Times I’ve Played The Fool


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This is a phrase my father would use to let us know when things hadn’t gone as he’d intended – when he’d stuck his foot in his mouth or goofed up some way or another.  As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and we all have to handle it when life doesn’t go as we’d planned.

In the 80s, after Reaganomics had decimated us financially and Mark and I felt like failures, my father took the time to write down a number of these TIMES HE’D PLAYED THE FOOL – he put them in a collection he called “Celebrations Of Failure” – but after living with them for a while, he truncated the title to “Celebrations” – somehow, looking back at those times from a distance of 20 or 30 years had softened the blow and he didn’t mind remembering how he’d taken the family out shopping, gotten a flat tire, started jacking up the car IN THE SNOW, with all his daughters laughing at him because HE WAS CHANGING THE WRONG TIRE! , for example.

Well, I’ve had a few best-laid plans of my own go awry over the years.  8 years ago we sold our house in California and moved here – to Oro Valley, actually, since our house in Vail hadn’t been built yet.  One day shortly after we’d moved, I read in the newspaper about a woman who had trained for 3 months to walk a half-marathon in the Tucson marathon in December – and in the process, she’d dropped 80 pounds!  Well, that sounded wonderful to me – so I investigated, talked Mark into joining me and together we signed up to do the same!  There was a shoe store sponsoring the training only a mile from the house we were renting, so we went, got fancy walking shoes and began training!

This being the desert, we took our water bottles, to stay hydrated – left the dogs behind and started off!  It was September, so it was still pretty warm during the day, and we both BURN rather than TAN in the sun, so we decided to do our training at night.  One mile – no problem!  Two miles…  piece o’ cake!  Three miles… now we’re getting somewhere!

It gets pretty dark after the sun goes down, and Rancho Vistoso was still under construction, but we made our way – adding a half-mile every few days to our training schedule.  We were out later and later – and there wasn’t ANY commercial place open at the hours when we were walking.

The longer our walks, the more I would REALLY need to pee by the time we got home!!  6 miles… 6-and-a-half miles…. 7 miles….  We were starting to make real progress, but it was killing my bladder!    Every night we’d be out there, though!

7-and-a-half-miles…. we just pushed on through.

Then there was the night we had scheduled to walk 8 miles.  8 miles around the Rancho Vistoso loop.  In the dark.  With nowhere to GO!!!

We were headed home and I just couldn’t hold it any longer.  We desperately looked around for a bush, a tree, ANYTHING….

Then we saw the bench.  It was out in the open, under a streetlight, but I needed a place to SIT to relieve my poor bladder – and there was no one around – no cars going by – nothing.  Mark said he’d stand guard so… I did it.  I pulled down my drawers, sat on the bench and began to pee.

IMMEDIATELY two cars appeared!  Mark said, “whoops!”  I started laughing.  And then I lost my balance and fell backwards onto the spot where I had just let loose – only it was covered in brambles and twigs, so in addition to getting my behind all wet, I got scraped up, too!

There’s no way you can prepare for something like that.  Especially when you still have another 2 miles to walk to get home!

Times I’ve played the fool.

May 2012


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