Monday, October 22, 2007

The Thinker

I think most people have done this. When you were in class, in elementary school, you probably meant to say, "Miss Wormwood, may I go sharpen my pencil?" but instead it came out as, "Mommy, may I go sharpen my pencil?"


Time freezes as you immediately realize your gaffe. Oh God, did anybody hear that? You want to rewind time and gobble up those words before they get out of your mouth. Too late. Kids start to snicker and the teacher cracks a little smile. Your face heats up to a thousand degrees and turns bright red. Your day is completely ruined. Chances are you'll remember the Mommy incident the entire year.

Sitting there this morning, pondering what to write about in this blog, I was reminded of those kinds of embarrassing childhood moments. I had many, but one stands out from the rest and I still remember it vividly.

I was around eight years old. We just recently moved to the neighborhood, and my sister Shelly and I had made friends with the girls next door. They were the first girls I ever had as friends. Stacey was a couple years younger, but Lori was my age and she was the object of my growing crush. The four of us played well together, riding bikes, hiding and seeking ...kid stuff.

One summer evening after dinner, we were lounging on the grass in our front yard near the rose bushes. Just talking. Now, if it had been me and my guy friends, certainly the topic would have been something like the color and consistency of dog poop, boogers, or spit. But this was me and three girls, and we were being cerebral and philosophical. The conversation topic was... thinking. I mean, we were talking about how kids think and how they make sense of the world. Pretty deep for eight-year-olds. I was doing more listening than talking, but it was really pleasant to be there in that moment in our little world. With Lori.

Then I blurted out, "I do my best thinking when I'm sitting on the toilet!!"

Oh.... My.... God.... I knew instantly that I had made a colossal blunder of judgement. I had gotten too comfortable and relaxed and crossed the line of sharing thoughts that should have stayed in my own head. Like locked up in Alcatraz.

The damage was immeasurable. First of all, I had just admitted in front of Lori that I actually used the bathroom, and worse yet, since I am a boy, she could deduce that I go number two! That concept was horrifying enough, but now I had implanted an explicit picture of myself in her mind like this...

...which was not really the image I wanted to portray.

So yeah, they laughed at me and teased me for a couple minutes and then we moved on to the next subject. Odds are Lori forgot my embarrassing comment by the next day, and maybe it wasn't really the reason nothing ever became of my crush. Yet I remember it clearly almost 40 years later.

It's interesting how our sensibilities change as we age, and in particular, our vulnerability to being embarrassed. Of course we learn to filter our comments better than when we were young, but also I think our sensitivity dulls. Maybe we just don't care. Did I tell you where I was when I thought of the idea for this blog post??


TnA said...

Shouldn't you have titled this entry "The Stinker"?

Sorry...couldn't resist...guy humor and all that, you know...

Gary said...

do you think more when you are only riding 2 hours per week?

Marco Fanelli said...

Hey Gary, I rode 3 hours last week! ...which still leaves plenty of time for thinking and resting.

Anonymous said...

Love your writing Fanelli! I look forward to your latest post like I look forward to my morning cup. I think I'm going to design a saddle that's a little more like my favorite seat in my house. Talk about the best of both worlds!!

James Morgan

TnA said...

Hey James,
I think that saddle has already been invented:

Marco would be able to do SOOO much thinking on his rides with that one, huh?

Marco Fanelli said...

Thanks James. And I love your riding too!

Dig the seat TnA! I'm thinking of the efficiency... with that seat, there would be no need to wait in the long porta-potty lines before a race. You just take care of business in the first few miles of riding. Pity the fool on my wheel however...

Steve said...

The OtherSteve said:


Just wanted to say from way on the east coast - I really enjoy your posts. This was another great one.

I think most will agree great thinking ( + stinkin) happens on the throne!!

PS : If you look at my Blog ( 9/23 post) I also got some great fall foliage shots when up in New Hampshire. Your Portland Picture was fantastic.

Steve (Garys DAD)

Marco Fanelli said...

Cool shots Steve! I also liked the Kentucky pics and trip report. Who knew Kentucky was so wild!?! Well, I guess Daniel Boone did...