No Next Time



When I was a kid, my dad would let me sit on the riding lawn mower with him as he cut the grass. By the time I got to middle school, I was too big to ride with him, but I’d done it for years. At the mature age of twelve, he finally let me drive it myself. I felt a big sense of responsibility. I was intimidated by the machine, but I thought I could probably handle it. Well, I wasn’t sure I could handle it, but I thought I should definitely try. That’s the story of my life.

I made a couple loops around the yard successfully but then things took a turn for the worst. We had a fence around our yard and a smaller portion of fence that separated an area for my dog to use while we were away from home.

After my initial triumph, I somehow veered off path. I was heading straight for a portion of the fence that met the exterior of our house. In my panic, I couldn’t figure out how to steer or slow down. I had no control over my body or the mower. All I could do was stare into the impending doom and prepare myself for inevitable disaster. My dad saw it going down and, with only minor panic, ran over. He got to me before I took the fence down or smashed into the brick wall, but not before I crushed a few posts.

He said, “Well, that’s enough of that.” I was not allowed to drive the mower again. I’d like to think I learned a lesson that day, but I don’t know what it was. I still “fake it til I make it” with most of my just-out-of-reach goals and I stand by that mantra. Maybe it was that my dad has my back. Or maybe it was that I’m just not meant for hard labor, which is a lesson I’ll carry with me forever.

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