Monday, June 16, 2008

Back In the Day

It's Father's Day 2008. This would be my 5th (6th if you count when the time in the womb) official Father's Day. So far I've spent it having brunch with my son (yes a 4 year old took me out) and taking him on a bike ride to the park. As I'm watching him play on the slides and swings with the other children I'm reminded of a song. "Back in the Day" by Ahmad. In this song Ahmad reflects on the days of his childhood stating in his chorus "Back in the days when I was young I'm not a kid any more but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again."

(Ahmad - Back in the Days)

Well I guess one of the joys of parenthood is being able to sort of relive your childhood through your child. I can't personally go back and relive my childhood; however, every day I spend with or talking to my son is somehow just as good.

For instance, my son's favorite toy is a car. Not any specific car but any car. Yep if it has 4 wheels he'll basically play with it, and the more cars the merrier. Well I'm an "80's Baby" so when I think back I recall my favorite toys of choice were anything He-Man, Voltron, or Transformers (the original not the re-make). I mean my brother and I would fiend for more and more of these action figures. Recently my son was telling my brother about a toy he left at the park and wasn't there when he went back. Well let him tell it someone stole it and he was going to call the police 9-1-1. Lol. Likewise, my brother proceeded to tell him about how one time he left his He-Man toy (Skelator specifically) on the bus when he was a little boy. I actually recall when it happen and my older brother being all broken up over it. I think I may have even offered him my He-Man toy in replacement but it wasn't good enough. Lol.

Now when it came to Voltron, well if you're old enough to remember them the goal was to collect all 5 of the Voltron characters that connected to form Voltron. There was the head/torso, the 2 arms and the 2 legs. Well I remember when my brother and I finally had all 5 we were as happy as can be. Well that was until one of cousins (we still don't have enough evidence to name a culprit) broke one of the legs off the Voltron. Unfortunately, we were never able to form Voltron again. And yes I'm still holding a little animosity towards one of my cousins. (Whoever you are feel free to confess your sins at any time. Lol).

Well moving on, as I watch my son I realize that a child's only job as they see it at least is to play. There's honestly nothing else on their agenda. When I call my son nightly and ask what he did today I get the same answer "I played." And trust me I've seen him get his "play on" and you better believe it's hard work. I've seen him play so much all day that when it's late at night and he's still trying to play he's damn near falling asleep. Lol. But one of the main activities my son loves to do is go out and ride his bike. Unfortunately, he's still on training wheels so I don't ride with him yet; however you can usually find me either running besides or behind him (Kanye work out plan my ass!).

Well when I reflect on my bike riding days there are 2 things that immediately come to memory. Well first is when I was trying to learn how to ride without training wheels. Now I'm certain that teaching your child to ride with no training wheels is a very joyous occasion in both a child and a parents life (probably more so the parent). However, when I think back to my days of learning to ride I doubt my dad would call those days joyous. I specifically recall the day when my dad decided it was time to pull off the training wheels and show me how to ride like the big boys (mainly my older brother). Keep in mind that in those days we either couldn't afford helmets and knee and elbow pads, or kids were just made tougher back then. Lol.

Well all I remember is that it was one of the hardest days of my young life to that point at least. I remember "fallin' " so much Alicia Keys would get jealous. Also, I remember the last fall being the one that made me probably hate my dad for the first time in my life. My grandparents stayed right off of the Dan Ryan express way on the South Side. So to get back to Lafayette we had to cross over the bridge that stretched over the Dan Ryan. Well the bridge was an arch. So you start going up hill and ended down hill. So as my dad held the seat of my bike up the hill with confidence he let the seat go as I descended down hill. I believe he chased after me as my bike road down the hill on 2 wheels. And I'm sure I felt like I was flying and finally got the hang of riding with no training wheels. Well that was until I saw the approaching intersection and began to try to apply the brakes to stop this rolling contraption. Unfortunately as I applied the brakes I yet knew how to stop the bike and keep it from tipping over. Well as the visual probably depicts as I stopped I flipped off of the bike Dominique Dawes (the gymnist) style with the pavement as my only landing pad. Well good people needless to say my arms, knees, feelings, and pride were hurt all with the same fall. I of course cried as my dad attempted to console me, but it was to no avail. At that particular point I came to realize that my father was not superman and could not forever protect me from injury and harms way. I remember breaking away from him and running into the house to be consoled by my mom and grandmother and vowing to never ride again. I'm sure my father felt even worse than I did for all the scrapes, scratches, and falls I took. But I do recall him continuing to tell me with each fall "don't worry son if you fall just get back up and try again." Well needless to say I did just that and eventually learned to ride with no training wheels. In fact, despite the current relationship my father and I have, I can say those words definitely began my preparation for life at an early age. In other words, life is nothing more than a "get back up and try again" roller coaster that you continue ride until you get it right. So for that advice I thank you dad.

