April 27, 2010
Brass Ring, ME Newsletter, Vol.3, Issue 17
I really loved the carousel at Playland in Rye, NY. I wanted to ride every single horse and every buggy being pulled by lions, elephants, or giraffes or whatever pretty bejeweled animal, however impractical it may have seemed.
I don’t recall how old I was when I first discovered the brass ring. Actually, I really didn’t discover it on my own. My Dad pointed out to me that I could get another ride for free if I succeeded in grabbing the sporadically offered incentive. Up until then, I’d just been enjoying the ride. Over and over and over.
From that moment on, I kept my eyes peeled and semi-extended my arm each time I passed that crooked hook, just in case.
Then it happened: the brass ring suddenly rolled to the tip, dangling.
I guess when you’re that young your world is pretty self-centered.
I saw the rider before me suddenly lean as far to his left as possible, extend a grasping hand, and miss. Automatically, I did the same. I missed, too.
I frantically turned in the pony saddle, looking around. I looked behind me, in front of me, and across the center of the whirling gallopers. I remember being surprised that I wasn’t alone on the ride. It was sort of a shock, really: to find that others had the same drive for the challenge as I did. Who told them about the brass ring anyway? I didn’t think that was fair at all, and I certainly wasn’t going to give up even if others had longer reach spans that I did. I wanted that ring!
After a few more brash tries, bravely placing all my weight on the right stirrup, barely holding on to the methodically shifting leather reins by my finger tips, I caught that brass ring. I held it out as I rode around to the finish, grinning and waving my prize for all to see. My dad was grinning as widely at the triumph as I was. When the music slowed and the rounder finally stopped, we walked back around to the Carousel entrance. I proudly showed the ring to the gate keeper, hopping up and down, impatient for my next turn.
I was momentarily stunned when the man in the striped vest plucked the shiny ring from my fingers. I hadn’t realized that was part of the deal. I didn’t want to give it up. My dad explained it to me: I could either keep the ring and go home, or give the ring back and take another ride. I wanted to do both! However, I reasoned with youthful myself concluding that taking another ride offered me the chance to grab another ring. I relinquished the otherwise useless and weighty memento, and rode again.
I’ve caught site of a few brass rings along my regular route lately.
Somewhere along the way, though, I’ve become afraid.
Suppose my plan isn’t detailed enough? Suppose my calculations aren’t accurate enough?
Suppose I reach too far and fall gracelessly from my comfortable seat?
Suppose I can easily reach the prize, but the hook doesn’t release the ring when I grab it?
Suppose I can’t let go fast enough to not get hurt?
Suppose I miss the rest of the ride because I took a risk that didn’t pay out?
Suppose the prize isn’t really what I’m after?
I mean, the brass ring isn’t really any good unless you’re planning on taking another ride, right?
In this issue: Brass, Brass Rings, Brass Ring Awards 24, Taking Responsibilty for your own success.
Now posted: New Orleans, October 2009, Breathing Easier & Harder.
Posted by jaselin at April 27, 2010 03:03 PM