Growing up in Boston, there was no shortage of snow days. I remember spending hours outside, sledding and building snowmen and snow forts. However, Boston’ winters were long! By March or so, there wasn’t the same enthusiasm to play in the snow. I’d still play outside, but indoor activities became more appealing. Unfortunately, I didn’t always make the best choices playing indoors, especially when I was bored. Boredom was my nemesis, the elixir for making choices that I shake my head at now. While there were quite a few examples, of let’s call them interesting choices, from my childhood, a favorite came to mind today.
I believe that I was seven and I decided that I wanted to find buried treasure. Brainstorming where I might find buried treasure was the first step. My choices limited. Going outside wasn’t an option as I just spent several hours in the newly minted foot of snow. The search was in my house.
As I perused room-to-room, thinking where might someone buried treasure. I started to narrow my options. Rooms decorated with thick wall-to-wall carpeting eliminated, no way there is treasure under those carpets, I thought smartly to myself.
The first floor was a different story. As I continued my search, my mind started to raced with ideas. I needed a clue, something tipping me off to the treasure’s location. Hmm…what kind of clue? I thought to myself An ‘x”, of course! “X” marks the spot. Unfortunately, there were no ‘x’’’s in any room. Perhaps a different clue but what, that would be obvious when I saw it.
I took a second look in the small dinning room. There was something about the black and white checkered flooring that got my attention. I examined the checkered pattern carefully. Eureka. That was it. The treasure was here. All I needed to do was figure out where in room the treasure was hidden. My eyes locked in on the dinning room table. Hmmm, I declared to myself, a treasure is going to be hard to find. It’s under the table.
I pulled one of the six large chairs back away from the table, crawling underneath looking for the spot. I started to put the clues together. Going through my 7 year old logic, the table was in the middle of the room. That means the spot was going to be underneath the middle of the table. It made perfect sense. It’s going to be right in the middle of the room under the table.
I took a pen and marked the spot with a big ‘x’ in pen. Giddiness overcame me. The mystery was about to be solved and the treasure was mine. All I needed to do now was dig the floor up and claim it. No big deal. I just needed to get some items from my dad’s toolbox. I knew exactly what I needed to do the job, a hammer and screwdriver.
I returned to my work site, excited to start the excavation. Without hesitation, I jammed the screwdriver with all of my strength into the spot with marked ‘x’. Then I started to bang the hammer into head of the screwdriver. Thud, Thud, Thud. The sound filled the air. As I write this, I’m thinking that it was my babysitter should have heard this, but she never did. That’s a story for another day. Each hammer strike raised my excitement level. The treasure was closer to being found.
After repeating the action several times, I started noticing marks, progress I thought. I repeated the act, over and over, for what felt like an hour. I made a small chip in the floor. Progress was slow, but I was persistent and driven to get my treasure.
This became an on-going project, day after day, for a few weeks. I eventually dug up about half a black checker, about 6 inches x 6 inches, of the flooring. While no treasure was ever found, I did reach the sticky, green adhesive meant to keep the floor down.
My parents discovered the destroyed piece of flooring a few months later. My parents came directly to me. As I said earlier, I had a reputation for making some interesting choices. They were angry, but not as mad as I thought they would be, considering the damage.
As I think back on their reaction, I realize that I have found myself in this predicament with my own kids. They do something that I never told them not do, only because I couldn’t have imagined that they dreamed up something so nutty.