Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sled or die

Did the force of gravity increase without anyone telling me?
It must have, because getting up that toboggan hill seems a lot harder now than it used to.
It can’t be because I am getting old or anything, it must be some sort of weird phenomenon where the pull of the earth’s gravity has gained strength and scientists around the world will soon be looking into the matter.
It will make international headlines I am certain.
This weird occurrence became apparent while taking my daughter sledding the other day.
The first time up the hill was not too bad, but then that bizarre gravity thing kicked in. Each time I had to go up the hill, gravity got stronger and the climb became more challenging.
“C’mon, Daddy let’s go again,” said the little one upon reaching the top of the hill that also seemed to be getting longer as the day progressed.
“OK, honey, but you will have to wait a second or two because Daddy is having a mild heart attack right now and needs to do some self CPR.”
Kids can run up the hill all day long without even breathing hard.
My theory is because they are much smaller than I am the increased gravity is not affecting them as much.
I fear with the ever-increasing gravity by the time my children are my age, gravity will be so strong planes won’t even be able to take flight and birds will have to walk south for the winter.
When I was a wee lad, and gravity was a lot lower, we had a few hills we used to slide down, but one of the favourites was a nearby street that was quite steep and thus fast.
Yes, we would ride right down the middle of the road.
I never said we were smart. I like to think of it as adventurous.
Anyway, because my sled had metal runners and I could steer it a little bit it gave me a great advantage when racing, especially when the road made a 90 degree turn.
It was a blind corner so we had no idea if a car was coming, but we were adventurous (see stupid) and raced anyway.
Thinking back I cannot remember one person saying, “Uh, hey guys, maybe this isn’t too smart because it is a road and there are cars on it.”Had that been said, I am sure we would have explained we were adventurous and everything would be fine and the sayer of such logic would have been chastised for being such a worry wart.
Fortunately, that situation never did arise so no one was banished to the realm of wimpy worry wart sissy boy.
No one was ever hit by a car, which is a miracle in itself. Did I mention we never claimed to be smart?
Because we had more testosterone than brains, sledding was also a contact sport and more than once someone was run off the road as he tried to pass, or was being passed.
This resulted in several minor injuries, but everyone walked away – limping is a still a form of walking – from a day of sledding unscathed (more or less anyway).
There was another toboggan run we called ‘Suicide Hill.’
It wasn’t Everest or anything, but it was fairly steep so you could go pretty fast.
I visited ye olde Mountain of Doom a few years ago and was amazed at how small it was. Through a child’s eyes it was a monstrous mountain that only the most adventurous souls dare go down.
There were two options for the intrepid sledder to take down this mountain of terror. Option one was the steepest and fastest, but ended at a barbed wire fence that was strung across the neighbouring property.
As the sledding season progressed and the run became icier the jagged metal fence played more of a role in the amount of fun we were having. More than one person decided they had enough fun and went home to stop the bleeding.
Option two was not as steep, but was much longer. If you could manage to angle your snow steed just right, you could cross a couple of driveways before zooming across a side street and going straight down another road.
Cars? What cars.
Amazingly no one was hurt other than the usual injuries associated with youthful exuberance on a snow-covered community hill.
It was always crowded on that hill and the bigger kids would be showing off in a variety of fashions which typically ended with them hobbling home while still trying to look cool.
By watching the older mentors I came to the conclusion being cool meant being in pain and on more than one occasion I was really cool.

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