Now, I would attempt to add a moral to such a story but unfortunately there is none. All I can say is that in the next year or 2 the only thing I can be assured of is that I'm sure teaching my son to ride his bike without training wheels will be no easy task. Fortunately, I can learn from my father and buy protective gear for the falls and provide encouragement for when he wants to give up. Likewise, there are probably hundreds of stories I can provide of bike riding adventures including my brother and I riding our bikes at a local sand dunes as we called it (but it could've been a landfill now that I think of it. Lol) but this particular story stuck out in my memory.

Now I don't know how many of you have children between the age of say 2 and 11 but if you do well let's just say that it's safe to say that the Disney channel is something we share in common. All I know is that if Walt Disney from the grave wanted to brain wash children and form some sort of evil army he's definitely got the platform to do so. Anytime Hannah Montana can sell out a concert arena quicker than I can chug a beer there is something definitely wrong. Lol. However, all I know is that my son watches the Disney Channel religiously. And when I way "religiously" I mean even more than my grandmother watches/listens to church. And if you have a religious grandmother you know that's a whole hell of a lot. Unfortunately, as a parent there are times I'm forced to watch the channel as well even when I don't necessarily want to. In fact, so much I even start to like certain shows. I will keep them nameless as to not violate any Man Laws. But as long as I don't turn into those of you that watch even when your kid(s) aren't around (you know who you are) I think I'm good.

Well when Disney channel originally hit the scene I remember not having cable except at my grandmother's house. Also I recall feeling like I was too old for Disney. Besides, I liked Warner Brothers (WB) better than Disney anyway. However, just as my son has his beloved Disney channel we had certain cartoons we loved and wouldn't miss for anything in the world. For instance, Voltron, He-Man, Transformers (as previously mentioned), G.I. Joe, Thunder Cats, Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Tom and Jerry, The Smurfs, Anamaniacs, and all the Warner Bros. Classics. Basically, cartoons were a way of escaping reality in our child like lives. Ironically, when you think about violence on television I don't know how cartoons still receive the G or TV Y ratings. But I guess even back then we as kids somehow knew Wile E. Coyote using an umbrella to stop a ton anvil was fake and never attempted it. Lol.

Finally, my son recently got introduced to the exciting world of video games. He began with his own game system of V-Smile which produces games geared towards education, but still have some of their favorite characters. However, after I purchased GTA IV on PS3 he quickly graduated from his V-Smile to the PS3 and wanted to play GTA (because of the ability to drive real cars). Don't worry he does nothing more than drive the cars as a responsible parent I turn down the volume and make sure he avoids any violence except the occasional breaking of a window to get into a car (I tell him he lost the keys) Lol.

However, in this new era of PS3 and XBox 360 I'm reminded of "back in the day." You know when the original Nintendo first came out (Sorry I wasn't old enough for Atari and "ColecoVision I was an "80's Baby" remember). But after Nintendo (not in order of appearance) then came Sega Genesis, Atari Jaguar, Super Nintendo, Sega CD, Neo-Geo, Sega Saturn, Sega Dream Cast, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Game Cube, Nintendo 360, Nintendo Wii, Playstation, PS1, 2 and 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advanced, Nintendo DS, PSP etc.

Well needless to say our parents went through plenty of dollars trying to upgrade me and my brother's game systems year by year as the video game industry advanced. However, this particular memory stands out in my video game history. Gameboy was one of the game systems I mentioned that I just had to have. I remember convincing my grandmother during the course of an entire summer in Chicago to get me one right before going back home to California.

Unfortunately, not too long after going back home to Cali I remember being at the park with my brother and Grandfather John (as mentioned in the blog "The Grandadiest of Them All" June 13, 2008). For some reason I chose to bring my Gameboy, which I had begged and pleaded my grandmother for, to the park with me. And instead of giving it to my grandfather to hold I chose I chose to sit it down for what I thought was nothing more than a minute to 5 minutes at max. And as I went back for it, of course it was gone. As my son said "someone stole it." I'm sure just as he did, I wanted to call the police 9-1-1. But after looking all over the park with my brother and finding nothing I recall going to my grandfather John. Well in true grandfather John fashion he said something similar to this "well Cory (Curry as he could me) if you sat your shit down what did you expect? That's why you gotta keep up with your shit." Well with that statement I knew I need not search anymore and that my beloved Gameboy was forever gone. Having been hurt and upset I simply left with a lesson of "don't sit your shit down." And don't ask me how but I guess it somehow still holds true to this day. Lol. Although that's the one major video game story that comes to mind, believe me there are plenty others. Ask me later to estimate how much money I believe was spent playing Street Fighter II in arcades (but that's another story in itself).

In closing, I believe the innocence of child hood is one of the greatest feelings in the world. I mean to be able to learn, discover, and grow in life on a daily basis is extraordinary. Even greater than that, is to know that if you get it wrong you still have an opportunity to figure it out. Honestly, there are so many aspects to my childhood that I can reflect upon, but these particular points come to mind at the moment. So, make sure you check back there could be a part 2 coming soon.

C-Recks Out!!!

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