Let’s all sing that song!
Sometimes I think Denis wrote that song about me!
And here’s an example why I think that way.
I was at a friends house and their seven/eight year old kept asking me to go shoot some hoops with him. After a minute or so of him driving me fucking crazy I said yes to shut that little bastard up!
I’m good like that.
I don’t know what it is but, instead of shooting around, all he wanted to do was dunk the ball. The problem is he’s four feet tall and has the leaping ability of a four foot tall rock.
So he beseeched me to adjust the hoop down to a manageable size for him to make his tomahawk, three hundred and sixty degree, backwards dunks (in his mind. The reality was more like putting a cup on a highish shelf). Against my personal belief (a rim should be ten feet from the ground. Lowering it is blaspheme) I did it.
After putting on a display of dunking prowess not seen outside a donut shop (seriously, he thought he was an air borne ranger and celebrated like a champ after each successful basket but, in reality, he wasn’t draining D’s anywhere near that level. But I guess being in the ‘everyone’s a winner!’ generation a less than 50% success rate was worth, if not a Gatorade shower, at least a Gatorade bidet. And the ones he did make just made it. He was getting over the hoop no more than two knuckles), he asked if I could make some time in my schedule to come back the next day to, I don’t know, stand there watching him pretend to be a competent jumper. Because, truthfully, all I did was stand there. Oh, I retrieved the errant ball now and again but there really wasn’t much in the terms of fun or activity for me.
But, knowing I had to be back there the next day anyway, I figured what the heck! I like standing! It’s one of my skills!
The next day I’m walking down the driveway, the basket a little over eye level, when my innate evil hit me. Remembering how difficult a time he had the day before I adjusted the basket up. Not much, six, eight inches. Just high enough to ‘challenge’ him but not enough for him to notice.
I’m sitting in the living room when he comes home. He’s excited to go show time with me. He grabs a ball and excitedly races to the driveway.
Where he attempts his first dunk and fails spectacularly. Didn’t even hit rim. Just lamely rolled onto the grass. The ball not him. But he did stumble before staggering to a precarious halt.
“Maybe you’re tired from your long day at school.” I disguised my delight with helpfulness. “Give it another shot.”
This time he backed up a few more steps, really going to give it that elementary school try, took a running leap and DEEEEEEEJECTED!
His face begins to register frustration. I give him some helpful advice.
“Maybe you should try jumping higher.”
Yeah, a coached a little b-ball.
Again and again he tried achieving nothing. He blames it on the surface. As if the driveway had somehow turned to quicksand overnight. Then he has another thought.
“Maybe the basket is higher.”
“How could that be?” I innocently ask. “You were here when I put it down yesterday.”
“Then why can’t I do it?”
“Maybe you put on some weight since yesterday.”
He glares at me then the basket. He give it another try.
And, I didn’t mean to but, as you know, laughter is an involuntary reaction. Oh, who am I kidding, I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
“Sorry.” I say as he picks up the ball. “I was just thinking of something funny your mother said. Go on, do it again. You’re this close to making it.”
He tries again and the earlier frustration turns to anger. Anger to near tears. Near tears to actual tears.
And no, not for a minute do I think my constant trash talking at every failure had anything to do with his tears.
After a few more failures I couldn’t take it anymore so told him we should try again later. No, not because I had an ounce of compassion, my stomach was starting to ache from holding in my torrents of laughter.
But I think he learned a valuable lesson: rules are rules for a reason and not following them can, and often does, end with disastrous results.
But that didn’t stop me from humming the song in my head.
Oh yeah, on the way out I put the basket back down to his reachable height.
Yeah, now THAT’S an asshole move! Because when he tells me how great he did, all I’m going to say is,
“Yeah, well, of course. When I’m not there.”