My father was a Navy man. Well, he thought he was. He served seven years in “his” so called Navy. The way he would talk, well; you would have thought he had served thirty years or more. My fathers was always trying to show me all the different types of crap he learned while in “his” Navy, especially from his short time with the Navy seals, from tying certain knots to how you should stand, walk and talk. And of course his favorite thing to converse about was how you should make your bed. When I was five, that’s five years old, only one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five days on this earth; I could make my bed so tight you could bounce a quarter off of it. My father would actually inspect the single bed I slept in almost on a daily basis.
In one month alone, he inspected my bed forty-two times. Oh, I know, there isn’t forty-two days in the month. It didn’t matter to my father.
It was his world.
He inspected whenever he wanted, and many times, that ended up being several times a day. He came home drunk on several occasions, late at night and had me get up at two in the morning and make my bed in less than sixty seconds. Now if the quarter didn’t bounce high enough for him to grab easily, well, let’s just say it made for an extremely long night. This would scare me for many years, but then my fear for him went away.
It then stayed away.
This making my bed to perfection got really old, really fast. It isn’t a good thing, waking up at 0430 in the morning between the ages of five years old and your teenage years and your first thought of the day was to ensure your bed was made as tight and as perfect as possible. Yea, I know, it isn’t the worst thing for sure for a kid, but it was definitely no fun. Once the fear left me, I actually realized that I would do things purposely a little wrong such as leave a wrinkle here, not tuck a corner in all the way there, or have the crease off by just a little bit. I did this just to get under his skin. It upset him greatly but brought a little joy to me that was much needed. This, I realized helped me deal in my own personal way with his daily wrath.
Anyway, just so we are perfectly clear. I don’t like the Navy...
Throughout all of my childhood and teenage years, my father would constantly say this one thing to me over and over:
“Son, now listen to me closely! You have to stand out in this world if you ever want to make anything of yourself!” he would say sure of himself.
Sometimes, he would stop with just saying those few words and I would be extremely thankful. Usually though, he would continue and say,
“You need to listen real close boy, and remember this if nothing else I ever say to you. There’s a dime a dozen Daniel’s out there. You better do something special to get ahead and stand out in this world. You hear me boy?” he would ask me.
Well now, I suppose I did…
Time to Plan
No one and I mean no one I knew could stand Bryan. He was the pest of all pests and the little brother of my best friend Mark. Now Mark and I were like peas in a pod and we clicked like no one else at that time in my life. We were always together and we were the best of friends. Unfortunately, Bryan happened to be his brother.
Everything we did, Bryan did.
Everywhere we went, Bryan went.
It got old and it got old fast. I was only fourteen almost fifteen at the time, but learned quickly what it felt like to despise someone. Mark couldn’t stand his little brother either mostly but, his mother had laid down the law and made it clear that if Mark left the house, Bryan left the house with him (us that is). There were a few times when Mark and I could escape on our own and go do whatever fourteen year olds boys would do but, that was only when Bryan was occupied with his few other friends or riding his bike on the dirt trails in the woods adjacent to our neighborhood.
One afternoon, I happened to come across Bryan riding his bike in the woods as I had several times in the past, and this, well this was when my second perfect plan started to come together.
“For the love of God Bryan, pedal freaking harder” I screamed as he was approaching the bike jump Mark had built a few weeks earlier. Mark could build anything. He was good with his hands. He was going to be an engineer like his dad.
Did Bryan listen? No, of course he didn’t. He hardly ever listened. Bryan was easing up on the pedals before arriving at the jump like he always did.
“And there you have it everyone”, I yelled, “another amazing one foot jump by the man himself, Bryan Morrissey.”
I understood the boy was only ten years old, but he was embarrassing all ten year old kids out there by going over that ramp so slow where he would almost stop before coming off the jump.
“I think what you need is a little motivation to keep you pedaling harder all the way until you reach the jump.” I said firmly.
“What do you mean motivation?” Bryan asked confused.
Bait taken, I thought to myself…
“Back when I was ten years old like you Bryan, I finally decided to become braver like I am now and for that matter, like your big brother is. So, a few of my friends put an obstacle in front of me that I knew I had to clear on my jump or there would be consequences.”
“What are consequences?” he asked.
This is starting to be fun I thought.
“Consequences are things to avoid and things that can happen as a result of an action or in my case, the lack of an action. My consequence was simply a big pile of broken glass.”
“Broken glass?” he asked nervously.
Bryan always asked a lot of questions.
I continued, “Yep, it was a big pile of broken glass. A really big pile I might add. The biggest pile of glass I had ever seen.” I said thinking back to that time in my life when I was just a stupid ten year old kid.
“Now that I think of it Bryan, I don’t have a clue where my friends came up with all that broken glass so fast, but boy did they ever!”
“I’m confused” Bryan said quickly. “So you’re going to put a big pile of broken glass on the ground for me to jump over and the glass is my consequence??”
“No, no, no, of course not Bryan!” I said to him like he was crazy for thinking that. “That was pretty stupid of me to do that jump with all that glass and I am a lot smarter now. You trust me don’t you?”
“Yea, yea, of course I do...” Bryan said in a hesitant voice.
“Well good. You should. Now that I look back on my first real big bicycle jump, I could of really hurt myself in all that broken glass and I don’t want you getting hurt Bryan.”
Bryan listened and shook his head in agreement with me. As I heard myself say that to him, I thought,,, No Bryan, I don’t want you to get hurt,
I just want you to die…