The previous blurb was to bring into perspective my 4year old frame of mind. I wanted to be a superhero. I wanted to fly like Condorman and save the world from evil. Who doesn't? I acquired some yellow sunglasses to which my mother attached a yellow construction paper beak. I grabbed a yellow towel/cape and would fly around the house, singing "Condorman, da da da da da CONDORMAN!!"
Living in Idaho was quite a drive from Southern California where my maternal grandparents lived. I-15 runs from the sandy So Cal beaches, through cities, across deserts, over mountains, around high plains and low valleys. Heading north after acres and acres of lush farmland you reach St. Anthony, Idaho. A small town built around an even smaller sawmill.
My Grandparents had just driven up from San Diego to see their daughter (my mom) and their Grandkids (me included). As my Grandfather told us of their drive in great detail, I was busy entertaining my 4year old self by playing my favorite game of Condorman. I was 'flying' from the couch onto our old green velour bean bag. Launching myself off the couch at full tilt, flying through the air with the greatest of ease, and landing with a soft thump on the ever flattening styrofoam beaded bean bag, this was the pinnacle of good times.
As the story goes, which I have to include because I don't actually recall any of this happening, the story goes that my ever worrying mother told me to stop jumping, that I would hurt myself. Why do mothers say such things? The never ending stream of "Be careful, Don't run, Stop that, Don't put that in your mouth" which seem to flow from them as the mighty Mississippi. Do they truly believe that we will listen to and heed their warnings? Did you? I thought not. Moving on...
After this dire warning of Stop-or-Else bounced off me as a rubber ball would off hard concrete, I knew I had to make the ultimate in Condorman stunt moves. Moving as far back as I could, half the couch laid out in front of me as my runway, I spoke the words heard round the world..."Grandma watch!" I ran. As fast as my little legs would carry me, across the couch and launched myself into the air, arms spread in wonder and glory. I flew.
I flew with magnificence and grace. The air rushing through my hair, my house falling away below me, I flew up higher and higher into the upper levels of the atmosphere. Time did not touch me here, I was free. I was Condorman!
A large green velour mountain passed far below me, I paid it no mind. I was a superhero. I had wings and could choose my path in life. I could overcome all obstacles and bypass those things that stood in my way. Enemies, KGB double agents, oak roll top desks, super villains; all where mere playthings to me. Though danger may loom ahead, dark and impending, seemingly immovable, I did not deviate from my present course. I had a mission to accomplish, a world to save, I would overcome.
There are many different types and weights of wood. Balsa is one of the softest woods. Pine is another soft wood, able to be marked with a fingernail. Oak is considered a hardwood, as is Cherry and Maple. Just how hard is a hardwood? Hard enough to be used as flooring and all the punishment it will endure after being walked on for decades. Hard enough to hold the weight of building or smash a skull in. The latter is not something that most Grandmothers, worrisome mothers or 4 year old super heroes think much about. Can this oak desk really smash my skull in? Not a thought you have everyday, now is it? Not so much.
Here I am in St. Anthony, Idaho, my family catching up with each other after years of separation. I am, of course, still flying through the air. Evil stands before me, dark, oak and impenetrable. Using my superhero powers I will surely smash through this evil force and conquer my foes. With wings spread wide, I stare down my enemy and focus all my mind on the task speeding toward me. The moment arrives, it's do or die!
With a resounding THWACK! I bring down my enemy with a headbutt that his children will surely feel. In the shadows of consciousness I hear my mother and Grandmother cheering me on, screaming for my victory. My Grandfather wants to take me out to celebrate with a stalwart "Get the car." Bright lights and many people surround me as they revel in my conquering of the oak enemy. Victory is sweet.
17 stitches and much cleaning up of pooling blood later, I am brought home from the Emergency Room for the third time that year. The doctors must have suspected that my parents regularly threw oak roll top desks at me, but that was not that case. I was just a daredevil, and nothing stood in my way.
Now here's what really happened, I ran across the couch, dove for the bean bag, missed and hit the corner of the desk directly above my left eyebrow. One inch lower and I would have lost my left eye. I wonder if people would have called me One-Eyed Emily? That would be be a little bit awesome, actually. You know I would have worn a leopard print eye patch and told stories of how the pirates put out my eye with a hot poker, but I never told them where the buried treasure was!!...story for another day....
Considering that my forehead had been pretty well turned to mush by hardwood and inertia, the surgical attendant in our very small hospital did a spic-n-span job of sewing me up. You would not be able to see the scar above my eyebrow unless I pointed it out. Not too shabby for a doc stuck in north eastern Idaho. I am grateful for that doc's skill at putting me back together, could have been much worse. I'm grateful for the scar as well, a constant reminder of the price we all pay to fight evil and overcome that which stands in our way.
Moral of the story: Enemies come in many forms, and we all have to smash through our own. What's a few stitches among friends?