Saturday, August 12, 2006

My Initiation

Freezing rain. I'm 14 years old and soaked to the bone, the wind is blowing through my wet clothes, my teeth are chattering, every part of my body moves stiff and slow I'm so cold.

I'm kneeling beside the big tent we just finished putting up, the canvas flaps are being whipped by the wind and hitting me in the face. I'm holding a stake upright on the cold cement, waiting for the sledge hammer and that dull metalic "thud" as metal meets metal.

I'm scared, terrified, the boss tells me not flinch, or look. He yells above the howl of the wind that if I do he'll end up "shattering my fucking hands". That's exactly the way he puts it.

I hold the stake straight and look away, in that moment I learn to focus, the ability never leaves me, to this day I can still focus in any crisis while I watch others fall apart.

From that day forward I held the stakes while the boss windmilled that sledge hammer, I never flinched and he never missed.

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