The summer of 1976 was a big one for me.
Our historical town was celebrating the bi centennial with any number of staged battles at our real battlefield with men dressed in heavy woolen uniforms and muskets. The whole place was ablaze with patriotism and cannon fire.
As far as we were concerned it was the most boring thing in the entire world.
For us it was the summer of trying to “get knocked out”.
Earlier on, during the final days of the school year we had all been standing on the precipice overlooking one of the local schools smaller fields when a breathless and shrieking classmate had rocketed over to our group with news.
“DID YOU HEAR?!”
We all turned to listen to what this unhinged youngster needed to tell us.
“PATTY M. WAS STANDING NEAR THE SWINGS AND SOMEONE THREW A ROCK THAT HIT HER RIGHT HERE!”
He pointed to the space between his eyebrow and his eye.
“Wow, did she go to the nurse?”
“NO, HER DAD PICKED HER UP AND TOOK HER TO THE HOSPITAL BUT GUESS WHAT THAT’S NOT THE BEST PART! WHEN SHE GOT HIT IN THE HEAD SHE GOT KNOCKED OUT COLD!!!”
Lightbulbs went off over each small head standing there, temporarily blinding us and everyone near to the group.
What could be MORE awesome than getting knocked unconscious?
This was how legends were made and nothing proved our point more effectively than the rock star status Patty M. attained when she walked back through the doors of the school.
Cheering crowds, hushed whispers of reverence and awe as she passed you in the lunch room.
Stories of her fight for life in the emergency room that got more overblown and grandiose each time a new person told them.
“Dude, I heard they had to put her on life support and gouge out her eye to replace it with a new one!”
“Oh yeah, I heard that’s not even her. The rumor is she died and that’s a pod person.”
“She’s totally blind, but it’s so awesome that she got knocked out”
What was it like, this mysterious plane of consciousness attained only by the recently concussed or near dying?
We were determined to find out.
Spending the better part of the next six months trying to bludgeon ourselves unconscious using various questionable methods was exhausting.
Making a ramp to fly our bikes over rocks and sticks and old tires didn’t work.
Tripping each other when it was least expected only resulted in the loss of some teeth and a sprained wrist.
Pushing each other backwards while sitting in a chair (parents always said if you tipped and fell you would get knocked out. LIE) was unsuccessful.
A few of us tried to pretend that we had actually gotten knocked out in a pitiful deceitful act of desperation when it seemed that we would never manage to reach this goal. It was a new low for us. Faking it.
There was no dare too outrageous or risk we weren’t willing to take to get knocked out, but it never happened for us.
Tragically our dream was snuffed out by the cruel mistress, self-preservation.