Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The mame game


I wonder why it is so humorous when bad things happen to our friends.
Not really bad things, but minor bad things that are more of a nuisance than anything else.
I can narrow it down even more – minor things that hurt, like when your buddy stubs his toe and starts dancing around the room moaning and groaning.
You try not to laugh, but you have to because it is so funny. Some of you are probably laughing right now as you remember such an incident.I have both laughed at and been the subject of laughter on many occasions.
Riding dirt bikes was the source of many good laughs – usually for the other guy. We had a rule: you had to make sure the person was OK before you laughed.
When someone crashed, you ran over to ensure they were alright and then you could breakout in uproarious laughter.
I fell off my dirt bike one time and the handlebars hooked my jacket and the bike dragged me for about five metres.
My buddy rode up to ensure I had survived, and then laughed so hard he fell off his bike.
He talked about that crash for years, using the words “flailing” and “like a fish on the beach” in his description of said accident.
I failed to see the humour, but he had a great time.
I guess that’s the secret. If I may quote one of the great minds of our time, I believe it was Homer Simpson who said, “It’s funny because it’s not happening to me.”
When I was in elementary school, a friend and I invented a game we called ‘Hey let’s maim each other.’
Why did we call it that? You guessed it, because that’s what we did.
The object of the game was to inflict pain on each other without causing any serious or permanent damage.
It must be a boy thing because none of the girls I knew ever played this game - although some of them were pretty tough and probably could have done quite well.
Actually, I think we were the only two people in the entire school who played.
I wonder why?
I don’t remember how it started, but at first it was little things like throwing snowballs at each other from a few feet away, or tripping the other person when they ran, or stabbing them in the arm or hand (I still have a scar) with one of those compass things that came in those little metal cases you had to get for math class.
What a great learning tool that thing was. You could use it to figure things out and you could stab bugs, trees and your friends. Now that’s higher education.
Anyway, as most games tend to do, the intensity of the maim game kept growing as we tried to out do each other, and things were getting downright painful.
I scored the first knock out of the competition. My friend was standing about three meters away when I calmly said, “Hey, Jeff.”
Jeff turned around just as I threw a basketball at him as hard as I could. There were two smacks – the ball smacking him in the face and his head smacking the floor after he was knocked cold.
I took off like a cheetah on Nitrous as teachers rushed over, frantic to find out why one of their students was prone in the middle of the gymnasium.
Jeff declined to co-operate with authorities, claiming it was an accident and deciding to settle things himself. After all it was just fun and games.
His vengeance came during a lunch-hour game of softball.
I was on first base and heading to second. I remember looking down the baseline as I started to run and then the next thing I knew I was staring at the sky as teachers huddled over me trying to figure out why I was laid out in the middle of the field.
It turned out after the ball was hit, it was Jeff who grabbed it in the infield and instead of throwing it to second – which he claimed he did for years until finally coming clean – he threw it at my head, scoring his own knock out.
I have to admit it was a good throw. He managed to hit a moving target the size of my head with such force and precision as to lay me out cold. Good job.
I had a headache for about a week. He had a sore nose and jaw for about a week from the basketball incident, so we decided to call it a draw and put the game on hiatus.
But for several months, we were both a little jittery and guarded in each other’s presence. It was kind of like a junior version of post traumatic stress.
Mind you, taking a softball to the bean may have played a role as well.
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