Saturday Rhode Islander’s celebrated their second annual “Do-Over” day, a day established by the governor for locals to forget all about the problems, ruined plans and disappointments brought about by the heavy snowfall and chilly temperatures of winter, and go and do all the things they were unable to do this past winter. Fun things like going out to lunch or dinner, going to a movie, shopping or maybe bowling. It sounds like a pretty cool idea doesn’t it? If nothing else, it’s a great way to stimulate the local economy.
I have to say, the concept of a ‘do-over’ is intriguing, who wouldn’t like a second chance to re-do events from our past. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to go back and do something over again that didn’t turn out right the first time around, I know I certainly would, at least I think I would. With my luck I’d probably just go back and screw things up all over again, but hey I’d give it a shot, I think most people would. Oh the foolish thinks we dream of. And dream we do.
We’ve all grown up with the notion of time travel and altering the past to change our present lives. The do-over can be found in literature from the classics to comic books, as well as on television and the movies. My first brush with the ‘do over’ occurred when I was just a kid. I was about 7 years old at the time and was under my bunk bed waiting for the long arm of the law, (in this case my dad and his belt) to come in and take care of business. You see I had just done something so bad and inexcusable that a good spanking was definitely called for. And believe me it was, I remember that one quite well. Even after all these years I still may have a scar or two.
It was a Saturday morning and I was helping my dad pull weeds out of the ivy in front of the house. Sylvia Reyes, the little girl who lived across the street was out front watching us work. She was about a year or two younger than me. My dad went to the back to get a trash can or something and in those few minutes that he was gone my life changed. As soon as he was gone Sylvia began throwing little pebbles at me. I was working with my back to her so the small stones she was throwing occasionally hit me in the back. After being struck several times (none of which hurt) I decided a little retaliation was in order so I dug through the dirt until I found the perfect stone to fire back at her. Unfortunately it was probably ten times bigger than what she was throwing at me. My dad would later make the comparison that she was throwing BB’s and I was throwing cannonballs! Actually I only threw one rock but that was one too many.
Even after all these year I can remember wrapping the fingers of my left hand around that rock and waiting for her to hit me just one more time. And when it happened I was ready, I quickly twisted to my right and fired, and I do mean fired that rock in her direction. You’ve probably already deduced that I hit her, and I did, but it was an incredible shot! Without even aiming my rock flew directly towards her face and struck her squarely in the mouth! I knew I was dead before it had even hit her. The last thing I remember as I stood up and ran into the house was her scream, quickly followed by a rush of blood or maybe it was blood followed by her scream, I’m not too clear on that one. The one thing I knew for sure as I ran into the house was that
I was a dead man or should I say a dead kid!
And as I lay their under the bed waiting for my dad and the beating I knew was coming, I clearly remember crying, praying and wishing for a miracle to happen so that I could somehow have those last few minutes back again. But of course that didn’t happen and I got the whipping of a lifetime! Yeah that was my first do over experience. In case you’re wondering Sylvia wasn’t seriously injured. Well it was serious but it could have been far worse. Fortunately Sylvia had been in the process of laughing after successfully hitting me so when my rock soared into her face her mouth was open and the rock missed her lips, nose or any other part of her face and struck her squarely in the mouth,hitting only teeth. Yeah Sylvia lost one front tooth completely and nearly half of another. The only real blessing was that they were still her baby teeth. Yep, my first do-over moment was a real doozie!
Then there were the Saturday morning cartoons that we all grew up with. Sure some of them may have seemed senseless and violent but they were way better than the Sponge Bob or Uncle Grandpa crap the kids are watching today. Remember waking up early on Saturday morning grabbing a bowl of Cherrios, Sugar Smacks, Rice Crispies or shreeded wheat and planting ourselves in front of the tube for several hours of cartoon fun. There was one particular show that was based on the do-over theme. One of the segments from The King Leonardo Show was Tooter the Turtle, a cartoon about time travel and finding yourself. Tooter, a dumpy, down on his luck turtle never seemed to be satisfied with his lot in life. He had no idea what he wanted to do and was always searching for the perfect job. Each week he would go to see Mr. Wizard who had the ability to send Tooter back in time to help him find himself.
Each and every time that Tooter would go back and try a new career, be it a fireman,policeman, cowboy,lumberjack or detective, he’d always fail and get himself in situations where he was forced to call on the wizard to rescue him. “Help, Mr. Wizard! Help!” so Mr. Wizard would rescue him with the incantation, “Drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drome, time for this one to come home.” Tooter would return disappointed and Mr. Wizard would always give Tooter the same advice: “Be what you is and not what you is not. Folks that is what they is, is the happiest lot.” Although it was sound advice Tooter never learned and the following week he’d be back to try a new profession and would soon be in trouble again. Going back to change things never worked out very well for him.
Yeah we’ve all seen Television series or movies where characters are given the opportunity for do-overs and second chances. Some manage to make thing right which in turn alters their future, while others just make the same mistakes again and accomplish absolutely nothing. When I think of ‘do-over’ movies I always think of ‘It’s a wonderful Life’, ‘Big’ and “A Christmas Carol’ but the grandaddy of the do-over has got to be ‘Groundhog Day’ with Bill Murray. Can you imagine reliving the same exact day over and over again until you get it right? An endless cycle of do-overs. Sounds like something out of the Twilight Zone doesn’t it? But when all is said and done we all know there are no do-overs, not really. Once we do what we do or say what we say it’s out there and you cant go back and change things, you just have to deal with it. As much as we’d love too, we can’t go back and re-do particular experiences. All we can do is deal with the results of our choices.
I believe that each and everyday of our lives is a do-over, a chance to make things right. We may not be able to go back to key moments or situations in our past and change or alter them, but each new day is an opportunity to make things better, a chance to be the best that we can be. . The past is the past, it’s behind us, all we can do is learn and grow from it. We’ve got to look forward not back and make decisions that will make our lives better and brighter than before. We have a chance everyday that we’re alive to do just that. Each and everyday is another chance for a ‘do-over’. Don’t get caught up in a rut. Take advantage of your daily opportunities while you still can. Time passes much too quickly and before you know it your chance to make things right or make them better will pass and your do-over opportunity will behave passed. Don’t let that happen to you.