Throwing Stuff — Story Two

[Well, I do have the flu; the doctor confirmed it Thursday morning. But I’m having episodes of feeling better, so I thought I’d try to post this next story.]

Victor was walking in the woods in front of the house, one day, and I was in the yard doing who-knows-what. It was one of those warm days when being outside is the best of all options. This must have been the late ’60s or early ’70s, so we were still pretty young.

I saw Victor out there in the woods, and a random thought crossed my mind. “I wonder if I could hit him with a rock.” Please understand, I didn’t want to hit him with a rock. Nor did I have need to hit him with a rock. I simply wanted to know if I could hit him with a rock. It was a matter of curiosity.

Thus armed with that universal motivation of most bad ideas, I reached down and picked up a nice, throwing-sized rock. (This was upstate South Carolina, and there were always rocks nearby to accomodate one’s purpose.) I released a high arching shot that hung in the air for a few seconds before landing with a SMACK! — right on top of his head. He instantly started crying, obviously. The pain mixed with the sense of treachery of having been surprise attacked were worthy of tears. And just as soon as the rock hit, I was deeply remorseful; I had produced pain and uncertainty for a younger sibling who should be able to count on me for better things. I felt cruel and inconsiderate.

Mama came out to deal with Victor and to give me my own deserved attention, about which I did not argue. About that time, the local car mechanic drove up, preparing to take one of the cars to his shop for servicing. And then — in one of the most subtly uncontrived moments of family humor that I yet remember — Mama got the mechanic to examine Victor’s head! They stood in the driveway commenting on what a very tiny cut it was, and deciding how best to treat it.

Victor was okay, and although I don’t know that I ever apologized enough, we were soon on good brotherly terms again.

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 12:10 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ooooooh. It was “a matter of curiosity.” Another hypernormal phenomenon that you’d naively opened yourself up to, I suppose. That explains it perfectly.

    And still, Victor plays disc golf with you today?

    Response from Steve:
    Do I detect a little bit of sarcasm, there? Curiosity is serious stuff, my friend.

  2. I used to throw dirt clods at and with my friends in the woods behind the parsonage in Pacolet Mills, SC.

    Your incident with Victor and the remorse you felt immediately afterward is akin to a story Sam Keen relates in his recent book Sightings.

    Sam was practicing his throwing skills on the front lawn one day, trying to avoid mowing the lawn when a bird flashed by.

    Impulsively, Keen hurled a rock upwards.

    To his horror, a yellow-bellied sapsucker fell at his feet.

    The shame he felt marked the beginning of his journey of reverence for life and understanding of Micah 6:8.

    You said you were soon back on brotherly terms with Victor again.

    Now, I have to ask the question: Did Victor get even with you?

    Response from Steve:
    Did Victor get even with me? Uh. Not yet…(!)

    We all enjoyed throwing dirt clods at each other, too. When you hit someone, the clod would explode in a cloud of dust and leave a mark where the hit took place. In later years someone commercialized the idea and called it “paintball”.

  3. This is an incident I don’t remember. I wonder if that is because I was too young, or the resulting brain damage. Having an auto mechanic examine my injury certainly carries some strange implications about my personage. The fact that he had a son about my age was somehow left out of the description.

    Response from Steve:
    I’d like to know what ages we were then, exactly.

  4. Okay. After reading Joel’s thoughtful and sensitive comment on the incident in question, I’m feeling a little guilty about my own semi-skeptical remarks. I agree that curiosity is serious stuff and far be it from me to second guess the information that may have been gleaned from such an experiment.

    I’m just glad the auto mechanic wasn’t a paint and body guy…Victor may have ended up having his cut sanded down or filled with Bondo.

    Response from Steve:
    Hey, no need for guilt; I know you’re joking!

    Bondo — funny!

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