Balancing Act“…and the wire seems to be the only place for me. A comedy of errors and I’m falling…” Leon Russell, Tightrope“Walking a tightrope is harder figuratively than it is in reality. Sometimes, thinking about the risk is much worse than actually making up your mind to take the risk.”That’s what Stanley told me when he dared me to do it. Walk a tightrope, that is. Stanley put up his version of a high wire right between Chambers Hall and Tasker Hall. I’m not sure how he managed it, but there it was. To be honest, the two buildings weren’t too far apart; at least, not when you stood on the ground and looked up. And Stanley’s dare involved a cash payout too, which is often a good incentive, especially when you need consumable school supplies for your major, like I did.I ‘borrowed’ Jim Burowkski’s custom pool cue to use as my balance bar, because it was the longest stick I knew about, and although I didn’t ask Jim’s permission, I figured that I would return it sort of surreptitiously right after the ‘walk.’ Positive thinking, right?When I stood on the roof, suddenly the distance, which couldn’t have been more than ten or twelve feet (I think) loomed a whole lot longer. I put it down to the fact that my perception might be a bit off, but not that I was scared or anything like that.Holding the cue firmly, I put one red sneaker on the cord and tested the waters, so to speak. It seemed taut enough. And sturdy enough. In fact, Stanley promised me that the rope was strong enough to hold three elephants, and I accepted that.I took another step onto the rope – and then I was actually doing it. Just don’t look down, I told myself, just one foot after the next. Slowly and easy does it. Just like that game on the Wii. I took another step and checked my stability. I was a little wobbly, but I understood that that was to be expected. Fortunately, there was practically no wind to bother me during my early morning circus act.“You’re doing great,” Stanley said. “Keep going.” His voice sounded oddly strained, but I didn’t turn around to see him, because I didn’t want to risk getting myself off-balance.I put another red sneaker forward and I heard some new sounds coming from behind me. I still wouldn’t look back. Nope…I had to keep my focus and move forward. I thought, so far so good, and I was about half way there. Just a few more steps, and I’d have my hundred bucks for breakfast. I was kind of sweaty in the morning chilliness, but otherwise, it was all good.Then I heard a girl say, “Ohmigod! What’s he doing? He’s gonna kill himself.”Great. Just what I needed. An audience. Focus. Focus.Another voice said, “Watch out for the bird!”I gingerly looked slightly to the right and left to see if a bird was near me. I didn’t see one, so I ignored everyone and everything and took another step. So close. So close. Then the bird I didn’t see, somehow materialized. It flew close enough by me that I worried about it landing on the pool cue.“Shoo!” I hissed.I took another step, and although I’m not sure what happened next, suddenly the bird, the cue and I were all floating through space.My life didn’t flash before my eyes. Instead, Stanley’s words ran through my head. “Walking a tightrope is harder figuratively than it is in reality. Sometimes, thinking about the risk is much worse than actually making up your mind to take the ri-”
Love this Randi; a great take.
Thanks Walt! Yours was pretty great too. And yes...I definitely 'looked down' to read it! ↓▼↓▼↓
Omigosh! I love it! It is a visual picture. Very good!
