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The Tommy Inside All of Us

When I was 9 and a half or so we moved from Cary, North Carolina to Kenner, Lousiana and we lived there until I was 13 and a half. We always made our moves during the summer so that it didn’t interfere with school. My birthday falls in October. Moves are always halves.

For my 10th, 11th, 12th or 13th birthday, my folks thrilled me with a birthday party at the local go-cart track and arcade. The track was shaped like:

The Track

We were given instructions to run the track as such:

The Intended Path

It was hinted to us that we could make better time by “cutting the corners” as indicated by the blue marks here:

The Suggestion

My interpretation and execution:

The Actual Path

This execution of course included jumping the go-cart over concrete curbs, red-neck driving it through mud and grass, and culminating with my father’s consideration of executing me, and the track owner wanting to have us all removed. Some apologies, clarifications and promises kept us having a good time but I felt miserable that my innocent misinterpretation had caused so much trouble and the internal punishment and agony dwelled for a long time. I also felt like a failure in my father’s eyes.

Tommy is not so much different than the rest of us. He is just a bigger target on the radar.

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