I used to think I was good in a crisis. That if push came to shove I’d be able to take charge, make great emergency decisions and save the day in a clear headed, Captain America way.
Yesterday, we visited Diana’s family out in the suburbs. It was a mini family reunion featuring a dozen adults, gaggle of iPhone absorbed teens and four little people under the age of 8.
At one point, the four little people were trying to track and kill a fox on the premises. I watched Diana’s little brother, who I will forever view as 26 years old, go out to help them search.
A half hour later, Diana’s older sister announced that the kids were missing. Were they in the TV room? Nope. Were they in the backyard? Nope. Were they in the front yard or visible in the massive field across the street? Nope. Uh oh.
This would have been a good time for my brain to remind me and the rest of the family that the kids were with Diana’s brother and that they were fine, off on an adventure. But my brain was on vacation in this crisis.
The parental vibe got a little panicky and we spread out to go yell at the missing kids.
As we yelled, a woman walked by and said, “Are you looking for four little kids?”
Yes. Yes we were.
“Oh, they walked away with an older gentleman. He said he was going to show them some spiders under the bridge.”
Instead of my brain speaking up and saying, “Oh yeah. That older gentlemen was Mike. Who you just saw playing with the kids, dummy,” it completely shut down and went into screaming panic mode.
Older gentleman? Bridge? Spiders? My mind became occupied with the end of my life as I knew it. Of hastily made posters and pleading on local news and the eventual made for TV movie and me basically becoming the new host of “America’s Most Wanted.” My brain simply stopped working rationally and every instinct I had was to curl up into a ball and wait for the sweet release of death.
Diana and my brother in law Jamie went into destroy mode. They began running towards the bridge with the expressed purpose of murdering this spidery older gentleman.
Thankfully, after 25 long seconds of screaming, the children came bounding down a nearby hill, full of joy and innocence kept. Diana attacked them with threats and motherly yelling.
Mike, who looked genuinely confused by all the fuss, said, “Rick saw me walking with them. What is the problem?”
My brain was still in revolt. Devoid of all information pertinent to the situation. It was a vacuum. A black hole. I simply muttered, “Fox…children…America’s Most Wanted…”
All was well in the end and we made an official family rule that moms and dads need to know where you are at all time and Elijah and Luca seemed genuinely confused by the whole thing.
I sadly walked back to the party to continue murdering my brain with Sam Adams Boston Lager.