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Hyperion May 12, 2001

#41 Rites of Passage

Major erat natu; non omnia possumus omnes.

He was older; there are some things we cannot all do.


As you know, dear readers, I have been writing about Timothy McVeigh and looking at the issues surrounding his case. However, with the delay in events, I am holding off on the last two columns in the series, and instead taking the time to write about something a little less sinister. I want to write about Rites of Passage. These, simply put, are events we go through that signify a change. Maybe it means we are growing up a bit, and maybe it means we are not as innocent as we were. Maybe it means we are a little wiser, and maybe it is a bit sad.

The first one I thought of was new shoes. Remember when you were young, and your mom would take you to get new shoes? You would be running around, doing that new-shoe run and skid, and you were just so happy you could burst. Of course, you wanted to wear the shoes home; Light, you never wanted to take them off. Then one day, after getting a pair of shoes, you elected to keep them in the box and carry them home. You see, you had learned the value of keeping your things nice. And while that step is a necessary one, I am always a little nostalgic for the time when all I wanted to do was wear my new shoes.

Remember the first time you stayed by yourself? I do. I was five years old, coming home from school, and mom and dad were a bit late getting there. Boy, I tell you, I thought the world had ended. Soon all was made well, and I learned I could do this. Then, if you had brothers and sisters, came the time when you were the one in charge. I still remember the first time I watched my three siblings overnight. I failed that test. Hearing noises everywhere, I called the cops twice. The second time, they just laughed at me, and I felt a right fool.

Remember the first time a hero let you down? I idolized Mike Tyson and Magic Johnson. When Tyson went to jail for rape and Magic said he had HIV, part of me died. These men were larger than life; they could do no wrong. I never looked at heroes the same way again, which is probably wise, but still a little sad.

Remember the first time you used deodorant, and the first time you shaved? I snuck my dad’s electric razor, and shaved one tiny part of my chin. I spent the next twenty-four hours terrified he would find out. I remember the deodorant too; it was Dry Idea. I felt so grownup. My younger brother felt jealous, so he used mine too. I still have not forgiven him.

Remember the first time you fell in love? On second thought, let’s just move on.

Remember the Kid’s Menu? Parents loved it, giving them a cheap way to feed their children. Long about nine or ten years old though, you wanted so badly to order off the adult menu. Those last two years of eligibility chafed at you, yearning to be older. Now I wish I order off that Kid’s Menu again.

Remember the first time someone you knew died? I came home from school; mom was on the couch with the Pastor and his wife, and all of them were crying. I had never seen anything shake my mom, and I was scared. I knew in my bones something awful had happened. We flew across the country for her father’s funeral, and I watched the emotions that afflicted all of the adults. I did not understand then what it really meant to lose somebody. I do not think we are ever really grown until we face that hardship.

Finally, remember when you were old enough to stay out at night? You would come home to find mom or dad waiting up for you, to make sure you were all right. Then one day, they didn’t wait up. I guess they learned they could trust me to be responsible, and take care of myself. Still, I would miss their presence when I would enter the house. It meant I was not a little kid any more, and I had to grow up.

Take Care,

May 12, 2001


Koz said...

Ahh Memories

Remeber the first time your friend backed into your mom's van.

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