As a kid I had to work hard to shake the moniker “The Destroyer.” Big or small, no item was exempt from my uncanny ability to inadvertently dismantle and render it useless. The other kids on the block despised this character flaw, or lack of character, if you will, and deep down, I admit there was a bit of self-loathing I heaped on myself for rarely leaving a friend’s house without the obligatory destruction and debris in my wake. It was never intentional. Rather, I’d zero in on an item that struck my fancy, and within minutes the part of my brain that told my hands to play gently and cherish others’ toys would shut down, and The Clumsy Hands would begin improvising swifter ways to break my neighbors’ stuff. It got so bad, most families prohibited me from entering their homes on Christmas for fear I’d leave a pile of rubble where their recently unwrapped and barely played with holiday gifts once sat. Indeed, my reputation preceded me.
Last night we had 21 people for dinner, mostly adults, with a couple of boys under the age of eight. In fact, there were three of them, including mine, which together represented a force much like that of the three boys in my family growing up. While the adults sat and schmoozed, the boys got good and muddy outside, then brought their whirlwind of dirty hands, feet, and unchecked rambunctiousness down to the basement, where much banging and screaming ensued.
Needless to say, at the end of the night, we were lucky our house was still standing. Alas, my much coveted Wii Fender Stratocaster replica so I can riff along with John, Paul, George, and Ringo got the shorter end of the stick.
I sat there, guitar pieces in hand, mourning this act of senseless aggression and carelessness, and I thought about all of the poor, unsuspecting victims upon whom I’d inflicted similar pain, and I realized that this was my payback.
And, somehow, despite the loss, I felt at peace.