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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Toughen up, sucka!

Families have different things that they value.  One family is all huggy and loving and kisses each other all the time, other families value clear communication and value hanging out with each other spending quality time together up the wazoo.  

Not my family.  

We value being TOUGH.  

We were taught this from a young age.  Let me illustrate this with a true story that actually took place when I was about 5 years old.  It was winter, oh, bloody winter (sorry, you English, it's not a swear here, it's just a funny word) and we were going to grit our teeth and freakin enjoy it.  We were going to go sledding.  And my Dad was going to take us.  If you've not heard before, my Dad is actually Rambo, which is part of why we value toughness.  

So, my brother (he was 3 at the time) and I hiked off behind my Dad whose steps in the 4 foot deep snow were like eight feet apart and we could only crawl into the holes he made by his gigantic boots.  Was he going to turn us into some kind of pansy babies and walk slow just because our legs were eleven inches long??  NO!  

(This is only the beginning of the lessons in our house.  Walk fast or die.  That's one thing you've got to learn, especially if you are in the woods.  Walk fast or be left behind and a bear will eat your face off.  And if you walk too close behind the person in front of you, a giant whippy branch is going to snap directly into your eyeball, attach itself to the inside of it, snag out and dangle in the middle of the path as a sort of warning for others.)

But I digress.  We walked/crawled to a hill that led down to a bridge.  The bridge was the walkway over a channel between two lakes.  This path was about as wide as a car with trees lining the sides.  We stood at the top of it.  My Dad placed us into the sled, stood behind us and gave us a shove.  The wind whipped past our faces as we reached probably 30 mph (or so it felt), the ground beneath us a blur of blinding white and the whoooshing sound filled our ears.  Because we were unaware of any possible danger, we made no effort to abandon ship as we crashed full force into a tree.  We were fine.  We thought it was fun.  Upon going home and reporting the incident to my mother, she did not find it (for some weird reason) as fun or as awesome as we thought it was and began some weird tirade at my Dad.  Imagine that!

We learned gems of lessons as youngsters.  I recall a recurring theme in the form of a phrase from childhood when something unfortunate would happen to us and we thought it would be awesome to protest with whimpering tears.  It declared clearly and poignantly, "Is it broke?  Are you bleeding?  Then QUIT YER CRYING!"  Sometimes, if you persisted in crying, you would get the bonus, "Quit crying or I'll give you something to cry about!"  This was alternated for variety with, "Quit your crying or I'll knock you into next Tuesday!"  These were very helpful in pretty much any situation.  

We learned toughness from example.  One day in the summer, my Dad had gone out on his dirt bike and rode up some of the two (which dwindled into one) track trails through the woods (which dwindled into no tracks and just woods).  He would go tear up the hills at 80 miles per hour, swerving around each tree and obstacle.  That was until he popped over a certain spot, didn't see a stump and it went through his shin.  No, really.  Through it.  A hole.  With blood.  Do you know what a shin bone looks like?  I do.  I got to see my Dad's up close and personally.  I think he ripped part of his sleeve off in the woods, tied up a tourniquet for himself, and walked the bike all the way home.  He sauntered into the kitchen and nonchalantly said to my mother, "I think I probably should go to the hospital."  This was in the same tone as you might say, "I think we'll have tacos for dinner tonight." or "That new movie sounds interesting."  Except that blood was squirting out of his leg like some kind of fountain in the middle of Paris and you could see the white of his shin bone.  I think my brother passed out.  Wimp.  

There is a girl I play volleyball with who happens to be part of my distant family (like as in, her great-grandpa and my grandpa were cousins), but we have the same family of origin surname.  Whilst playing last week, we looked down at my knuckles and watched as blood dripped all over them (for what reason, I am not sure - blood?  It's just a flesh wound!).  She reacted initially as any person is trained to act - she inquired, "Did you just do that now?"  Yeah.  "Are you okay?"  I looked at her, straightfaced at first, then with a sort of confused and insulted expression washed over me, wherein we both declared simultaneously that of COURSE I was okay, I am a "Fill in the blank with my maiden name".  

This goes back to who knows how far, but the story is that the first person in our family in this country came here as a German soldier hired during the Revolutionary War to fight - he got a musket ball in the guts, pulled it out and fought in the rest of the war.  

What's up now, suckas.  

When I hear about people not wanting to go outside because it is too cold (-20 F windchill), or they don't want to go running/start exercising because it makes them tiiiiired and it's haaard, or they don't want to eat their vegetables and get healthy, I have some advice for you:

Is it broken?  Can you see bone sticking out of your leg?  Then QUIT YER CRYIN' and just do it.  


Peace, love, and just doooo it, 
Ms. Daisy

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