I broke the bed yesterday. My nephew Cole and I broke the bed yesterday. Jumping on it. Taking turns jumping on it, rather. Pretending to be Olympic stunt bed-jumpers, complete with imaginary crowds, commentators, judges (9.7, 9.5, 9.5, 9.6), and even an imaginary stalker who, when caught, would be (imaginarily) hurled screaming into the building across the street. We would alternate between competition mode and training mode, humming the training sequence music for Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on Nintendo – the part when the game would show Little Mac preparing to enter each next division of difficulty. And then we’d back up, pretend to do preparatory stretches and loosening motions, get a running start and jump into various spins and flips onto the mattress. We (I) broke it good, being reckless, on repeat. Why wasn’t I sorry?
It took me some time to figure it out.
I heard the deep, concentrated snap of the box spring frame after a running leap into a forward flip that was just a bit out of hand, and thought to myself “How amazing would it be if we got away with this?!!” Megan was rightfully frustrated. In order to get that box spring into its present position, we had enlisted the devising help of her brother to hacksaw the beams of the frame in half so we could to move it in two separate pieces the up the narrow stairway and make the hard-left turn into the bedroom. He then had to insert two long bolts into each beam (rather meticulously) to fasten the halves back together again. Ruined in one loud, fateful break.
There will be no brother called this time. And the sleeping situation is not good. New bed, $600, minimum.
But as I heard the (albeit well-founded) accusatory questions about my behavioral choices, about the expense and inconvenience, about responsibility, I noticed a definite lack of remorse on my part. And given that expense, inconvenience and responsibility, it definitely seemed like something to feel sorry about. So why wasn’t I?
I’ve thought about it since. I suppose I’m still distilling the metaphor, but here it is for now. Briefly sidestepping for the sake of examination the fact that the present moment is all we ever truly have, I want to have lived with memories like this.
“Remember when we broke the box spring pretending to be Olympic stunt bed-jumpers?”
We could easily find better things to spend the $600 on. Dental work. A new windshield for the Honda. Student loans. But stunt jumping, running forward flips into world after world of adventure story-imposed, frame-snapping reality… THAT is glory. Could we have done it without the running flip? Maybe. Could we have used the $600 for a wireless pickup broadcaster for my accordion? Definitely. Would we have bounded nearly as far and as fun into the action-joy-magic we created for ourselves that afternoon? You’ve got to know the answer to that one.
I picture myself having the opportunity one day, if only for that insta-flash before my passing, to look back and judge out all the decisions ever made in my life as worthy or not. Without a doubt, the one to go for the gold in Olympic Stunt Bed-jumping will ultimately go on the side of worthiness.
As for the metaphor, I guess I feel like that’s what’s happening right now with music-making, and choice-making to devote time to ushering some art out into the world. And all of this is definitely to say that something good is happening for the work, for myself and for the team at Featherburn. Both the message and the mission continue to distill and clarify. Growth, transformation, transmutation, human relationships and community, inspiration, love (am I forgetting anything?)… All of that, hopefully through music, with you.
Maybe each of us needs to finish weaving out the life-symbols for ourselves. Between whole-heart, head-long, fantasy-bred stunt life, I know they’re all present, complete in how we spend our lives, how we create, and what (stunts) we dare to try.
Also, the bed was a piece of shit.