Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Pedestal

I can’t count how many Tripillion-Bazillion-Gamillions of times I’ve sworn I wouldn’t Climb It again, but I always do.

I can’t even say what motivates me to do it. But by-golly, the very second I land back on solid ground, my feet scramble to get up and Climb again. Is it determination … hormones … stubbornness … or foolishness? Am I under some kind of witch’s spell?

Or is it just stupidity?

(Please, would someone just put some marbles in my head?)

It looks so tall from here, lying on my back on the ground at its Base looking up its smooth stone Face.

“The Mountain exists; ergo I must conquer its summit!” Except in this case the scenario is “It exists; ergo I must adorn myself Atop It.”

I’d better get my shoes back on. I’d better get new laces, too. These are starting to fray.

You know, considering the situation from its Base is just as dizzying as considering the situation from Atop It … why on earth did I get OFF It in the first place? Because … if I don’t get OFF It; ergo I won’t have to CLIMB It again. Sounds pretty sensible, right?

I wonder if I should try climbing from a different side this time. This Face looks promising … a straight path right up the side. It looks vaguely familiar too.

Well, I do know why I got OFF It. I don’t have to guess on that one. I got Booted OFF. It was something I said or something I did. Or maybe it was something I didn’t say or do. It doesn’t take much. And that’s part of why I just don’t understand the urge to always Climb right back Up.

Once you are Atop It ... IF you make it all the way up ... you have to work hard to STAY Atop It. The slightest infraction, and boomp, you’re Falling down from that impossible height, watching the ground zoom in larger and larger, until suddenly … splat … you land back down at the Base of It … hopefully still in one piece.

Oh, I remember this Face. I Climbed it a couple of years ago. Yes, there’s that slick spot just ahead.

It’s always the little things that cause your Fall. Maybe today you didn’t make yourself pretty enough. Maybe you didn’t flirt enough. Maybe you were too shy or too forward. Maybe your teeth weren’t white enough. Maybe your figure made a Santa-tummy instead of a perfect figure 8. Maybe it was a joke you didn’t laugh at well enough. Or maybe it was just because you weren’t the first one on someone else’s mind.

Wow, looking down, I see I haven’t Climbed very far. I’d better get moving.

It’s even hard to even imagine how one could possibly ENJOY being Atop It when the list of infractions is so long. (You can’t even sneeze without Falling off!) All your time and concentration is spent on maintaining your position. It can be gone in an instant … a really Quick instant.

Now I ask you, how fun is that … being Atop It but having no time to ENJOY being there? It’s as bad as having a candy bar that you can’t eat because if you do, you won’t have it any more.

(Please, would someone put some peanuts in with the marbles?)

And the Climb back Up could not be more difficult. I ought to know. I’ve done it enough times.

In fact, I’m doing it again right now.

Watch out! Falling objects! Cover and duck!

I guess someone Atop is not having a good day. They may just Fall OFF before I get there, which is good. I don’t like having to Throw them OFF. (There’s just no other way to get past them!)

Yeah. So again, I ask you … Wait! Is that a Falling body? Yikes! It is! Duck!

(“Hellllp Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”)


Bow your heads and say a prayer, my friends. A fellow Achiever has failed the Climb.

I must be getting pretty close. I usually don’t encounter Falling Things until I’m near the Top. It’s easy going when you’re close to the Base, but once you get this High, it gets precarious. You have to really watch out for the Falling Things. They’re pretty nasty. By the time you encounter them, you’ve climbed too high to turn back. And there’s nowhere to shelter. This Face is just too smooth. So keep your eyes open. And remember, Falling Things come out of nowhere and knock you off the Face. Mission not-accomplished! Now you have to Start all over Again.

And then there are all the little traps set by your competitors.

(“Ohhhh, noooooooooooo!”)

Ah, there goes another one.


I think … if I had to hazard a guess … I would say the motivation is that once you are Atop It, the view is quite incredible. You have the whole world at your feet and everyone looks Up to you; everyone wants to Be you, because You are the one Atop It. It’s a pretty good feeling.

But you only have a scant moment … if that … to ENJOY It. And then you have to start defending and maintaining, or get Thrown OFF.

(“Not againnnnnnnnnnnnn!”)

Is it worth it then?


Of course, there’s always the possibility that someone will simply Place you Atop It … some Worshipping Idolizer who adores you. That’s the easy way Up. But while it’s nice to get a free ride, getting Placed Atop It is far more hazardous than Climbing Atop, to be sure.

