Contrived Adventures


The wind and snow were really whipping last Saturday, biting at my nose and cheeks.

It wasn’t super cold (maybe 25° or so), but I tell ya, that wind wasn’t doing me any favors.

Dang near had to keep my eyes closed, just to shut out the blinding snow!

Not that there was much to see anyway…

If it weren’t for the tops of a few brown weeds poking through the snow, a line of sprinkler pipes, and a big yellow “Not-Maintained-In-Winter” sign, you’d almost think I was running through a frozen, uninhabited tundra — when, in reality, I was only about 1/4 mile from my own front door.

I was panting pretty hard by then, the cold air really burning the lungs. It’s no easy feat, running mile after mile through a foot of crusty old snow, but I just couldn’t slow my pace. I had to keep going!

I suddenly veered off the “road” (I use that term loosely, because it was kind of hard to tell exactly where the “road” was) — and I made my way onto a frozen irrigation pond.

After running slipping and sliding across the ice for awhile, without any prior warning or forethought, I dove forward and tucked into a wobbly somersault.

It wasn’t a graceful motion.

Not by any stretch of the imagination.

But it sure was fun!

I disappeared momentarily in a puff of white snow, and when I popped back onto my feet a split second later and started running again, it became painfully apparent that most of the snow had somehow ended up down my shirt. Talk about a shock to the system!

And did I mention I was running in a long sleeved t-shirt and basketball shorts?

I’ll admit that I don’t always have the brightest ideas (like that one time I went swimming after a pheasant in November), but as crazy as it may sound, I thoroughly enjoyed running through a blizzard on Saturday.

It was a grand adventure!

I don’t often tell people about my little self-inflicted adventures though — because, let’s face it: it’s really weird for a grown man to be rolling around in the snow for “no good reason.” People give you funny looks when you climb a tree or jump a fence or walk to work in subzero temperatures (or choose to tackle ANY unnecessary obstacle, just because it’s there).

But seriously though, what’s the point? Why do I go out of my way to do things “the hard way”?

Why am I always on the lookout for “adventures“?

(Are you sure you really wanna know? It might take awhile to explain…)

I’m not a psychologist or anything — and I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but I have this theory that men and boys in general have a deep-down longing to be a hero. They need to “save the day,” periodically.

Why else would there be so much time, effort, and money put into producing those “tough-guy” flicks? Video games? Action figures? Why do you think sports are such a big deal? Why do men feel the need to fix things when they break?

Let’s face it, guys just need to feel like a hero every now and then — and all that stuff gives us a chance to do it; to be the hero.

Sure, the average Joe won’t be saving the world from the forces of evil (opportunities to do that are few and far between), but smaller, more personal crises come up all the time — and I personally revel in them!

Like just the other day, when our family was pitted against Mother Nature herself, and the only thing that stood between us and a flooded basement was me with my trusty old shop-vac. (With a lot of help from Lindsey, because let’s face it, she’s pretty much a superhero already).

Or when the water system went down, and it was up to me to get it fixed.

And then there was that school bus that got stuck in the slush and snow…

I’m nothing special. Just another guy. But I tell ya, opportunities to be a true hero are all around, even if they’re small. And that brings me back to the original question:

Why am I always on the lookout for “adventures”?

Well, because all those little contrived adventures of mine help keep me in shape.

The self-imposed obstacles keep me on my toes.

If I’m continually striving to keep myself sharp (even if it means running and rolling around in a flippin’ blizzard), then hopefully I’ll be strong enough to “save the day” when a crisis arises.

The makeshift pull-up bar at work.

About a year ago, me and a bunch of co-workers put up a ghetto pull-up bar near the back of our office, and since that time, I’ve cranked out roughly 10,000 pull-ups (just for the sake of “adventure”).

I don’t tell you that to brag, because, like I said before, I’m nothing special. But believe you me, I was grateful for each and every one of those pull-ups when we got pounded with another 18 inches of snow on Monday!

Every time I lifted my tired arms with another shovel full of heavy, wet snow, I was thanking my lucky stars for all my earlier “training.”

I don’t know how many tons of snow I ended up shoveling that day, but I’m pretty sure it was my habit of constantly doing things “the hard way,” that enabled me to keep our little homestead from getting totally buried in the onslaught (again, with a lot of help from my Wonder-Woman wife).

True, if I hadn’t been able to keep up, we’ve got at least a half a dozen generous neighbors who would’ve been happy to drive their tractors over to our place and dig us out. BUT, I would have missed out on my chance to be a “hero.”

(I guess it’s kind of a selfish thing, really.)

And y’know, 30 years down the road, when my grandkids have got their kite stuck in a tree (assuming kids still fly kites 30 years from now), I want to be the kind of grandpa who can run out there, climb the tree, and “save the day” (and teach those dang whippersnappers a thing or two while I’m at it!).

I want to always be sharp enough to handle whatever crisis might come my way — and if that means I have to keep climbing trees and running through blizzards and seeking out contrived adventures every day until then, so be it.

Because that’s how I roll. 😉


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