I was a bit of a handful when I was a boy; always banging my head against the world when it resisted my demands. The ceiling above my bed was just a lid on the box we lived in, a constant reminder that I couldn’t fly. When I wanted to roll down the front hall stairs like a slinky, the door was locked and the key hidden on the ledge above it, so I built a scaffold of chairs and boxes and roasting pans, a work of art, really. But it was poorly engineered; the key remained just out of reach. My new twin shiners, probably from the cast iron radiator, were soon the color of a ripe eggplant. Personally, I thought I looked like the Lone Ranger, but my brother said more like a raccoon.

I did finally make it down the stairs, though, with the dubious help of my brother. The journey began with a whisper in the dark: “Susie’s baby carriage is like a rocketship; once you’re strapped in you’ll be just like Superman taking off from Krypton.” To this day I have no recollection of my ear-shattering launch through the glass door at the bottom of the stairs, followed by a snow crash landing on the sidewalk in front of Einstein’s drugstore.

But the glittering moment I truly flew and lived to tell the tale, was the day I came face to face with a bristling German Shepherd, big as a horse, after chasing two pretty girls to their front porch. I took off like a rocket, but didn’t hit full liftoff until I ran out in front of a car on Second Avenue. After a brief but exhilarating flight, I scrambled to my feet and ran and ran like a fool on fire until I made it home, safe and sound.

“Amazing. Not a mark on his body.”, said the doctor to the nurse as the crowd milled around in the foyer. “Wait till Mom gets home,” my brother whispered in my ear, and from that day forth I was grounded.