Monday, August 22, 2016

An Incredible Night

On Friday, I had the pleasure of being on the field for the first pitch at the White Sox game. The circumstances as to why I was on the field are insignificant. What was very significant is who was throwing the main first pitch: Lou Ferrigno. 
My relationship with Lou Ferrigno is completely one-sided, in that he presumably has no idea who I am and was not terrified of me when he was a child. Aside from clowns and gypsies, the Incredible Hulk was thing I remember fearing. All it took was seeing Dr. David Banner getting angry once for me to swear off watching the Incredible Hulk forever. Nevermind that the Hulk was a good guy.

This paralyzing fear manifested itself in the first dream/nightmare I remember having. I was 3 or 4, and it is still probably the most vivid dream I've ever had. Here's how shit went down. 

I was mature for my age. Though I was a toddler and the house did not have an alarm system, my parents trusted me enough to leave alone for the evening while they went to dinner. After all, I was wearing a fedora and smoking a pipe. They left out of the front door, which I am now for the first time realizing was strange, since the garage was off of the back door. Maybe things would have turned out differently if I had gone to the front room to see what route they took.

Once the door closed, I grabbed the newspaper, plopped myself down on the floor in the living room, laid on my back and started reading the Chronicle. I soon heard a rustling noise. I lowered the paper to look around, and I didn't see anything, so I went back to the paper. 

That was a mistake. As soon as I started on Peanuts or Family Circus, dozens of Incredible Hulks of various sizes and colors pounced on top of me.  There were green ones, blue ones, orange ones, pink ones, yellow ones, all smothering me and probably ruining the paper. I couldn't tell for sure because I was being suffocated by my worst nightmare.

I will never forget the dream, and needless to say, there was a wave of emotions flowing through my body Friday night, as I stood less than ten feet from the man who helped me kick off a life of vivid, memorable dreams. I didn't know whether I wanted to thank him for making my first nightmare the worst one I ever had (so that nothing could possibly as bad after that) or berate him for no real reason other than the fact that he was painted green on a popular American television show nearly 40 years ago.

As urine uncontrollably streamed down my legs, I walked toward him to shake his hand and perhaps get some closure, or perhaps be crushed to death by his still-massive arms. But then he was escorted to the mound, where he threw a strike, and my chance at reconciliation -- and maybe redemption -- was gone. Perhaps in another 35 years, I'll sort things out with him. I certainly never got the chance with Bill Bixby.

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