DON'T LOOK DOWNThere it sat. In a file box on the corner of his desk. Finally, Sherm Feldmeier had completed his manuscript. The Great American novel, or at least Sherm's version of it. And it only took him seventeen years.Seventeen years doesn't qualify one as an "overnight success". Hell, Sherm thought, "I don't even qualify as a long-term success. He of the prestigious vocabulary and all the resolve of strawberry gelatin. He surely had much to say, but Feldmeier always fell short of the mark. Gung-ho until crunch time. And then the bottom drops out.In the corner of his erzats office stood his file cabinet. The place where all his great thoughts and ideas go to die. Sherm always saw himself as the guy out on the tight-rope, all balanced and assured until he glanced at his feet and saw the precipitous fall that awaits him. Then, with his composure blown tumbles head over ankles to a violent end.In his head, the manuscript spoke to him. It said "SPLAT!" Sherm couldn't understand why after all this research and preparation he would be so terrified by rejection that he saved his every publisher the trouble of reading his masterpiece tome. "Do I, or don't I?" was always in the back of Sherm Feldmeier's mind.His father was a mench. A real human being, never afraid to put himself out there for all to rely upon. Sherm asked him once why he was so fearless putting himself on the line like that; out on the high-wire."Confidence comes from right here" the elder Feldmeier would say pointing to Sherm's chest. "And..." he continued, "don't look down"Sherm had all these questions bounding around in his head, but very few answers. "Confidence" he muttered, rubbing the middle of his chest. "The worst thing to happen would be that I would fall flat on my tuchus", Sherm rationalized. "What would be so terrible?" he asked himself. "I pick myself up and dust my pants off. I'd try again"Feldmeier stood staring at the corner of his desk. The doorbell resounded once or twice before Sherm took action. Two steps closer and he was standing over his parcel. In to his hands it was lifted, it's heft and gurth made it feel like an impressive work, even if it was only drivel. Tucking the box under his arm, he made the last few steps to the front door.Over and over, in silence Sherm muttered his mantra. The purpose of his craft rested in its effectiveness. As he opened the door he saw the young courier in his pressed uniform poised to greet him. Feldmeier took a deep breath and let it out slowly, handing the package to the carrier.The jovial driver wished Sherm a good afternoon and turned on his heels toward his livery van.Sherm didn't hear the young man's goodbye. He didn't hear the car door slam, or the engine turn over. Feldmeier could not hear the whine of the gears as he accelerated down the street and out of view. All Sherm Feldmeier heard was his father's resonant response. "Don't look down!"
Again mine became a little on the long winded side and I don't have the patience tonight to deal with the "bot," for multiple entries so I'm going to leave the link again. Hope that is alright with everybody. Smiles to you writers!http://wordrustling.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/stepping-out/
Loved both of your takes on this today, RJ and Walt! Very entertaining, thank you!
Robert wrote down his annual list: 2020 fears. He was used to this kind of thing, he needed to get rid of his fears so he could do snything and everything. But yet did he know that is it impossible.In the year 2020, technology is so advanced. People have Holovision, and HoloiPhone. Even better, the Vision chamber. Every year, Robert went in the Vision Chamber and went over his list in his head. This year Robert's fears were heights, death of his family, claustrophobia, and being buried alive. He walked into the Vision chamber located in the basement and left his list outside. The vusion Chamber has settings and realality vision. It moniters how you cope with your setting, if you are calm and colleced, you move onto the next setting. Robert had set the Chamber to "Fears" and "Exteremly Real" He thought about his first fear: Heights. "I am afraid of heights" he thought. He took a deep breath and suddenly heard New York cars honking and their people yelling. He saw the thin rope and two skyscrapers. "Cool and collected" he said to himself. Robert placed one foot on the the rope. "Just a setting!" He yelled. He put the other foot onto the rope and felt distant. He needed to do this. For his own sake. Second by second, step by step, he made it.Next fear: Watching his family die. He saw his dad, James, and his mom Jane. Next he saw his sister Amy. Each with a guard with a gun pointing to them. He started to cry. He went up to the guard and said," May I do it?" "Sure!" The guard said. Robert sighed. In, out. Load, shoot. In. He loaded the gun. Out. First his dad. Then his mom. Then his sister. Every time he heard the pang of the bullet hitting the skin of of his family, he wanted to cry, but stayed cool and collected, until his sister came. She is only 8. He cried, but got over it soon after.Suddenly, he was trapped in a very small box. "Oh God." He thought to himself. "Claustrophobia." The box was 4 ft by 5ft and He tucked himself in one of the corners and pictured himself at home, with his family and yet he realized that he WAS at home and he WAS in his basement! He stood on his knees and was calm. Sweating, but calm.Next, the box was morfed into a coffin. He was sweating. and covered in seven feet of dirt. All he could think about was the fact that this coffin was squeaking and denting in. Through heavy breathing and all the co2, he was becoming light-headed. Robert closed his eyes and thought good thoughts "I am at home." he muttered pleanty of times to himself. All he could do was panic. "Calm." He said "Calm." It was the only thing keeping him going. Then, all the dirt let up and all the sqeaking and squealing stopped. He was back on the cement basement floor. It was a load off. Robert sighed a sigh of relief. He ran up to his living room and gave his family a big hug and told them about his four adventures.