Oh my! Look! I'm getting close.

So in the end, I guess the most important question would be, “Why am I bothering with It in the first place?”

Hey! I’m almost there … just a few more feet.

Wait! I’m not ready! Let me fix my hair! Is this a good color for me? Do I need more lipstick? Did the wrinkle come out of my skirt? How’s my smile? Good enough? Do you see any photographers up there?

Darn, my laces are even more frayed than I thought. Did I pack my heels?

(The End)

* * *

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Piggy Back Ride

Cost? $105.00 per ride, half hour minimum wait in line.

Height and age are not requirements,

but you do have to have guts. It’s not a ride for the squeamish.

It starts when the tow-truck pulls up,

a big wheezing, squeaking, stinking behemoth of a vehicle.

The smell of diesel exhaust just about chokes you.

And then it’s time to enter the cab.

“Holy cow!” you think as you look at the stairway that is the step up into the cab. “I didn’t bring my mountain climbing gear!” The bottom step is more a platform than a step. There’s even a built in hand rail mounted by the door, as if they knew you’d need it.

You are no sooner up and in the cab, trying to catch your breath through the high altitude fog of diesel exhaust when the entire vehicle lurches forward. There’s no time to grab for a handhold. Motors whirr. You turn to look out the back window and see the bed of the truck moving backwards, sliding right off the truck. SLAM! It stops. More whirring and the bed tilts itself down to the ground. Whirring as it moves again. BANG! It hits the pavement in front of your car, and the entire vehicle lurches forward again.

The rattle of chains comes from somewhere behind your car. Motors whirr once more, and then, before your very eyes, you watch your car inch up onto the tilted bed of the truck.

SLAM! The truck lurches forward again. You don’t understand how the tires could possibly be gripping the ground, but it seems they are. One of these times though, those wheels may not hold. SLAM! Another stomach wrenching lurch, more motors whirring, and the tilted bed falls back horizontal onto the truck. SLAM! Gears start pulling the bed (with your car atop it) back up onto the truck. Wait! Who’s running the brake! The bed is going to SLAM right into the cab in just a second!


The bed comes to an abrupt halt only inches away from the back window of the cab … and makes the truck lurch forward once again. You’re really glad the truck isn’t parked on an incline or on a muddy surface.

You look behind you, and there it is, your faithful old friend, your car. It’s so close that it feels like it’s riding piggy back on your back. And somehow, that’s comforting. You’re relieved that you didn’t have to leave it there … stranded and alone.

The driver, a country boy who looks like he’d not hesitate to use the baseball bat that’s probably tucked beneath his seat climbs in behind the wheel. Of course, he’d be happy to drop you, the little old lady, off at her home on his way taking your car to the shop. He’s a sweet boy who learned good manners from his mamma.

He starts the truck up, reminding you that you don’t sit in a vehicle, you sit inside a living, breathing behemoth that could swallow you whole in one gulp. You can’t see how he’ll manage to maneuver such a massive thing around corners, but he does, with ease and grace. The truck pants, wheezes, and groans the entire way, as if it’s pouting and whining about carrying such a sissy load.

And then, you’re home. But gosh, the driveway sure looks empty without your faithful car in it. You say thanks and open the door to get out, and once again remember you didn’t bring your climbing gear. Must be 5,000 feet down to ground level. And It looks more like the sheer cliff of the northern face of Mount Highest of All.

But, you grit your teeth and start down, taking it slow and easy … down to camp 3, camp 2, camp 1, and finally … you reach base camp, on solid ground. You look up to see that the door you just climbed out of is now above your head, well above your head. You wonder if you will need a hydraulic arm to close it, but no, it closes without much difficulty.

And then, the truck drives off without you, your car still safely riding piggy back on it.

Your poor, poor car. You already feel naked without it. You watch as it disappears down the street, looking just like the injured patient atop the gurney, being rolled off to the operating room.

The ride is over. Hope you had fun. Come back soon.

You sigh resignedly and pray there’s enough money in your bank account to cover the repair bill.

You already know what the outcome will be. Once your car arrives at the shop, it will behave perfectly. The mechanic will spend all day long trying to figure out what’s wrong, and never be able to. In the end, you will pay the towing and “repair” bill to get your now cooperative car back. In the end, it will cost you $105.00

... $105.00 for nothing more than a piggy back ride for your car.