It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt
The Folly of Fools
I am sure we have all heard the infamous saying: "it's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt." I, myself have heard it a time or two...and sadly there is truth to this old cliché. In fact, the Bible even mentions the folly of fools. In Proverbs 15:21 we are told that: Folly [is] joy [to him who is] destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly." This Scripture has much significance to me especially in light of the story I am about to share. I do pray you see the the humor as well as the lesson to learned.
When I was 12 years old, I made it my goal to conquer the street we lived on--I was destined and determined to ride my bike down this 600 foot stretch of asphalt whose pitch was at least 45 degrees. It was the 70's, a time of social unrest, a time of change, and a time where people thought they could almost do anything. And why shouldn't they. We proved to the world that man can travel to the moon, but more importantly, Evil Knievel proved that man can soar like an eagle on a bike. Was I influenced. You bet I was.
So every morning, as the sun started to cast its glimmering glow upon the horizon, I would hop] out of bed and begin training. I would go only so far up the road to get the feel of riding a bike with no hands. I would do it religiously until I felt comfortable to move further ahead. My father, who was retired, watched me everyday perform my rituals...and everyday when I came into the house he warned me of the dangers that loomed ahead. I can still recall looking him square in the eyes and confidently saying: "No dad, that will never happen to me." Didn't he know I was invincible.
This same old routine occurred for weeks...I would rise from bed, get on my bike, and prepare myself to do what no man has ever done before. And everyday, my father would warn me of the impending hazards and every day I would tell him it would never happen to me.
Well the morning came. I can still recall the gentle breeze that blew through the window. I can still smell the freshly cut grass from the day before. The birds were singing and everything was right in the universe. This was it. This was the day. I got out of bed, got my bike and started to peddle my way up the hill. With each turn of the wheel I could imagined everyone waking from their sleep to watch and cheer me on. I could see Peter Jennings and Barbara Walters at the hills base waiting and wanting to interview me. Oh, words could never explain the excitement and exhilaration that ran . through my blood and being.
I finally made it to the top.. It was time. I waited all summer for this moment. I rehearsed it over and over--it was routine. What could possibly go wrong--nothing I thought. So there I was--man vs. nature. I started my descent. After a few strokes of the pedals I let go of the handle bars. I felt the true freedom so much so that I did something that was not rehearsed. I put my feet on top of the handle bars. WOW! I thought. If people could on see me now!
Well, there was one such person. It was my oldest brother. He was walking around the corner as I was approached the bottom of the hill. He looked at me as to say: What the h@** do you thing you're doing? I responded with a victory wave. That was about when things started to get ugly. In as soon as I started to do my victory wave, my front wheel hit a rock. Who would have ever thought. I lost control of my bike and was not able to recover or recuperate. I guess the best way to explain what happened next was to remind the readers of Evil Knievel's attempt to jump the fountains in Vegas.
There I was taking a noise dive over my handle bars. Now that I think about it, there is another Scripture that reminds us that "pride comes before the fall." There we were: me and my bike wrecked. I am not a mathematician by any means, but I would estimate that I slid at least twenty feet on the hardened asphalt. Thankfully, I did not break anything, but my pride and my bike. I got up from the wreckage, held back my tears, and started to scrap my way home. You have to love older brothers. Rather than picking up what was left of my bike, my brother looked at me and said:"Uh, Paul, you forgot your bike!" to which I thought "No duh! I have road rash over 40 percent of my body!"
My father, I have to admit never said anything. Never once did he say, "well son, I told you so," or "if you would have only listened.' He did no such thing. Instead, every morning when I woke up and enter the kitchen he would raise his arms in the air and yell "WEEEEEEEEEEE!"
So what is the moral of this story: first, our parents are a lot smarter than we give them credit. Furthermore, just when you think it would never happen to you--wait and watch out. And finally, those who listen to wisdom will by all means walk uprightly.