Was it the fish oil or the walnuts that gave me away, or was the program on public television about how to strengthen the brain itself to blame for my undoing? If I knew then what I know now about juggling, might I have continued watching, or simply changed channels?
All things considered, after fifty-four years one does not generally have great expectations for change, or for much else than perhaps running out the clock with a splash of dignity and dash of grace.
Which reminds me of Joan Prescott. For those of you who attended Wilmington High School in Western Ohio in the early 1980s, you will surely remember Joanie. Think of the girl next door with a step up in bra size and a lot more class than your average pom-pom giggler. Big blue eyes and soft, milky pink complexion, full lips, comforting hips, coils of thick chestnut hair that caressed her shoulders and an uncommonly innocent smile.
We’d been up in her bedroom talking about why she was applying to Syracuse University when we heard her brother’s car pull into the driveway. After seeing each other only a few times, she wanted me to meet her pre-med brother in their kitchen, not in her bedroom. We started down the carpeted stairs, and in a not too aggressive gesture, I dropped my right arm over her right shoulder.
She turned, her eyes flashing a hail of anger sprinkled with disappointment. Then she slapped me. Not hard. I had never been slapped before. I didn’t like it.