When I was in elementary school, in the days immediately preceding parachute pants and Thriller, I started a club or, as we liked to call it, a “gang”. We had visions of dominating the elementary school cafeteria and playground and extorting kids for lunch money and twenty sided D & D dice. I chose the rather unfortunate name of The Latrines for our gang.* Our first real test of strength came at the foot of a snow plow created ice mountain one fateful recess. At the top stood school bullies Kenny B. and Art H.** We charged the mountain on a number of occasions but, sadly, the power of the Latrines was broken that day amidst an avalanche of hurled snow balls. Our dreams lying in a crumbled heap at the foot of Mt. Snow Plow.
This Saturday, I found myself in northern Michigan at my parents place for an early Christmas with the family. While back home we have little snow left from a weekend thaw, there were huge piles at the base of my folks’ driveway. After a futile attempt at snowboarding this 12 foot tall beast of a mound, my desire to tumble down a hill in comedic fashion disappeared by the third near dislocation of my shoulder.
Enter flashback to elementary school. Here was a battle I could win!
A snow fight ensued. Me, the lone Latrine, versus an assemblage of lightweight children ages 4, 5, 9, 10, and 13. I stood on that mountain, Mt. Snow Plow II, covered in snow from the repeated rolls down the hill in my failed snowboarding experiment. Tiny snow balls clung to my polar fleece like dingleberries to a hairy man’s ass. I was the Abominable Nitmos growling and flinging cannon balls at fragile, but menacing, children just a few years removed from their cranial soft spots. I was surrounded but stood bravely on that mountain repelling attacks from all sides.
Here’s a free tip: Don’t get into a snow ball fight with kids. Though you may try to aim for their bodies and avoid their heads, the little snot lickers do not return the favor. They pretty much throw packed snow balls, ice balls, icicles, shovels, whatever they can find directly at your forehead.
I took more than one shot to the noggin that left me slightly dazed and looking for a school book depository.*** The 4 and 5 year olds really just wanted to sled so I graciously allowed them to climb up the side of the mountain with sled dragging behind them. They needed assistance cresting the summit so I helpfully grabbed them under each arm pit and pulled them to the top taking care to hold them between me and my attackers for a moment as a torrent of snow fire dotted across their abdomens in a thump frump whack of muffled snow suit collateral damage while their mothers looked on in horror from the dining room window.
I like to think that I won that snow fight. I redeemed the honor of my school gang. No non-sledding child reached the top of Mt. Snow Plow II during my watch! Sure, I took a few blows to the face that left me with a partially swollen right temple and a bruise on my left cheek, but I was the victor. I was so inspired that I briefly entertained the idea of phoning Kenny and Art and challenging them to a rematch.
Back inside, the losers gathered around the fireplace drinking cocoa and eating cookies, one beagle short of a Norman Rockwell Christmas scene, while I sat hunched over on a chair rubbing my aching shoulder and examining my swollen temple with a puddle of melting ice dingleberries growing on the floor beneath me.
I exorcised the demons of my elementary school defeat this weekend through a snow ball cannonade upon my innocent nephews and nieces. They could not know the years of frustrated history which propelled each ball of hurt. All in all, I feel pretty good about it. A good lesson for them. Let them carry the sting of defeat for years to come.
I’m sore, bruised, and swollen but…
As the mist of snow fire withdraws, The Abominable Nitmos still owns Mt. Snow Plow II.
Take that Kenny and Art.
* Hey, M*A*S*H was big back then. Don’t judge.
** Names may be changed to protect…me.
*** Too soon?
Special thanks to Tom and Amy from Runner's Lounge for the Starbucks gift card. Also, thanks to the few of you who nominated me a couple of weeks ago. I would like to say that, while drinking my overpriced - but free to me - coffee, I would be thinking of you and silently appreciating the trouble you took to nominate me. However, if truth be told, I'll more likely be thinking of all of you jerks that didn't nominate me and thereby robbed me of an even greater prize package. There's plenty of coffee I can drink with this card so rest assured each of you will be cursed at some point between a sip. That's how I roll. Next time, don't be a jerk.