When I was in my callow youth or salad days people, mostly men, would rub me on the top of my cotton top head and ask, "What do you want to be when you grow up? I firmly believe that is the reason I am bald today -- they killed my follicles. As I pondered that question I looked over the bridge from where I stood and envisioned the future. I remember wanting to be a cowboy like my hero Roy Rogers or a farmer or carpenter like my dad. My answers elicited responses such as, "There is no limit to what you can do."
Those were well-meaning folks and I appreciate their encouragement and affirmation but in 2010 I am on the other side of the bridge looking back to those days and I can truthfully say, "Today, there is no limit to what I can't do."
I can't eat spicy foods because they make my stomach roll about as I am sure the president of BP Oil must have been feeling as he was excoriated during the congressional hearing on the oil spill.
After attending my granddaughter's fourth or fifth dance recital I realize that there is no way I can wear one of those ballerina tutus. There was that one time but everyone made so much fun of me especially over my bib overalls.
I can't square dance. And I hate to try. I have watched people square dancing and they are graceful and fluid. I look like Forest Gump trying to stomp cockroaches. I can't listen to hip hop or rap music and keep my lunch in my stomach. Since I don't care to see my lunch in that state I never listen.
Last week on the news a man was filmed as he climbed the outside of a very tall skyscraper without any safety ropes or net. My stomach tightened just watching him. If I tried that it would be easy to extirpate me from such an effort because I would only be about six feet from the ground, my hands frozen to the surface of the building unable to move any higher.
I can't do the Bop to the Top of the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument. I can't comprehend why but each year people see who can run up the stairs in that vaunted building in the least amount of time. Why?
Here is one for you, I can't kiss my own elbow or smell my ear or touch the tip of my nose with my tongue. Right now several of you are trying to do all three. If you can and would demonstrate that prowess in my presence I will buy you a mug at the Calvertville A & W Root Beer Stand next Thursday.
I can't play the guitar like Chet Atkins or banjo like Roy Clark. I can't lift 300 pounds but I have lifted nearly 280 pounds with ease. Truth: I weighed that much at one time.
I can't imagine eating rattlesnake meat or those huge puffy white worms that Andrew Zimmern eats on the Travel Channel. I can't stand to watch any of the reality shows on TV. It is too late to start my own country music band even though I have the name picked out -- Dead Horse Creek.
There is no limit to what I can't do. I am still mad at those people who "rubbed out" my follicles.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.