When we were kids, a friend had this plastic snowball stick. It looked like a baseball bat but with a hollowed end. You stuck it into the snow and the flakes were transformed into what looked like an artillery shell. How it worked was, you swung it downward like an ax, launching an icy projectile (Rhode Island snow tends to be slushy). It wasn’t very accurate at all. That’s why I really didn’t think twice as I swung it toward the road where a classic old car was going beautifully about its business.
When it came to hitting cars with snowballs thrown from great distances, I was advanced for my age. It was a thrill to mentally compute the speed and direction of the car, distance, density/weight of the snowball (and escape routes) all before letting it fly and waiting for the target to reach spot X as the snowball roared out of the heavens to meet it. Land it on the hood and … wow, what an angry driver. I’d done the math for this gorgeous, shiny black car, but I didn’t really want to hit it, and the stupid snowball stick never worked anyhow. So what in blazes was that way-too-big chunk of ice and snow doing flying over the electric wires toward the exact spot I’d aimed for? As soon as it left the stick I knew. (A natural snowball thrower has a feel for such things.) Yup …
Bang! Screeeeech! Run!
You don’t think of consequences so much when you’re a kid … and fast enough to get away. (A high school-aged guy caught me once and roughed me up a little bit. The gentlest beating of my life, though. He didn’t want to be hitting me, clearly, but knew I needed to learn a lesson — since I’d really wanted to hit his car, a fast-moving Chevy Nova. Or maybe he had a criminal record and didn’t want to end up back in one of Cranston, RI’s fine prisons. I wasn’t going to complain either way.)
I tell this story because that’s just so amazingly not me today. One, I can barely throw a snowball across an alley, never mind most of a city block. Hurt my elbow at a young age. (CAR-ma, ha-ha! Karma! Get it?) Two, just the idea of hurting someone, even unintentionally (snowball hits car, driver panics and crashes, say …), makes me feel cold inside. And it’s way too easy to hurt people simply by being stupid. Take the car commercial featuring potential buyers being given a high-speed thrill ride in a “race car” only to learn it’s just a normal sedan when they peel away the plastic parts. Message: Buy this boring-looking sedan and you can race on the city streets, fella.
Or, for that matter, ads for the more modern snowball launcher, which I found doing a web search for pictures of the old stick. This one is a VERY BAD IDEA. I mean, look at the face of the kid in that photo up top! He’s gonna put somebody’s eye out.
Three, today it tends to be far more thrilling to do the quick computations on how to be a nice guy and then watch that (mostly) happen instead. Or, to relive those childhood memories (on days when it was supposed to snow!) from a distance even my adolescent arm couldn’t reach. Bang! An old softie.
Anyway, it’s been kind of cool in just a couple of years here at the school to hear so many stories of where our nursing students and grads started out only to become something very different. Not all exactly punk-to-prince (ahem) stories like mine. But unfailingly real.
Which is all my long-winded way of saying: Please look some more around the SON blogs here. We’ve got fun, thoughtful, and real entries from students Stephanie Olmanni, Hazuki, Tia. Heck, MarCom staffer Danielle Kress (your friendly DailySON editor) has been blogging too. I feel guilty every time one of my own entries pushes one of theirs down on your computer screen. (But please read my previous entries as well. Hey, if other bloggers want to be back on top, they can write more!)
See how that works there?
Not that rotten little kid anymore but, as my mom would have told you, still a wise guy.
Thanks for reading.
-Steve St. Angelo