Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bad As I Wanna Be

Driving to the coast to help (chat with) my brother Franc while he's renovating a house, I had a small mishap. I fell asleep driving and ran off the road. No harm done, but I decided to take a nap so it wouldn't happen again. I pulled into a church parking lot somewhere on Hwy 70 East.

When I woke up an hour later, I discovered I'd left my lights on and my battery was dead and my car was boxed in and the church service had started. Long story I won't bore you with, but when help arrived 3.5 hours!!! later, I was deep into the autobiography of iconoclastic basketball star Dennis Rodman, Bad As I Wanna Be.

I hadn't planned to read this book; I'd picked it up at a thrift shop for a quarter because a friend of mine used to think the guy was cool. It was the only book I had in the car. I didn't know much about Rodman except for his dating Madonna and dyeing his hair multi-colored.

Well, I found him inspiring. He came to the NBA, not from being an ACC star as so many do. At twenty he was pushing a broom on the night shift at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.

When he took up basketball at that age, he soared. When he hit huge success, he felt like a fraud and a puppet. He was on the point of shooting himself one spring night in 1993 when he decided that he would instead stay alive, stay in the NBA, and stop trying to hide who he was.

And he did. And the crowds loved him big time. And even if I don't admire all of his choices, I admire the one he made that April night.

More on this tomorrow...

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billie said...

Peggy, my gosh! What an adventure you had - I can't believe you woke up boxed in in a church parking lot!

Glad your off-road moment did not result in anything worse..

And I'm intrigued with the Dennis Rodman story.

Peggy Payne said...

I was surprised at what an impact that whole episode had on me. It knocked a chip in my still-teenage sense of invincibility that I've managed to preserve to the age of 59.

What happened: I got home about 4 o'clock--it was pointless to drive on to the beach. It was going to be too dark to work by the time I got there.

When I got home, and all evening, I felt emotionally wrung out. The reason was that I got thrown off my horse and it simply wasn't possible to get back on. Usually I figure out some way.

When I told my husband this, he said, "So you're not the force of nature you thought."

If history is any indicator, I'll soon forget this unfortuante realization.

billie said...

Well, I love B's response, but otoh, I'm not sure I agree with him. It takes a certain kind of forcefulness (and one I totally admire) to kick back and sink deep into a book called Bad As I Wanna Be while stuck in a church parking lot with a dead battery and help a long time coming!

Peggy Payne said...

Thank you. My mom felt the same way.