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This great Sonny Curtis tune has special meaning for me. You see, The Law and I have been at odds since I was very young. I fought The Law constantly – at home, on the playground, at summer camp – and after years of openly and repeatedly demonstrating my spiteful defiance, The Law knocked my two front teeth squarely down my throat.

I was only eight-years old but I had it coming, and I must admit, The Law was applied justly, swiftly, and with absolute fairness: that Law we know as Gravity.

It couldn’t have been a more beautiful autumn day as the promise of a warm breeze rustled newly fallen September leaves. My pals and I jumped on our two-wheelers and rode with that breeze into an afternoon adventure.

There was nothing to do, as usual – at least, nothing that had to be done before supper. It was a weekday and none of the three TV stations showed cartoons until 5:00 p.m. The school building was closed up tighter than a drum so the teachers could go to their statewide meeting.

Weekdays out of school were always an event, but being outside that lovely day was special, like exacting a gentle sort of revenge. While my erstwhile educational “captors” sat indoors somewhere – probably fidgeting at the words of some pedagogical pundit and wishing nothing more than to trade places with me – I stood at the prow of my two-wheeled Schwinn steamer, daring the world to cross my windswept wake.

There were any number of pursuits my friends and I could have undertaken on that perfect, perfect day. There was frog hunting with slingshots by the Scary Yellow House, or killing pop cans with The BB Guns of Extreme Prejudice, or even strolling to the neighborhood grocery for frozen pops (5¢) and a glowering scowl from the proprietor (free of charge). The day brimmed with dangerous and destructive possibilities.

One of the most mysterious and distant places we ever dared visit was a place called The Cut. The Cut was simply a wide gash through a shale ridge that ran near the local college. The result of the original excavation was a few acres of scrubby, flattened shale at the center of a deep gash. However, there was treasure here, too. That’s what made The Cut special.

On one dark little spot, deep in The Cut, oxidizing ill-fated Detroit-iron carcasses lay delinquently begging for juvenile dismemberment. Being treasure hunters one and all, we descended on the unsheeted metal frames like cackling, chrome-chomping vultures.

My Schwinn Typhoon was a real workhorse, equipped with large wire baskets on either side of the rear wheel and one on the handlebars. These baskets could hold a veritable fortune in worthless junk, as long as it was stacked carefully, and stack it we did. I don’t remember exactly what was in those baskets that fateful day, but we couldn’t wait to get home to tear each piece apart. Oh, the simple pleasures of destructive discovery.

Baskets brimming, I raced the sun across The Cut. My pals and I had tarried a bit too long, and the sun’s angle promised serious repercussions if we didn’t hurry home. Just as my tires came off the crazed, hardpacked shale of The Cut and onto a gravel-slickened concrete roadway, my trusty Schwinn lost its metal mind.

That traitorous twenty-four-inch two-wheeler wobbled, wiggled, and wantonly pitched me headlong over the handlebars and onto the ground. I tried to catch myself with my hands, but The Law’s ardor for inertia ensured that my first kiss was shared with oil-soaked concrete. My two front teeth were never seen again.

It was a hard but fair lesson that The Law taught me that fateful autumn day. Blinded by the promise of beautiful junk, I tried to carry more than my little frame could handle. Of course, I’m bigger now and I happen to know of a great little junkyard over by Byron. Maybe if I strapped that bumper to my fanny-pack…

Author Bio
Blair Wyman is a software engineer working for IBM in Rochester, Minnesota, home of the IBM iSeries.

[email protected]

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