Excuse me while I cut with a knife the suspense in the air caused by Friday's post. Anyone care for a slice? No? More for me, then. I'll just move on to today's post:
By the time I got back to the party from my distant parking spot, the kids were already in the thick of a tangled mass of bouncing toddler bodies. Note that I didn't mind the walk at all, since I'm always compulsively looking for chances to get steps, but I was eager to see what wonders this party would hold. The first thing I saw upon walking in, even before confirming my children weren't being trampled to death in a Bouncy House**, was a giant, two-story inflatable slide.
I felt drawn to this magnificent mountain in a way that only those who allow destiny to take firm control of their rudder would recognize. I knew something special had been foretold to happen here, and I must not let something as simple as a ceremony commemorating three years since a child's birth interfere with Lady Fortune having her way with me.
I went through the usual pleasantries and dropped our present off with the others, but my eye, and my heart, was always on this monument of mirth. Once I was informed that adults were welcome to enter the bouncy castle, I mourned my self-imposed restriction from bouncing around in it like a carefree child, knowing I would end up breaking some kid's face, but at the same time my mind's eye*** turned happily back to The Slide. I called D- over and casually asked him if he had tried the slide yet. All I had to do next was reel that sucker in right out of his shallow pool and sail over slidewards.
Sometimes you just gotta sacrifice your own fun for the sake of your kids', you know?
I suppressed my smile down to "oh, aren't kids cute when they're excited about silly little trifles" level and giddily scaled the slide's bouncy built-in staircase. We got to the top, counted to three, and took off down The Widowmaker. To complete my dalliance in the realm of childhood traditions, I immediately donated half my elbow skin to the waxed vinyl Valhalla that is Pump It Up.
With my many years of practice, I was able to play it cool, but man, the gaping hole that used to be my elbow still stings a bit, over four days later. I'm thinking of contacting the Museum of Science and Industry to find out if they're interested in putting me on display**** to give small children the opportunity to see what the inside of a real, live human elbow looks like.
Despite the pain, I went down that slide with D- and a very happy M- many more times, but you'd better believe I was keeping a close watch on all exposed skin. D-, of course, paid little attention to my warnings and left with his flesh unmolested sheerly by the favor of the fickle gods of epidermal abuse. Less forgivable was my wife J- getting her own tiny burn on her only trip down about 40 minutes later-- I guess I was too stoic to make her believe that slide really was hungry in a way that only human-meat can satisfy.
I can't help but wonder if this place has a surreptitious profit center in harvesting small patches of skin and selling them to burn units all over the world, but that's unimportant compared to the discomfort I felt later that day in trying to use an armrest for its named purpose.
And so we arrive back at the promised reason I didn't post on Thursday-- I accept no substitutes in any area of life^, and if I couldn't sit here in my chair resting each and every one of my limbs completely while desperately continuing my as-yet-fruitless chase of something worthwhile to write about, then I wasn't going to come here and try to do it like some kind of pathetic three-legged table. You deserve better.
Epilogue: For additional and expanded excuses, I offer the following appendix:
· I am a creature of habit, and none of those habits has ever included nursing the stump of an elbow. Especially not with about 100 pounds of pressure against the business end of a fuzzy chair.
· By the time we drove home after a couple hours of bouncing and then pizza, cake, and presents, it was after noon, and we were all exhausted from our unnaturally early foray into civilization. We tried to nap (some of us more effectively than others, unfortunately) for a few hours after that, and by then, any hopes for recovering to my usual schedule were in vain.
· I am very lazy. This must be exceedingly apparent to even the most casual of readers. I consider it a disability, and thus it would be rude for anyone to point it out or even fault me for it.
* Or, Remembrance of Skin Peeled
** My brothers and I always called these things Moonwalks as kids, probably because that was the brand name of the one they used at our grade school's fun fair, but most people I've meant seem to call them Bouncy Castles or Bouncy Houses. I was there was a universal generic term to use, because somehow "inflatable structure" doesn't have the right ring to it. Precision with utility in language is just the kind of thing I wish for in life, ranking right there before World Peace.
*** Picture the unblinking, all-seeing eye floating above the Dark Tower in The Lord of the Rings.
**** In case anyone there is reading this-- it would be a limited display, no doubt, but likely the only one of its kind. I'd like someone to get something useful out of my suffering, since my family seemed to learn nothing from my example. You could pay me in amusing trinkets from the gift shop and delicious fried foods from the cafeteria.
^ With the only exceptions being whenever I want to.