By Sean Pearson
I’ve had just about enough of this whole “gravity” thing.
I first learned about gravity when I attempted to extricate myself from my Pooh Bear penitentiary at the age of 5 months. When my red-shirted bear decided to make a break for it, no stinkin’ crib bars were gonna hold me back. (The bond between a boy and his bear runs deep. What can I say? Me and Winnie were tight.)
The result of my escape attempt was a broken collarbone and a lower mattress setting on the crib. But it was only the beginning of a very long — and often painful — relationship with gravity. Oh, we would meet again … many times.
Now I wouldn’t call myself a slow child. I seemed to score relatively well on most standardized testing in school. Although, come to think of it, I don’t remember getting much feedback on that psychosocial testing in kindergarten. I wonder what happens if a kid gets really high scores in some abnormal areas? Like, if I scored off the charts for sociopathic personality disorder in the third grade, do you think they would tell me? Or would they just sit back and wait until I turned into an axe-wielding serial killer? Geez, I could be a walking time bomb right now and not even know it.
See, I’m not slow – just easily distracted.
ABCs and 123s would come without too many problems, as did tying my shoes and learning to read. Miss Spell was especially impressed with my poetic prowess in the second grade. (I wrote an especially touching tribute to an old pair of Keds of PF Flyers.)
How sad is it that those are my glory days?
Nevertheless, gravity and I would continue to duke it out through the years.
Age 3: Heavy metal swing vs. two front teeth. (What goes up, must come down.)
Gravity 1, Sean 0.
Age 4: Jumping out of tree vs. arm. (See above)
Gravity 2, Sean 0
We continued like this until I hit the age of 5. (I like to think I helped keep my parents young.)
Then, I discovered the “Schoolhouse Rock” rendition of Newton sitting under the apple tree. (Keep in mind that it was pretty dangerous back then to try to slip a little educational material into a kid’s Saturday morning cartoons. There are some things you just don’t come between — one is a man and his Scooby Doo Mystery Hour. The other, I think we covered with my man Pooh.)
Still, that educational stuff must have worked, because I can still picture that little bill — sitting there on Capitol Hill. (As well as the catchy little tune that will now wear a deep groove into one of the neural pathways of my brain as it drones on and on … )
So now, at least I understood the idea of gravity. (OK, maybe not by age 5. Can you just work with me here? I’ve obviously suffered some head trauma throughout the years.)
However, in much the same way that you can’t learn brain surgery from a comic book, you can’t fight gravity, no matter how much you learn about it. That’s why I decided to embrace and celebrate my relationship with gravity. Oh, we still have our little run-ins every now and then. I always lose. But I figured out that if anyone was going to change in this relationship, it was going to have to be me. I’m learning to adapt.
I don’t jump out of trees any more, and gravity stays the same. I don’t push swings in front of my face, and gravity … stays the same. It’s going fairly well so far, except I kinda feel like I’m doing all the work.
And there are still those times when gravity just yanks things like iPods and cell phones out of my hand for no reason.
That’s my next project: developing waterproof, bulletproof and virtually indestructible rubber and polycarbonate cases for things like my cell phone, camera and sunglasses.
Oh, one last favor to ask.
If you see me proudly walking around town toting all my nifty polycarbonate protectors, and I look like “uber-nerd,” please tell me very clearly that I’m wading dangerously deep into the dungeon of dorkdom. I’d hate to come off like a geek.
Just be sure to approach me from the front. I don’t want to be startled. My new, insulated safety helmet hasn’t come in yet.
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