Sunday, February 08, 2009

I Want To...

1. Be in a fight - I used to get the crap beaten out of me by my best friend in elementary school. We would be in one or the other's front yard playing army (we were neighbors) and then Adam would snap and land some bruising punches to my back or chest. Mostly, I was confused by this rather than hurt. Adam was really and truly angry at an age when I was most concerned with whether or not my mom, on a cleaning binge, would ship some coveted toy off to Goodwill. My parents argued when I was growing up, but Adam's parents could be heard screaming at one another over the fence. He was a kid in a thorn bush and pounding on me must have given him some release.

My gut reaction to any physical altercation has always been to break it up. As I eventually grew to 6'2 and 215 lbs, my stature seems to have served as a deterrent to most possible brawls. I was once punched in the head at a concert, but I instinctively laughed at the kid who threw the punch and I think this dissuaded him. Who wants to fight someone who laughs at your best shot? It's not that I want to hurt anyone, but to quote a great movie, "How much can you really know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?"

2. Live in the woods for a year - There is something about being alone in the wilderness that completely subverts your conception of what is truly important. When concerns about electrical bills, clothes, email, debt, and relationships are replaced with concerns about food, shelter, water, and beauty life seems to come into brilliant, vibrant relief. As the poet said, "God is in His heaven and all is right with the world."

3. Do something really and truly badass as an occupation - My father has a non-sexual man crush on my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law flies F-18s. My brother-in-law is the GI Joe of my family. My cousin's kids think he's an astronaut and my grandfather, a WWII pilot, gets all misty eyed and excited when he talks aviation with him. I thought all of this was a bit hilarious and not born of a small dose of envy, but then I visited my brother-in-law at his air station and got to watch F-18s tear the sky in half and I realized he's kind of a badass.

4. Work my way around the world - Who wouldn't want to do this? Obviously, I'm speaking from a perspective of leisure and not of necessity, but can you imagine having the freedom to set out east or west, land in a country, and stay until you've worked and saved enough to move on to the next locale? You'd be like Kane from Kung Fu. The road would be your home. Bandits, scrapes with the law, exotic loves, mysterious diseases, revolution. Imagine all you could see and all you could learn?

5. Be multi-lingual - I had Spanish working in my favor for a while, but then I moved to the Midwest. Not a whole lot of Spanish being spoken here. I envy the Europeans I meet who speak French, English, German, Italian, and Spanish. I think I'd take all of those but throw in some Arabic, Farsi, and Chinese for good measure. Oh, and Russian. Maybe if I did 4 I could crawdad my way into 5. Hmmmmmm...

6. Take a bow to the roaring applause of thousands - Does this need explaining? I was reading an author the other day who wrote that when he was younger he wanted to learn to play the guitar, but then realized he could give a damn about the guitar and really just wanted to be a rock star. I was in a punk band in high school and played the bass guitar. I think (I know) I practiced less than anyone in the band. We all started in the same place, but I was rapidly overtaken by my best friend (and lead singer) and soon found myself on the wrong end of a, "I think we're moving in opposite directions," conversation. Getting kicked out of a band is a little like being dumped, but by more than one person at the same time. I guess I got my just rewards. They really were artists. I just liked being on stage.

7. Write a book - Ahhh, the ego.

8. Plan, execute, and get away with a heist - This may be my answer to number 3, although I'm sure my father would not approve. I have always loved heist films. Don't mishear me, I'm not talking about a mugging or a simple burglary. I'm talking about a HEIST. I'm talking about donning a skin tight, temperature controlled skin suit, rappelling into a laser guarded vault, cracking a safe using an advanced gadget (preferably something involving algorithms), and pilfering an invaluable and unique artifact or jewel or government secret. If there's a moral subplot (a la Inside Man) the heist would be that much cooler.

There's a lot more here, but "ten" lists are tedious and I have recently compiled one of those. Who wants to become predictable?

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