Source: Sherman Publications

Don't Rush Me
'Donít try to save me, Dad.'
Editor's Choice This Week While Don Does Nuttin' honey

by Don Rush

June 06, 2012

When I hear a sentence starting or ending with, ďback in the good olí days,Ē I automatically roll my eyes. I canít help it, itís instinctive. And I can honestly say the muscles that control my rolling eyes are ripped. Theyíre taunt and buff. They get exercised like no other muscle in my body.

Longing for the good olí days, besides being an act of folly, is a waste of energy, too. The good olí days werenít always good, just like our todayís arenít always bad.

Life was ďsimplerĒ back then only because we survived -- we know how things turn out. We know the end of those past chapters. That part of life is simple. Stuff gets more complicated or hard when you contemplate the now as it relates to the future -- that which you donít know.

I state that to lead into this contradiction: Things sure are harder now than when I was a kid.

I came to that startling revelation a few years ago while experiencing a deja vu moment watching the Detroit Pistons professional basketball team. Watching Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James cut his teeth on the Pistons, reminded me of Chicago Bull Michael Jordan who cut his teeth on the Pistons in the early 1990s. Overtop of the Pistons, Jordan ruled the NBA for a decade. Similarly, LeBron has now been anointed king. But, I digress...

It was shortly after 9 p.m., the lads (Shamus and Sean) were safely ensconced under their respective blankets having gone to bed an hour earlier. It was then Mr. Sean stumbled into the living room, eyes squinting as he came from the dark into the light. He was sniffling as he came up to me and sat on my lap.

ďDad,Ē he managed between sobs, ďif a car is going to hit me, donít try to push me out of the way.Ē

Between his sobbing and NBA sportscaster Marv Albertís gushing over LeBronís game I couldnít quite understand what my son was saying. ďWhat, Sean?Ē I asked, turning the TVís volume down.

ďDonít try to push me out of the way. Give me a signal, but donít try to save me,Ē he said, sniffling all the way. His little blond head was resting on my left shoulder, his body was shaking. I then understood what had so profoundly upset my son. Sean had had a nightmare and in it I got smashed to smitheriens trying to push him out of the path of a moving vehicle.

He was heartbroken. I smiled to myself, but at the same time wished he wasnít so upset. You -- or at least I -- hate to see children worry.

Childhood anxiety is something I understand. I know I had angst as a kid. And much to my chagrin, Iím sure all kids fear their parents leaving or being taken away, too. My insecurity manifested itself much the same way as did Seanís. The difference, my dream was cartoonish, Seanís was disturbingly real. I can only attribute this to the fact things are much more (too) real these days than in the 1960s.

I still remember my anxiety-ridden dream. It took place in Mom and Dadís bedroom at 9902 Berwyn Street, in Redford Township. The terror for me began when the grotesquely blue-faced winged monkeys from ďThe Wizard of OzĒ popped up out of the cream-colored, 12-inch linoleum tiles laid out on the floor. These vile creatures were in my home for one reason and one reason only -- to steal Mom and Dad. The scoundrels scooped up my parents and flew around the room as if they were attached to wires.

I had to save my parents!

My dreamworld mind had the answer: I, little mild-mannered Donald P. Rush, was Mighty Mouse. While Mom, Dad, the monkeys and the room were lifelike, I was a cartoon character. Yep, complete with drawn in mouse ears, nose, yellow leotards and red superhero cape, I could fly. While it was a vivid dream, when I awoke, I knew it was a dream nonetheless. Harmless. How or why I dreamt of a cream-colored floor Iíll never know -- my parentís bedroom floor was hardwood.

Little Seanís dream was disturbingly real (at least to him) and I blame it on technology. Back in the good olí days monsters and villains of any sort were not too realistic (unless you say gluing on cardboard horns onto monitor lizards so you can film a dinosaur movie is realistic). These days, with great and ever improving technology, nothing looks fake or cartoonish. Which means even in a kidís dreamworld, everything looks real. The line between reality and dreamaility is now very thin.

It melts the frozen cockles of my stone-cold heart he loves me such that he would be sad should I perish -- I just wish he wouldnít think of those things.

Ah, I pine for those good olí days of yesteryear -- ouch! Damn, for some reason my eyes just rolled back into my head?

This 'Best of' ran June 6, 2007.