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In Defense of Bouncing on the Bed

Here’s how it went down, all of this bed bouncing stuff.

Lying on my bed, slapping away at the laptop keys or flicking through some fishing magazine, I’d hear the giggles before I’d see the faces.

Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee!

They knew what they were up to, and they knew that I knew. And sure enough, in they’d trample, Violet and Henry, like two squirrels snagging warm scoops of cooling pie off my windowsill.

Over the rug, to the bed, up the bed, onto the bed, stare into my eyes, smile and begin to bounce as if I wasn’t even there. As if there was no 200-pound man lying RIGHT THERE in the middle of the damn stage, y'all!

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“Oh God,” I thought, “Henry is only 2 and Violet is 4 but clumsier than hell and so one of these dorks is going to bounce right off of this bed and hit a triple with their head on the nightstand and snap their neck and then I’m going to catch some serious flack from the entire viral freaking world for letting my kids bounce right into a most avoidable tragedy, huh?”

It was typical me, really, typical Serge shit … to fry thick slices of joy in a pan full of spitting hot worry.

But then, almost like some kind of weird magic, something pretty strange and cool happened and I got sucked into one of those weird time machines that only kicks on when a toddler’s body soars through the air and plows into your lumpy carcass in a fit of late afternoon laughter.

Violet landed on my lap and her brow was beaded with that sort of sweat that kids sweat when they’re in the middle of something awesome when she looked up into my face, just as I was about to do the whole "dad thing" and tell her that this whole deal was dangerous and that they were going to break the bed or crack their skulls open or simply disappear though a giant gaping hole in the old floor, the three of us coming to rest down in the dining room when all of a sudden the machine zipped me out of there and back to like 1975 or 1976.

And there I was, standing on my mom's and dad’s sprawled out disco dance floor king mattress, the hard rush of the battleship-size air conditioner rattling in the window practically blowing me into the popcorn wall with its frozen tornado wind.

It was all so vivid, so freaking clear to me.

Wow.

Holy shit.

I was 5 again and I was a thing of beauty and I knew it. I felt super-powered. I was bionic.

I bent my knees and began to bounce up and down on that old mattress as if there were no other way for life to continue but in a whirling rush of spinning and tumbling and blood rushing through my head. I kicked out my own legs and landed hard down on my tiny ass only to pop back up immediately and bounce some more without skipping a beat.

My brother was there too, and he bounced alongside me, the springs beneath our bodies squeaking and clucking across the long decades now, still speaking the exact same language that I remembered them speaking, saying the exact same stuff, too.

Bounce Here-Bounce Here-Bounce Here-Bounce Here-THUD (land on ass/back to feet)-Bounce Here-Bounce Here-Bounce Here ... over and over again, a sweet familiar mantra singing out from a mattress that has long since been burned in the apocalyptic fires of some wasteland dump somewhere.

I smiled as I balanced in the middle of the air and felt everything so perfectly as my feet collided gently with my brother’s short legs 3 feet above where my parents rested in these final moments of their marriage. When I thumped back hard on the padded surface of the mattress, I was confused and then blown away to hear my own little girl’s laughing colliding with my own.

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We were back in my room, many moons on from that old bedroom.

I got up off the bed as Henry landed on his little ass in a sitting position and cackled pure joy.

I walked to the nightstand by the side of the bed and moved my novel to middle of it and made sure the lamp wasn’t wobbling on its pesky cord, and then I just slid that whole particleboard monstrosity across the carpet, away from the bouncing bouncers and the places where they might just land their heads.

Then I went downstairs to drink a bottle of cold beer and listen to the sweet rolling thunder sweeping across the dining room sky.

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