Please welcome author Stephen Geez to today’s special edition blog! I just added “Been There, Noted That: Essays in Tribute to Life” to my Kindle. Having already read his book “Papala Skies”–I’m excited! Here is Stephen:
4 Wills “Been There, Going Again” Blog Tour, Stephen Geez
Greetings, supporters! Welcome to the fifth stop on my 4WillsPublishing Blog Tour celebrating the re-issue of my memoir-shorts, Been There, Noted That: Essays in Tribute to Life. It has updated cover, new graphics, new book trailer, and now a first-ever jacketed hardcover edition. The book’s ruminations range from light and humorous to heartbreakingly poignant, but all spring from my own experiences. Thanks for visiting, trying this sample, and commenting!
Essay by Stephen Geez
Yes, the dreaded soaker.
My early elementary years found me living at the edge of civilization, short tracts of housing plowed through virgin woods, the walk to school punctuated by construction, unfinished roads, myriad excavations, ponds and culverts and all manner of ad hoc standing water, plus our favorite: wide-open ditches. These would freeze and form ersatz skating rinks, lengthy stretches of smooth ice ideal for daredevil sliding, easy and accessible and fun without the danger of drownable depths.
Sure, most kids tended to stay on the path, stick to the walkway, follow the signs—and here I must specify that this type tended to be, well, the girls—but when the greatest risk is but a mere soaker, how can the exuberance of youth dare let so minor a nuisance dampen such thrills?
I recall managing to go for a long time without a soaker. I’d see others earn one in those instants of foot breaking through ice, a leg sliding over the edge, fruitless flailing while water taunts from the nadir of an unplanned slippery slope’s slide. Yes, somebody would inevitably step where no child was meant to step—whoosh, swish, slop, shoe waterlogged, sock sopping, pants wicking water toward thigh-land, and suddenly that way-cool-if-clunky boot would transform from friend to enemy, its dry twin mocking the loser in all its sanctimonious hauteur of proper use. One of those boots could fill with water instantly, leaving the hapless adventurer no easy way to empty it, especially in the suddenly so-much-colder winter freeze.
So the victim of a good snicker-worthy soaker would trudge to high ground and drain as much as possible. If the next stop was school, he would earn a disapproving sigh from the teacher and titters from a few of the dry kids, then have to suffer the awkward discomfort of squish-stepping his way to the very seat under which a puddle would eventually collect, his wrinkly foot wet until time to pull on the betraying boot and head home.
Now, any child in danger of suffering one of these soakers could have carried a small sack with a change of pants and footwear, but nobody at that tender age plans so far ahead. And who really expects to wind up in such an unexpected predicament?
Well, scuba divers do, and skydivers, too. So do hikers and boaters and bikers and climbers and all the adventurers who anticipate needing spare air or extra hoses or reserve chutes or another coil of rope or glue-patches or first-aid kits . . .
And who doesn’t expect any chance of predicament? Those who have no business getting behind the wheel, people saving money on substandard equipment, reckless souls who think life preservers are too much hassle. Worse, these types are often known for talking friends into joining them for that proverbial slide across the cracked ice, people who ought to know better but too often don’t.
See, grown-ups understand that having fun often means something can possibly conceivably worst-case potentially inexplicably go, well, you know, wrong. No matter how many times we step into it, no matter how much we depend on the water to fall just below the tops of our boots, that simply won’t always be the case. Complacency is no excuse, whether borne of experience, false bravado, or an ingrained pattern of habitual miscalculation. Sometimes it’s sheer luck that we manage to avoid a soaker, or even a long series of good-lucks that keep saving us, but sometimes that luck simply runs out.
Some say we should never take a chance, never chase the fun, never even need to wear the boots. Just stay home, they say, the world is a dangerous place. They plop themselves in front of that television plugged into a tangled mass of sparking extension cords, smoke-detector batteries long dead, extinguishers languishing unbought on store shelves, loved ones never having developed a plan for escaping fire.
I say slide down any ditch that’s shallow. Carry a change of clothes if the water’s just a bit deeper. When it’s so deep you might fall through, use the good sense of a smart ice fisherman who monitors conditions, takes ice samples, wears the right outfit, carries the needed gear, and pre-plans all manner of rescue contingencies.
I have another bit of advice, too: Know where the tops of your boots are.
I did get a soaker once, and it caught me completely by surprise. Still, I survived an awkward foot-squishy day, and though I’ll never know for sure, I suspect it might have played some small part in keeping me healthy all these years since.
So get out, enjoy life, and indulge your childlike sense of adventure. Yeah, soakers can be a drag, but if they really get you down, buy bigger boots.
Or simply change your perspective. Remember, if that’s the worst the world brings your way . . .
Well, sometimes a soaker can be part of the fun.
Author Bio: Writer, editor, publisher, TV producer, music composer, entrepreneur and more, Stephen Geez has long honed a keen eye for the foibles of human nature. His writing since taking undergrad and grad degrees at Michigan includes novels and short stories in various genres from literary to mystical adventure, non-fiction covering academic to how-to, commercial arts spanning corporate training to consumer advertising, and web-based content including the collections at StephenGeez.com and GeezWriter.com. Easing gingerly into his second half-century, he can’t hop, skip, or jump like the old days, but he never stops noticing and taking notes.
Prizes up for grabs… (Visit the 4WillsPublishing website for more details!)
*For each day: 1 hardcover edition of Been There, Note That.
*During the entire tour: $25 Amazon card.
This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.
Thank you for dropping by! D.L. Finn