This weekend, Handsome and I were at a park. He and some kids were playing tag on the climbing structure. You know the things I mean, those big things you see at the park or playground that has platforms, bridges, ladders, slides; just all manner of things. He was playing with a bunch of kids he had never met before, in that uncaring way that younger kids have.
"Hey, can I play?"
"Do we know you?"
"No, but I was -"
"TAG! You're it!"
So anyway, there was a kid who started playing with them who was there with his mother and little brother. No, wait, I misspoke. He was there with his younger brother, since he wasn't really little.
He looked like a downscaled version of some of those guys you see competing in those "World's Strongest Man" competitions you can see on television if you have insomnia. He had a body shaped like a barrel, not a rib in sight. When they were handing out necks, he thought they said "next", and he just moved along to the next window. He had some powerful, if short, arms and legs, and his feet, when he removed his sandals, were thick bricks of flesh with five little tiny toes clinging haphazardly to the front end of each. He was chubby, but there was some muscle in there. Football teams should start keeping an eye on him now, and I don't think he was quite two years old. He may have been younger, I'm not sure. I do know that instead of words he was getting by on a lot of pointing and grunting, and he easily out massed his older brother.
Anyway. The older kids, the ones who could run, were playing tag, so this pint-sized powerhouse went off with his mother, who was carrying a little 3-wheeler push-bike; basically a tricycle without pedals. The two of them went to over on the far side of the structure so he would have room to push his bike, and they were out of my sight for a while.
The next time I saw the half-pint he-man he was pushing that bike along... on top of the structure. The whole structure was quite long, with three platforms connected by bridges, and the platform at the far end from me was attached to a long, gently sloping ramp all the way to the ground. This binky-sucking strongman had made his way up the ramp and along the structure until he was crossing the second bridge onto the platform I was leaning on. Seeing me, a wide smile creased his wide face and he muscularly motored his way over to me.
"Hi," he said, one of the few words I heard him use.
"Hi," I replied. I had been leaning on the platform at one of the open spots in the railing atop it, where one of the climbing ladders was. His smile widened even further, causing me to become nervous about the possibility of the top of his head falling off. I didn't have a lot of time to worry about that, though. Grinning like a pumpkin -based Halloween decoration, sturdy legs churning, he sent that push-bike straight through the break in the safety railing.
"Whoa there, Champ!"
I caught the front wheel of the bike as it left the platform. Since the wheel was right about at the height of my face, this moronic little muscleman was trying to drive his bike off a ledge better than 5 and a half feet off the ground! Since he was only about three feet tall himself, I could see no good outcome from this course of action. I shoved the bike backward, placing the front wheel back on the platform as the smile dropped from the little daredevil's face so fast there wasn't any transition time. One instant there was a wide smile, the next an intense frown.
"You're going to get hurt this way, Kiddo." I pushed the wheel a little to turn him in the right direction, and pointed. "You have to go back down the way you came, okay?"
I don't think this was a lad who was used to hearing "no" aimed in his direction. Face a thundercloud, he thrust the bike back toward the opening, jamming the wheel back into my hand. I dialed up my "Father" voice.
"No! You have to go the other way. Go on."
The change in tone got his attention, but after a moment's shock he just set about pushing harder against my hand, shouting things at me that, while not words exactly, clearly expressed his displeasure.
Well, now I was stuck. I couldn't get him down without getting up there, and I couldn't get up there without letting go of the wheel. I looked around and saw some of the other children watching.
"Anyone know where this kid's mother is?"
Handsome showed up on the other side of the platform, using the same connecting bridge that Young Suicidal had.
"She's over there, Dad!" He was pointing off toward the other side of the structure, somewhere I couldn't see. He came over and tried to reason with my pudgy problem.
No luck. All that happened was that he started shouting at the both of us, still pushing the bike at me with one hand while pushing at Handsome with the other.
"Hey, Handsome, can you get his Mom?"
In answer, Handsome simply stood straight and shouted off in the direction he had pointed.
"Hey! Your kid's trying to drive off the cliff over here! He's gonna get hurt!"
A few moments later a woman strode up the ramp and across the entire structure, following the same path as her erstwhile offspring. When she got there she didn't yell at him, nor did she try to pull him back. Instead she tipped him sideways, rolling him off the push-bike. Rather than trying to drag him, kicking and screaming, back to where she was sitting, she simply carried the bike away just a little faster than he could go. Still bellowing his wordless displeasure he followed in her wake, waving his arms and marching with a stiff, no-kneed stride. He looked for all the world like the villain in a Mexican Midget Wrestling match.
Footballer? Wrestler? World's Strongest Man?
Doctor? Physicist? Great man of words?
I don't think so.
Talk to you later!