God Bless the Boy Scouts of America...
God Bless the Boy Scouts of America and It Is Possible to Enlighten a “Village Idiot” and Make Him Feel Honored
One’s small (somewhat of little significance) life events or decisions/enterprises at an early age can be a saving-grace later in one’s existence. I was 17 years young and on top of the world living “the life of Riley” in the 70s (way above my pay scale, may perhaps be an appropriate insertion here). Dating, playing hockey and (in a very indirect trivial pursuit) going to secondary school to someday in the far-off future maybe think about going to college for some unknown reason. Although my chronological age was 17; I propose my mental age was 12 or 13 (maybe less, especially if you ask my sister). My parents understood this; however, they allowed me to drive (obviously it was their fault or am I externalizing the blame once again?). I simply am (the idiot).
My brilliant father William (Wild Bill) Connor, (God rest his soul, he passed on in March of 1983), two months previous had bought my first car for me. “Man” was it beautiful! My Fleece was a beautiful 350-4 barrel all gold (sporty) hard top (two – door) skylark. I called it my Golden Fleece (i.e. flying ram even though it was a Buick). Man did it fly, a 350 - 4 barrel with a relatively light body (need I say more, I am bragging…). I could go on and on. After owning the Fleece for 2 months I thought it was due-time to street-race my friend’s significantly inferior olive-ugly green mustang (for nothing more than pride-no pink slips required we were “good” friends). We raced down Grandview Avenue in Thornhill, Ontario. There was a mile-stretch with only two (stop) signs (trivial fact; that is, before my crash).
I the village idiot of that particular day (come to think of it, maybe a few others-those are stories for later) agreed to race the lesser of two idiots. We didn’t make it through the first stop sign; well I should say I and my Golden Fleece didn’t…I intercepted another bigger car quite nicely (side swiping the drivers-side with damage to, I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, two quarter panels and the front fender). Although the fleece was still gold it could no longer fly and I thank God my girlfriend was not with me (for that matter anyone)… Although I must add, I was far from “out of the woods” yet.
Quickly after impact I spotted a large lumbering biped (could it be the megafauna cryptid, simply referred to the mythical thump, thump, thump, Sasquatch)? NO (something worse)! As “it” got closer I noticed that his choice of sport that day was baseball (he had a bat and it wasn’t a mammal) and although I engaged in the infamous debate (flight vs. fight) for some unknown reason I stayed to “dance” with this approximate 300 lbs of muscle 6 foot 4” fullback of our high school football team (Thornhill Secondary Tigers) named “Bruiser” Bruce (Roscyki) and he was armed with a bat! Your mind does associate quickly and automatically, BINGO, once a link to an earlier event (in your mind) is found; you act upon it. I immediately shouted SORRY! Bru…thank God for this and the ultimate fact that several years before (4 or 5) I happened to be in scouts with Dave and Bruce Roscyki; this would prove to be my saving grace or more profoundly my moment of great and I mean wonderful pathos. He recognized me just before he was going to swing. He stopped and yelled CONNOR! WHAT THE “H_E _ DOUBLE hockey sticks” (his profanity did not encompass two hockey sticks) are you doing! I babbled something (I cannot remember what it was). The outcome was set and apparent. There was no need for a “dance”. Thank God for the Boy Scouts of America! I would have lost the “dance” for two reasons. One, he was older, bigger and stronger. Two, I was guilty not Bruiser…When you are guilty it is difficult to avoid punishment.
The police arrived and Bruiser Bruce (a Saint as far as I am concerned) didn’t inform the “boys in blue” that we were racing (there is a God). I enthusiastically informed the police that it was my fault and that I “ran” the stop sign and begged forgiveness. They went about the business of accidents and then I started worrying about the next critical issue, my confession to my father; I had already accepted the fact that it was back to life with a bicycle (even through the season referred to as miserable winter). I wasn’t worried about my mother I knew she would only focus on injuries (there were none).
They had towed the once proud golden fleece back to our drive-way; there was no way or reason to hide it. It simply would receive justifiable pathos from my father, be centered in the ensuing shouts and would eventually disappear but never forgotten (I had just supplied an enormous amount of ammo for future heated debates with dad (What an idiot I am).
I was not prepared for what was to come. I felt like the Japanese at Midway. My father didn’t shout (I gave my mother credit, I was wrong again…). The Golden Fleece was gone (quietly) and within a week there was another used car in our driveway. It was dark blue with a vinyl black roof it had 4 small doors and looked okay (I may add it was much better than my bicycle). By the way it was a Valliant Signet 1968. I was speechless maybe just maybe this was just a small and insignificant “bump in the road.” Could this really be happening; this is the same tough Sergeant who navigated bombers during WW II…
With his infinite wisdom he approached the young recruit (me) with his eyes fixed on the car’s hood and explained the engine to me. This appeared like his normal procedure/briefing (not unlike what he did for the long forgotten Golden Fleece). My father began, John I have decided to give you another car and he explained that I (John) was not ready for the skylark and that he should have known better. He was accepting blame-I stopped him and said dad, no it was my fault no one else’s fault, you should not be placing any blame on yourself! He had elicited pathos from me. I was beginning to volunteer the truth; was he using “truth” serum from his WW II days? What was happening? I eventually added some details about how stupid the caper (racing) was. He just listened as I spewed off the details. He let me talk. This is a technique that effective psychologists employ. When I finished confessing he added that he did indeed find the perfect car for me. Dad opened the hood, the engine was small, and it did not fill the compartment. He began to “hum off” all of the particulars, slant 6 engine (6 cylinders that is) easy to maintain and fix…
I will never forget his last or culminating sentence. He simply emphasized, John it would not be in your best interest to try to pass or speed bye anyone with this engine; you will not have enough time. I accepted (gratefully) my engine down-sizing and was ecstatic about my situation. It was truly a Win-Win event for both parties and we even became closer as a result.