We would meet in the parking lot of Wheaton Woods pool and decorate our cars with black and orange streamers. The chill of the early morning air was nothing compared to the wall of water we would soon be launching in to as we strived to sweep the field with blue ribbons. Someone would be playing our team song on the single front speaker of their 1970’s station wagon loud enough for the entire parking lot to hear. The Eye of the Tiger. Survivor’s finest song. For years that tune started the adrenaline that would carry me toward victory, which manifest as a ribbon in hand at McDonalds on any given Saturday during the summers of my childhood. What I took for granted was the fact that Dave Bickler wasn’t singing about Elvira, the Queen of Darkness, at any point in his illustrious career. Instead, he was singing about ‘our rivals’. I suppose it made a lot more sense for him to be singing in generalities rather than specifically focusing in on a single figurehead of Halloween, but for years and years, I conjured her image while I waited for the gunshot on the blocks. ‘Rising up to the challenge of Elvira’ rather than ‘Rising up to the challenge of our rivals’ shaped my entire perception of sport and competition during the most formative years of my life. I was going to beat that scantily clad mistress of the dark no matter what!
I’m pretty sure that I have some undiagnosed learning disability that allows me to find and replace rational thought with an Elvira narrative. I think it lives in the same part of my brain that can’t spell, or formulate sentences into grammatically correct arrangements. I am an enemy to those who are sticklers for proper grammar. They think I’m ignorant, and aloof to the strict written rules of the English language. And in todays world, where 93% of communication happens through fingers on a device, coming across as an educated scientist is a real struggle when you read over your/you’re typo’s a few times before hitting send, only to realize afterward that you racked up a bunch of incoherent sentences to someone you have no relationship with. ß See that? It’s a sentence ending in a proposition, ENDING IN A PROPOSITION! Ok, It’s a preposition, but I only just realized that after furiously typing the previous sentence. I can come up with a hypothesis to explain results fresh off the columns, but man, do I find the English language vexing.
In the end, I think I get my point across just fine. I am pretty sure that no one questions what it is that I actually mean. I hope like hell that people can see through the many oops’ of my writings to see my intentions, what motivates me, what I’d give my life for, how deeply I love, how intensely I want to help everyone who has been handed anything but flowers in this world.
I guess I can do all of those things with my heart and still have room to fight Elvira. Write?