Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Worst Nightmare - Jackie T Leads 5.9

A few nights ago, I dreamed I was belaying Jackie T* on a 5.9. It had been raining and the route was wet, but Jackie soldiered on and went through the crux like it was a walk in the park. What a send! This was her first season climbing and already she was a burly leader.

And then....I woke up.

The problem is - Jackie T is not a climber, or at least I highly doubt it. I haven't seen or heard anything about her in more than twenty years.

She was in my class during grade school and the first two years of high, and was the "it" girl that each classroom must have. Most kids had the 24 pack of crayons and that was the standard. Jackie had, as you have guessed, the 64-pack with the built-in sharpener. And a mother who made her delicious packed lunches that included the latest in premium brand sugar-laced snacks. Most of the cold-lunchers had PBJ or bologna, or warm, smelly tunafish sandwiches, pulled from brown paper bags, and were definitely seen as being in a class lower than the hot lunch crowd. Not Jackie, who always had a thermos(matching her fashionable Scooby Doo lunchbox, of course) with hot soup to complement her fare.

And in fifth grade, she was the first to have a boyfriend, when she started dating Steve B, the beautiful blond boy wonder, who was bright, decent and an all-around athlete. Well, until eight grade, when she dumped him for Tim C, which was a shocker. A girl, going DOWN a grade!? Unheard of! Tim was also a powerhouse athlete, but he was short. Shorter than Jackie, another taboo. Within a few months though, she had ditched Tim for his senior in high school, older brother Terry, who by any standard. Tall and thin, with wavy shoulder lenght brown hair and a full-on well tended beard and mustache.... Now it all made sense. "How...sophisticated" we though. She had a more worldy view than any of us parochial school girls had even so much as read about in our romance paperbacks.

Jackie was, clearly, the star of Presentation, BVM(Blessed Virgin Mary) in North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and she reigned the entire eight years. High school was a more wobbly throne for her, since she had the competition of all the various princess' from other schools in the district. Especially with PVBM being the lowest on the cool school totem pole. And, even though she had had the top man as a beau, things were different now. He was from the suburb town and not FDL proper, significantly lowering his status.

Still, she was stiff competition, and a lot of the St. Mary's Springs boys followed her in awe.

I changed schools in my junior year, and lost track of Jackie, along with most of the other kids I'd grown up with, but as a young adult I'd occasionally hear news of their whereabouts - usually the bad news, of course.... Like when Jean C actually made infamy by drunkenly running over a pedestrian on the side of a country road, or Marty R's name was splattered all over the Reporter's Police Blotter by pistol-whipping the poor old lady at Badger Liquor, the packaged goods store that was attached to a bar the sort of which saw most of it's business in the afternoon hours(when the men still had a few dollars in their pockets and hadn't...dozed off....watching the football game on the overhead TV).

Jackie's second coming wasn't one for the papers; it was a rumor that rumbled through the lower section of society - word of mouth. Gossip. But the source was impeccable, my own brother Oney. Oney, who had loved Jackie T, and had a brief courtship with her during one of her breaks with Steve B., and held her in high regard even though she eventually rebuffed him to get back with her sweetheart.

My brother told me that he'd been to Summer Stage in Milwaukee, a big event... And had seen Jackie. She was onstage, flanked by two...large...Harley-rider types with dirty hair and beer bellies; men too old for a nineteen year old pretty girl with any sense to be associated with.

And not only that, along with being stumble-down drunk, she was sopping wet. As you may have guessed, she was a participant in a pageant of sorts. the Wet T-Shirt Contest.

Oney told me that Jackie was a fallen woman, how everyone had seen the spectacle and would never respect her again for as long as she lived, and how it only go'ed to show you that character is the mark of true beauty in a soul.....

So - it must go without saying that I, dreaming that Jackie T is kicking ass on a climb I would be hard-pressed to follow, must have layers and layers of deep, mysterious meaning....

This weekend I am climbing on Saturday and even if I don't lead anything - I am going to use that dream to my advantage. If I come to a tough spot, I am going to show that Jackie what I'm made of! And in two weeks when I get myself to JTree for the SushiFest and my autumn holiday, I am going to kick ass like the title of Donald Trump's new book....Grrrr.

* Some names have been altered to protect the innocent, and/or because my memory is faulty and I can't summon the correct one.

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