Sometimes the impossible isn’t so impossible. One day, when I was 8 years old, my brother proved this to be true.
I miss the NES game system, or Nessie, as we so lovingly referred to her.
When I was super duper young we had an old Atari system with a couple of games. It didn’t have buttons; we turned it on and off with toggle switches. It was the size of a small dog and weighed as much as a 2 pound weight tied to another 5 pound weight. We didn’t play it that often, not because we didn’t enjoy pixelated gaming, but there was only so much you could do with stick figure Larry Birds, square basketballs, and a one-button controller.
Enter the Nintendo Entertainment System.
I can still remember the first time I saw the commercial. WHAT WAS THIS MONSTRONSITY? Was this real? A gaming system with such glorious graphics and a controller with 4, that’s right FOUR, buttons? Certainly this was a trick. Was it April Fools Day? Was such technology even humanly possible? But then I saw the commercial again. It WAS real. I must have it.
It appeared at a perfect age for me and my brother. I was 8, Mikey was 7. Once we realized this marvel of technology was not a mere figment of our young imaginations, we immediately begged Dad to buy us this system of Nintendo entertainment. Dad, with a twinkle in his eye, said, “Okay, when Mikey can do 100 sit-ups, we will buy it.”
My Mom gave a disapproving look and asked Dad if he knew how much it cost. But Dad had not taken much of a risk. He’d challenged us to do sit-ups before and Mikey could barely eek out ten of them. He assumed Mikey would have to work up to 100, and it would take some time and training. It’s not that Mikey wasn’t athletic, just the opposite, in fact. But for some reason, sit-ups were his Everest, and Dad knew it.
But Dad had never before seen what the new NES was capable of making a child do. And we had just learned Philippians 4:13. Who knew we would be able to put it to good use so soon? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Yup, that oughta do it.
We jumped for joy at Dad’s promise and immediately ran to the living room to achieve the impossible. Mikey laid on his back and I put my hands on his feet.
“Okay, this is it. It’s time to defeat your Everest, little bro. It’s the gold medal race, the final seconds are ticking away, it’s the bottom of the ninth with two outs. The bases are loaded, kid. Don’t let me down!”
Mikey began his journey up Everest. 1..2..3…4… he reached his lifelong best of ten and he just kept going.
Mom and Dad walked in around # 25. Dad looked pleased. Mom looked fearful. Mikey’s face was beet red, sweat was rolling down his cheeks. I grabbed a moist towel and wiped the sweat from his brow as he continued his race toward a brand new life. It was a life we had only dreamed of. A life filled with ducks and chuckling dogs. A life filled with sliding mushrooms, peachy princesses, and mustached plumbers.
As he continued to press on, my heart began to race right along with his. With each moan, groan, and upsit we were one step closer to the dream.
Halfway to heaven, little bro. A smile fell upon my face that I could not seem to control. Mikey felt the strength of a thousand angels overwhelming him as he pressed on into the dream.
“GO MIKEY! YOU CAN DO IT!” I began chanting: “NES! NES! NES! NES!”
He started waning a bit. The pause between upsits was growing longer. I wasn’t sure if this would cause Dad to yell “Foul!” and disqualify us on the spot since the rules for this life-altering contest had not been clearly defined. So I kept pressing him. The puddle of sweat that had accumulated on the living room floor was not helping. But he was determined, and I was like Mickey giving the final round speech to Rocky. “You’re ready, ain’t cha. You’re gonna roll over that Apollo sit-up like a bulldozer, an ITALIAN bulldozer. Go get ‘em Rocky!” Then I spontaneously burst into song, “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight….”
Pay the price Mikey. The end is in sight. You can do this. At the top of Everest, Nessie awaits.
His physical abilities disintegrated around 70. After that it was sheer willpower. There was no gas left in the tank, but he just kept putting one ab flex in front of the other, sitting up, and sitting down, until he had absolutely nothing left.
Finally, he fell back exhausted–emotionally and physically. He could go no further. Not one more upsit. His day was done. Mikey laid flat on his back in the puddle of carpet sweat he had created.
It was a pool of victory.
His goal–nay, our goal–had been achieved. SITUP NUMBER ONE HUNDRED!
We stood atop Everest and planted our flag. Then we backed up and jumped on it while fireworks exploded in the background.
Vini, Vidi, Vici.
That day will forever live in infamy. Thank you, little brother, for achieving the impossible, and for filling our lives with shifty ducks, red-overalled plumbers, and countless hours of bloodshot eyes. I am forever indebted.
We chased Nessie up Mt. Everest, and we caught him.
I feel a song bubbling up from the depths of my inner being: “To dream…the impossible dream…” Or even better, in honor of the upcoming Olympics: “One shining moment…”Like this? Here’s a few more to put a smile on your face: A Game of Musical Beds (to be completed by you!) Predictably Unpredictable