I used to be invincible.
I didn’t know it at the time. Well, that’s not entirely true. I didn’t actively come to the realization that I was invincible at the time. I certainly knew it enough to act the part.
When was I invincible? In college, of course.
I suppose an example is in order. On Villanova’s campus, there is a… I don’t actually know what the hell it is. I imagine the best word is sculpture. It’s named “The Oreo” due to its black and white coloring and large circular appearance. It’s basically two large disks, stood on their side, each roughly 10 feet in height. There is a gap about a foot wide between them. And despite Tony’s best efforts, no, it’s not made of chocolate and no, you can’t eat it.
One drunken night on campus (that’s probably redundant, I think the exception to the rule would be “one sober night on campus”) we were stumbling around from dorm to dorm. We passed the Oreo and decided to get a picture. Standing in front of it was too easy. I also think there were girls around, which would explain why the picture wasn’t the handful of us air humping various sides of it (the guys reading this will understand that). So we decided to climb up and sit on top.
This is getting wordy, so I’ll cut to the chase. I stood between the two disks and propped myself up on the back one. Bring both drunk and clumsy, I slipped forward off of it. The front of my chin hit the top of the front disk. I hit high enough on the disk that my nose didn’t even hit it. Why do I point that out with that much detail? Because if I had fallen no more than an inch further, I’d have shattered the better portion of my teeth against the front half of the Oreo.
At the time, I didn’t think of that possibility. There was no risk. Hell, there was no thinking. Just do.
I came to this realization the other day while walking on campus. I was bundled up in a t-shirt, button down, hooded sweatshirt (hood up), coat, and hat. I was still freezing my ass off. On my way to the lab, however, I looked over at Mendel field and noticed two students playing frisbee. They were in jeans and long sleeve t-shirts. That’s it.
They had no concept of how cold it was, nor any concern for the repercussions. I, meanwhile, have been sick nearly the entire time since I’ve teaching. Thankfully, I dodged the brutal stomach virus that almost caused campus to be shut down (I’m not exaggerating about that either). But the fact remains, I now feel the cold on campus. I never did before.
I used to be invincible. I miss those days.