right? I imagined my mom in the kitchen, and me floating down through the ceiling with my wings. I imagined that she would be so pleased with me! Her little Zachary has wings and can fly, what a clever boy he is! (I imagined I would look just like this kid, but with regular clothes.)

I didn’t know how I would go about killing myself, but I had some thought about maybe wrapping a coat hanger around my head. I am not sure what I thought that would accomplish, but I was just a little kid, so give me a break. I suppose it was lucky that before I tried to do this, I went and told my mom my plan. I don’t remember what her reaction was, but I do know that she dissuaded me from killing myself by lying to me. She told me that I already was growing wings. “See those bones that sort of stick out of your back [shoulder blades]? Those are your wings… and they are growing.” My mind raced, “WHY HAD NO ONE TOLD ME THIS!!!??” Very excited about this news, I would check my shoulder blades every day, hoping to see the wings starting to pop out. Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t actually growing wings (It might have been that my parents finally told me. I don't remember). Either way, I was quite disappointed.

I only had one option left. It was a long shot, but I thought I might able to will myself to fly. I remember sitting on the side of my bed thinking, “If I just think about it hard enough, I bet I can fly.” Nope. That didn’t work either.

And with that, all my ideas were exhausted, and I was forced to accept that even though I wanted it so badly, little boys just aren’t meant to fly.