So I was out at my folks’ land, and my dad and I were heading back to the cabin after having tromped through some woods, using our machetes to blaze a trail. As we were heading down the road, I turned to my dad and said, “We should see if we can stick our machetes in that tree.”
If you ask why, you are very possibly my wife.
I was about 20 feet away. I cocked the machete back, brought my arm forward and let it fly. Thwooonggggg! Right into the tree. I. Am. Awesome.
But thank goodness I had a witness. Because if you don’t have a witness to an awesome event, it’s like it didn’t even happen.
Case in point: A while back, I opened a cabinet door to get a plate. When I opened the door, I saw a blue and white flash from the top.
On the top shelf is where we keep the coffee mugs that go with the china we got when we were married.
We rarely use these mugs, because there really aren’t a lot of times we need a dozen matching coffee mugs. But they live up there happily, awaiting the time they are called into service.
Over time, one of the mugs had inched its way toward the edge, as lonely coffee mugs are wont to do. And it jumped.
It tumbled off the shelf, spinning toward certain demise on the kitchen counter. At just the perfect moment, I thrust my hand out and caught the mug, an inch above the counter, saving it from certain shattering demise. It was, without a doubt, a very cool move.
I turned around to give that sly look of awesomeness that one does when he does an Indiana Jones-style cool move. And I was greeted with an empty kitchen.
No one was there. No one saw my cool move. There was no one there to sit in awe of just how incredibly suave and game-saving I was.
You may think it’s petty. But most guys long for that Tony Stark-style cool moment – the witty comeback, the hyper-reflex grab, the smooth sidestep of danger – that takes you out of being ordinary you and puts you into movie-style coolness that, quite frankly, makes your day a little better. So when something happens and there is no air of adulation to bask in, you feel as if the whole thing was for naught. “Might as well of let the mug crash into a thousand pieces,” I thought. I mean, what’s the point of doing something that cool if no one is there to see it?
Prior to my machete greatness, my greatest witnessed moment involved darts. A few years back, I was visiting Tuscaloosa with a college friend of mine. We were fraternity brothers there and returned to campus as old married guys looking to wax nostalgic on our glory days in college.
We were soaking in the past in one of our favorite haunts. We sat at a table near a dart board. At the dart board were two sorority sisters playing possibly the worst game of darts every played by human beings. The fact that no nearby patrons were injured is amazing.
After about the 15th rogue throw that came nowhere near the dart board, I made some snide comment to the women, letting them know that the point of the game was to actually hit the board. She stopped in her tracks, looked me square in the eye, and extended a dart. “You do it, then,” she said.
I looked over at my friend. We were pretty much too far down the road to back down now. And he gave me a look that said, “Do this well, or I will give you grief until the end of time.”
I casually stood up, took the dart from her hand and said, “Waddya want? Bullseye?”
“Sure,” she said.
I raised the dart eye level, pulled back and delivered the finest dead-center bullseye strike you could ever throw. “There you go,” I said, sitting down and taking a sip off my beer.
I turned back to my friend and resumed my conversation, trying my best to quell my inner THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!
My friend leaned in and said, “Why couldn’t you have done that kind of thing before we had wives?”
The machete and the dart will forever be two of the greatest moments of my life. Yes, career and children and a fairly spotless driving record are nice things to hang your hat on. But none of those bring out the singular awesomeness that is normally crafted by screenwriters.
But the best part of it is when there are witnesses who can vouch for your smooth move.
Sure, it’s ego driven. But we all need a little massaging now and again. I am sure there will be other cool things I do in my life. You can’t plan for them. They just have to happen organically.
I just hope, next time, someone is there to verify it for me. For one thing, I can’t open my cabinets any more without someone in the kitchen watching.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken and is a graduate of the University of Alabama.