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A lair is a home; A castle; A burrow; A haven; a place where one should feel safe. To ensure our safety especially in one's lair, we have laws. And some laws cause more harm than good!

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January 21, 2011

RITE OF PASSAGE - Part Eleven - Pursuing the Dream

Dreams and Reality, quite the combination!

With few friends growing up, and "the underdog" to those I had, I was operating on level 2 self-esteem. 10 being ideal.

I see signs these days, newspaper articles and school billboards announcing "Understanding Bullying".

Ironic. Since age 5 I was bullied. I can still remember, age 6 maybe, crossing the road to "see" my neighborhood, stranger, to me. His name was mike T. And we got into a fight, and he rubbed my face in the dirt. I lost. Have no idea why, or why?

Then, getting older, i had neighborhood friends, very good friends, but when in a group, I was the underdog ( which puts it quite well).

Those days were a dream. Age 4 - 8... constant exploring... walking miles, anywhere, alone. Parks woods, and later, age 13, hunting with childhood friends, never killing deer, but we did get some ducks. Hunted age 13 -16, then things changed. Again.

Hunting ended. Focusing on graduating HS took priority. Women were not in my life, or at that age girls... sex was not even something I really knew existed. Naive.

Age 16 through 19 remain vague... mostly working, at a dept store and planning my exodus from parents and home.

Come age 20 I believe things started to assemble itself.

Two years of community college was a "no go". I was majoring in electronic technology ( before home computers were even dreamed about). My parents were paying my tuition, and by the third term i wanted out - about age 19.

On a dreary, rainy night I said "good-bye, I love you", to my parents, in bed, and they were very nonchalant about it. As I was driving to my new apartment, I considered that a good sign. I was off to new beginnings, I had ideas and most important dreams. But I knew it might be impossible. I'd grown up the under-dog, the excluded, the bullied for 8 years, unless you add the original bully incident with Mike T., age 6.

But that dreary, rainy night was perfect. I arrived at my new home, a room on the second floor of a rebuilt horse-barn, at the edge of the college campus. There were two large apartments downstairs, and 5 rooms upstairs, bathroom, and kitchen. We all used cannabis, plus other substances... we had fun together, and I made friends.

I switched my major to Liberal Arts, dropping the technology, and wanted to write. I sold my car, a 1969 Ford Mustang, I bought a bike.

Said it before, a sci-fi book I got as a present at age 8, "R is for Rocket", by Ray Bradbury, was key to my future... a short-story within it called "Frost and Fire", set my goal.

In the story, the humans live on the planet Mercury, survivors of a manned expedition of the planet. They somehow made emergency landings, saving the ships, but ultimately they had to abandon the ships, survive a near death run to some caves and from there, those that survived multiplied. Two primary problems.

Ultimately the caves the survivors lived in were too small to support the growing population. They divided... exiled to caves lower down the mountains, where the protection from the Sun's radiation was more acute. After an undisclosed time, though hinted as 100, 200 years, the two societies were enemies, though they rarely met. The environment of Mercury gave them half an hour at best, morning and night to wander outside, and enjoy a sudden plume of flowers and plants.

One other vital effect of living on Mercury. In that 100 - 200 year span, those in the lower caves were born, grew up, became adults, parents, and grandparents all within 7 days. Those in the upper valley, lived ten days.

The hero of the story is named Sim. And around age 8, second day after birth, he hears rumor that there are "scientists" still living and searching for an answer, to end the suffering. Mostly they are laughed at, and said to be a myth.

Sim by day 3 is already planning and trying to find where the "scientists" are. And he gets a break... he finds them. Deeper in the caves his aging slows some, so he spends time taking in decades of history in hours... and discovers that two space-ships are intact, and located some mile away, very close, from the upper caves.

Sim lives in the lower caves. Nearly half an hour from the upper caves. Only one way he can move there, and that is challenge a resident to a duel... a fight to the death, winner takes refuge.

Along the way he meets his soul-mate, nice touch. Wins the duel in the blazing hot afternoon sun, and he and his lover move into their new cave and gain 3 extra days of life. Time to plan.

I did pretty much the same. The story became my guide in my early 20's... I had little time... by age 24 I needed a life-plan.

I had a lot to do ahead... but on that rainy, dreary night I moved out on my own... I was ready to build my life.

Next Time Brass Tacks...

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