I was a tenacious child. If I wanted to figure out how to do something, or how a thing worked, I wouldn’t stop until I had it figured out. Especially with video games and bike tricks as a boy, then juggling as a teen. And finally writing as an adult.
You might be thinking to yourself “Oh, I’ve seen tenacious children before. How bad could this Oz guy have been.” Every babysitter ran in fear and my older siblings still shudder when they recall what I was like. Not because I was terribly behaved, which I totally was, but because they were in a constant state of fear for my life. Nothing scared me. I climbed six foot fences to roam the neighborhood when I was still in diapers. Wait, that’s not true. I was technically supposed to be in diapers, but apparently, I was a bit of a nudist as well as a daredevil. Here is a quick tip (I’ll have a lot of theses, so pay attention) never, and I mean NEVER scale a six foot wooden fence without your diaper…..maybe I should say pants instead….whatever. What I’m getting at here is, make sure to protect your dangly bits from splinters. If you learn nothing else from me, let it be that. Don’t get splinters on your dick. YOU WILL NOT FORGET IT!!
Ok, back to the tenacity thing (but seriously, splinters…dick…don’t to it.) The longest I’ve ever lived in one place, other than where I do now, was when I lived near Downtown Fresno. I was there about three years. The house had empty lots on either side, one of which had a tree. I had a love hate relationship with that thing. I loved to climb it, and loved that it had a treehouse, nothing more than a floor and simple walls, but it was a palace of solitude at times. I hated that it had long, wispy branches, otherwise known to my step-mom, as switches. When I was in trouble I got to pick which branch she was going to teach me with. It was like she was using my best friend to punish me.
Anyway, one day my older brother and step-brother wouldn’t let me in the treehouse. I got so mad that I picked up a rock and threw it up at them, not even coming close to my mark. This is where the tenacity begins to come in. I found that same rock, a chunk of red brick really, walked closer, and tried again. Still not even close. Once again with the same piece of brick. It no longer had anything to do with hitting my brothers. Now is was about getting that rock to do what I wanted, which was to clear the side of the treehouse. I threw as hard as I could. The brick, in slow motion I swear, climbed to the sky, and with a soft *clunk* bounced off the wall. Right back at me. With a not so soft *crack* it hit me right in the top of my head. With blood running into my eyes, I ran crying home.
Now here is where the tenacity REALLY comes in. The next day I found that same brick again. And like Vincent Schiavelli would eventually tell Patrick Swayze in Ghost (that’s right, another Pat Swayze reference. What? He was big in the 80’s) “You gotta take all your emotions, all your anger, all your love, all your hate, and push it waaaaay down here into the pit of your stomach, and then let it explode like a reactor! Pow!”
And I did. I took my love of the tree, my hate of the switch, and I pushed it way down, and POW! I threw the rock over the wall.
What’s better, my brother was up there and I hit him. I nailed the bastard.
Who in turn tossed the rock back and hit me in the same damn spot on my head. Que blood, crying, running home….
And you know what? I threw the rock over the wall the next day too, after checking to see if my brother was up there of course.
Anyway, thanks for reading.