‘Don’t try this at home’ syndrome
After visiting the circus for the first time as a little kid, I nearly killed myself in our back yard. I was so impressed by the trapeze artists that I was determined to mimic their skills. I was especially blown away by the guy who was able to hang from the trapeze – balancing all of his body weight – with just his chin. Using a ball of twine and my swing set, I set out to copy this trick at home. I can remember my friend Ryan’s warning: “Stevie, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” as I leapt head first into a dangling loop of twine securely tied across the top of the swing set. I don’t know what was worse: the feeling of strangulation or my mom’s scream as she looked out the kitchen window to find me hanging from the swing set. This was a common syndrome in my childhood – trying to mimic what most would perceive as impossible, or just plain stupid. You know those warnings that precede shows like “Jackass,” and “Fear Factor” – you know, the old “Don’t try this at home”? That was created because of kids like me. As my mom says, I was a very “special” little boy. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not. Anyway, that’s why I stay away from terrain parks and halfpipes. In my 27 years, at least I’ve learned to recognize potential disasters, and sometimes I even avoid them. But there are a lot of mini-me’s out there, like 7-year-old Nicholas Assante of Denver. When asked about the X Games competitors, Nicholas said, “I would do jumps better than any of them.” His mom confirmed that he probably could – at least in his mind – despite the fact he’s never been on skis or a snowboard. Sounds like someone I know. Good luck to you, Nicholas. Actually, more importantly, good luck to you, Mrs. Assante – the waters will only get stormier when he enters his teens.
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