Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Epic Tomfoolery

Over the weekend I watched the documentary "Man on Wire" with some friends and family, and I must say it was quite an inspiring movie.  I would definitely recommend watching it.  It is about a man who snuck up into the twin towers in the 70's and strung a tightrope between them, then walked across it for 45 minutes. 

It reminded me of the necessity of doing foolish things.  He had no good reason to pull off that stunt, but 35 years later it still brought tears to the eyes of those who were involved.  It was a beautiful act.

Growing up, my brothers and I were constantly doing things that probably seemed like a bad idea to most people.  Most of them involved the river, or big hills.  We never got hurt beyond repair, and it was a lot of fun.  Sometimes you just need to try things, to see what it's like or if it can be done.  I can think of times when we would look at something, think about it for a minute, and then go for it, even when it looked like there was no way it would end well.  Riding a wagon down a huge hill into blackberries, rolling off cliffs in armor of cardboard box, tubing class 4 rapids with our brother standing on shore with a 10' length of rope if we got into trouble, kayaking little creeks when it rained hard, that sort of thing.

This made my childhood fun, and shaped a lot of how I view the world today.  Adventures are a kind of foolishness, typically unnecessary for furthering your life in most senses of the word, but beautiful and exciting and fulfilling in ways you carry with you for a long time.  I still seek out ways to be foolish in order to experience what life has to offer.  Sometimes it can be a bit disastrous.

Other times it can just be a bit silly.

(on a side note, I was actually doing something useful right there.)

As I have grown older my ability to go on epic journeys without a point to them has diminished significantly.  If I hurt myself I can't work, and most trips cost money I don't have.  That's a part of being an adult, and I am alright with that.  Occasionally I still get to do something epically stupid though, and it is still beautiful and life affirming.

(That's me in the tube.)

I am coming to realize that there is a whole new way for me to experience tomfoolery that is even more meaningful than just going on crazy adventures.  I now have a son, and it is time to pass on that spirit to him.

He is getting to the age now where he realizes the fun in being foolish.  It is great to spend an hour doing the same thing over and over and having him laugh every time.  Now we can't even say the word "adventure" without Gabe's ears perking up and his little hands pulling us towards the door.  As he grows older, I look forward to seeing what sorts of craziness he is going to get stoked on, and I hope I can help him along that path.

It's great to be a dad.

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