January 22nd, 2007
The following post was inspired by the thirty-seventh suggestion in No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, which was randomly selected by Virginia Culler of I Absolutely Hate The Word “Blog”.
The adult seemed a little flustered by the speed of my response. “Your bike?” she asked, incredulous. “You could always buy a bike, you know. Isn’t there something personal you’d want to save?”
She, like most adults, didn’t understand. It wasn’t important to have “a bike” after the fire; it was important to have my bike. Back then, certain possessions were practically an extension of my identity.
For a while there, around the time I was seven, my prized possession was a stick. It was a length of birch, maybe a yard in length and an inch in diameter, that I’d stripped of bark, and employed as a lightsaber in my backyard reenactment of pivotal Star Wars scenes. Plastic lightsabers were selling for a dime a dozen at the time, but I was happy with my stick — after all, we’d shared so many adventures together.
One day we both broke — it in half, I into tears — and I knew it could never be replaced. Sticks like that don’t grow on trees, you know.
So what would I save now, if my house were burning down and my family were already safe? Man, I don’t know. Nothing leaps to mind.
In a way I’m proud of this — attachment to stuff is such a drag, you know? But, still, I can’t help but romanticize the days when my Dapper Dan or my Mickey Mouse wristwatch meant the world to me.
Maybe, if my house were burned down tomorrow, I’d use it as an opportunity to reclaim some of that lost innocence. I’d break into my garage, save my bike, and then ride up and down the block to share the news with my neighbors. “Come look,” I’ll cry excitedly, “A house is burning down! Oh boy: I bet the fire engines will be here any minute!”