Where the Rug Burn Shows
My kids would love to play a racing game down the stairs. They would start at the top, count to three, yell “GO!” then they would slide down the stairs on their stomachs as fast as they could. Often this game could go on quite awhile before they all tire of it. Inevitably someone will come to me about thirty minutes post game and mention that their stomach hurts. Upon further investigation it will be revealed the child has managed to get a large rug burn on his stomach. I would rub some lotion on it, and the child would continue to go about the rest of the evening, feeling a bit like he is out of sorts.
For some reason this child forgets in a matter of a couple of days that he caused himself a great deal of pain playing the race down the stairs game. I will hear from the other room the familiar, “GO!” About an hour later again one of the children will come to me saying their skin hurts on their tummy.
I once tried playing the race down the stairs game, but I didn’t find it fun whatsoever, besides I was a lot slower than the children. Consequently they won every race. And all I had to show for it was a rug burn on my tummy.
I wonder often if God sometimes gets a kick out of how stupid his creation sometimes can be. I have done a lot of stupid things in my life. Some have caused me tremendous embarrassment; other things I am certain were done to allow those around me to laugh at me.
My first indication of my ability to do stupid things was when I was about six years old. I was standing next to the brick school building where I attended elementary school. It was recess time. Some friends and I were playing tag. I was taking a break for a minute as I stood there. Suddenly, around the corner came someone on the opposing team. I took off like a cheetah. The next thing I new I was staring up at a bunch of people surrounding me staring down at me with quizzical looks on their faces. The fog began to lift and I could hear the voice of my teacher asking me if I was okay. I tried to struggle to my feet, but again, fell back to the pavement. My head ached. The front of my head was bloody, and the back of my head felt like it had hit the pavement with a thud. After several minutes the teacher, stifling her laugh I’m sure, told me I had turned and run full force directly into the brick school building. My head hit the building, followed quickly by my body being forced to the pavement. I can almost feel the ache in my head as I recall trying to impress my friend with my ability to run so fast. It also makes me laugh to think what a sight I was. I hope there wasn’t anyone who knew I was trying to impress someone.
Most of the stupid things I’ve done have been in an effort to impress a friend, or a <gasp> boy.
One year in order to impress Mark, my best friends’ brother, who hadn’t yet figured out that I was the one for him to spend the rest of his life with, I dressed in my nicest dress to go Trick or Treating.
Wearing dresses was not my favorite thing to wear. In fact, I hated dresses. You couldn’t climb trees, you couldn’t twirl on the monkey bars, and you couldn’t even run as fast if you were wearing a dress. Also the boys didn’t respect you enough to let you play kick ball on the playground if you wore a dress. My mom would force me to wear a dress to church, but that was it!
So there I was Trick or Treating wearing a dress. Several old people would ask me, “and what are you young lady?” I would beam a big smile and say, “I’m a girl!”
My best friend would quickly pipe up saying, “She doesn’t wear dresses and is trying to impress my brother here.”
Don’t you love friends who tell it like it is? I was tempted to sever the relationship at that point. It didn’t seem worth the embarrassment to have someone who would not only help me look stupid, but she would make me the sole responsibility of my own stupidity.
Another way to impress people around me was to practice doing dumb things when no one was around. If I removed my bedroom window, I would end up on the roof of our garage. I would practice jumping off the roof, then rolling like a stunt man. I watched too much Starsky and Hutch as a kid I guess.
After I would tire of jumping off the roof, I would get on my bike and ride as fast as I could, then jump as if jumping from a burning car.
I wonder to this day if I was trying to be a stunt man the day I crashed into our driveway.
As hard as I try, I can’t remember anything from that day. I can’t even remember using my sister’s bike. I do know that it was a bigger bike than mine was, therefore the danger (stupidity) of riding it was more impressive. I impressed everyone with my ability to smash my face into the pavement, then walking into the house while blood poured out of my face, proclaiming to my mom, “I got hurt!”
For the rest of my life I had to pay for this. My front teeth were chipped and quite unsightly, in spite of the dentist replacing them into my mouth with several wires. After this time, I was embarrassed to smile. I would hide my face with my hand whenever I would happen to break out in laughter. I assumed everyone was staring at my horrible front teeth. It was emotionally painful to have my picture taken. I didn’t want to smile. It’s difficult to find a picture of me after the age of six with my mouth open.
My desire to impress did not leave me at a young age. It stayed with me for many years. I was in the Air Force, when I found myself diving off the top bunk of my bed, trying to make it across the room and into the bathroom in one leap. Instead of making it across the room into the bathroom, my foot caught on my blanket, causing me to fall on my knees then sliding across the floor. There I was trying to impress my roommate with my ability to land on my knees causing myself incredible pain. She wasn’t impressed. This was followed by a trip to the doctor. My legs weren’t broken but I had some serious rug burns on my knees.
I was on crutches from this incident when I met Steve. I think I was cured from trying to impress people, momentarily anyway.
I’ve even tried to impress God with my great spirituality. I can tell you, it doesn’t impress God for us to stand up in a room full of people and tell them how great we are.
This is an excerpt from the book Gone With the Mind. You can buy it by clicking on the picture over there —->