Monday, July 26, 2010

Carpe-ment Diem

Carpe diem means "seize the day."  (NOTE: thanks, Dead Poet's Society!).  Carpe diem represents the winner in you, the fighting spirit that propels you through tough times and keeps great opportunities from slipping away.  Seize the day!

Did I mention you can pay a price for seizing the day?  A bill, so to speak.  It's your carpe-ment diem.

Unlike other bills that exact their tolls in the form of cold hard cash, the price you pay for seizing the day is oftentimes more physical in nature.  It's your proverbial pound of flesh.  Especially if you are almost 40 years old.  Oh, you guessed it, there's a story behind this one...

Last weekend we had my son's birthday party at a gymnastics training facility.  They opened the gym for fifteen children ages five to eight.  And their parents.

Some parents took advantage of the fact that they were not required to stay.  I, being the father of the birthday boy, did not have the luxury of leaving.  I was stuck there, surrounded by the temptation of the trampolines, tumbling mats, and foam pits.  Everything was padded, it seemed.  You'd have to be a fool to get hurt there.

What was I saying?

Oh yes.  The high bar (aka horizontal bar) next to the foam pit.  You know what it is - a horizontal bar that male gymnasts hold on to and spin and do flips and all sorts of cool stuff.  Stuff I can't do.

What was I saying?

Oh yes.  I swung out high over the foam pit, mentally preparing myself to let go of the bar and flip backward (a gainer).  I had plenty of momentum.  Just one more swing and...okay, maybe another one one more and I'll be ready time I'll...screw it, I'm not really gonna do that.  I let go and just jumped into the pit feet first (which was loads of fun, don't get me wrong, but it was too smart to satisfy me long-term).

Most people would recognize their limits right there. I am not most people.  I can do a gainer off a diving board, so I chose instead to attempt a gainer into the foam pit from a straight run.  I did it.  I also did a flip over the vault.  Landed it nicely.  In the foam pit, of course.  So I did a few more.  They got a little better each time.  (NOTE: This is the kind of success that improperly inflates your ego.)

I went back to the high bar and decided that it might be easier to do an inward flip.  I jumped up and grabbed the bar, the foam pit to my back.  I started swinging, the momentum taking me higher each time, visualizing how I would let go when my feet reached their peak behind me, using the upward momentum to carry them over my head as I tucked and executed a perfect inward flip!


I chickened out and just let go again.  As I swam through the foam blocks to the edge I noticed a peculiar sensation on my hands.  It quickly developed into a deep, burning pain.  I looked down and saw that the callus under the ring finger of each hand had opened up like the lid on a sardine can.  Apparently gymnasts use a protective guard or something.  They are sissies and cheaters.

My hands burned for a week.  I had to cut the flaps of skin off.  The open wounds made many menial tasks a murderous malady. (NOTE: thanks, Thesaurus!)

Which can only leave us to ponder one more thing:
Did I learn my lesson?

Yes, I did.  And I can't wait to learn it again.


Anita said...

Ouch! That's called a rip. Husband was an All America gymnast (rings) and he still has hardened skin under all his fingers.

I've been wondering about this story...thanks for sharing...I want to say it's funny, but is that rude?

Rich said...

Like father like son?? When I was a young lad of 4 in Lakewood, OH, I used to run down this ramp next to the steps. Each time I tried to jump/fly further.

When Uncle Roy came over one day, I was ready to show him. He said "Are you sure you can do that?" And of course I said "Sure, I have done it a million times!" Then I flew farther than any other time and on the landing, well let's just say there was no skin left on my right knee cap! The entire family made fun of me! The old "I've done it a million times!" kept coming back to me for decades.

PS: is that why the gymnists tape their hands?

Rick Daley said...

Anita- Mel Brooks said, "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die." So since this did not happen to you personally, you have every right to laugh. I winced every time I washed my hands for four days. Waterproof band-ainds aren't. Don't believe the advertising.

Dad- Thanks for the genes! The gymnasts have a kind of leather half-glove that covers the palm.

Sharon said...

Sounds like you had a blast, and that you casn't wait for Max's birthday party which will be at the gym- even if he doesn't want it to be! Be glad you are more talented than Steve, his fun stint on the rings tore his ACL...
If I send Max gloves for his bday, will he share them with you?!

Rick Daley said...

Max doesn't need to share the gloves, I will commandeer them. It's my right as a father.

Eric said...

Awww man, I was expecting something truly comedic (so we could laugh at you). This wasn't even a really funny and damaging experience. I mean c'mon, you didn't break anything, you didn't go unconscious, you didn't even sprain anything. Sheesh.

Next time you prep us for a cool story like this, make sure you have more blood and guts :)

...Okay, I am slightly sorry you hurt your hands ;)

Rick Daley said...

Eric- Yeah, it was probably built up a little too much. I thought about that as I was writing the post, I'm sure you were expecting a knockout life-flight to hospital, ICU, etc. So cuts on my hands may be a bit anti-climactic, but damn did it hurt!

Elaine AM Smith said...

I love how self preservation, like our automated systems, will always reach out and take control when we think it is a good idea to risk life and limb. ;)