The Red Shovel

​  I wrote this two years ago after this random story from my childhood popped into my head…
  I was about 5 years old on a camping trip with my grandma, grandpa, brother, and their camping group called The Tumbleweeds. My brother and I had gone on many of these camping trips with my grandparents. Numerous other families were part of The Tumbleweeds. It was always a good sized gathering in what usually appeared to be the middle of nowhere. 

 There was one boy roughly my age and by the same name. We had met on several previous occasions. So the two of us were playing in the sandbox and having a swell time, two peas in a pod. Apparently Other Daniel, who was a little older and bigger, decided that he wanted my shovel. 

  I cannot blame him, for this was no run-of-the-mill ordinary shovel. Not one of those small, flimsy shovels that you could barely move any sand with. I’m talking about a red, solid, thick plastic shovel that a child could easily dig to China with. A real sand moving apparatus. Something even an adult could envy. The product of thousands of years of human innovation. You get the gist, the shovel was a big deal.

  Lesser Daniel evidently thought he was going to take my precious shovel from me. He proceeded to throw sand in my face and push me down, which I must admit was a rather excellent strategy. So being the kind and considerate 5ish year old that I was, I happily rewarded his well-timed, strategic attack by sharing. I took that shovel and with all the force I could muster I struck him and stuck the corner of it in his head. A slight overreaction perhaps.

 Needless to say I ended up in trouble and Shovel Head Daniel required stitches. I learned my lesson, since that day I haven’t struck anyone with a shovel, even when I wanted to. I’m sure Stitched Up Daniel learned to duck faster or maybe not bully anyone holding a shovel. Both of which are very important for young boys to learn.

  The real lesson is this though… the transition from friendly to defending myself is approximately a shovel’s length. You can throw dirt on me, I have learned to control my temper better than most 5 year olds. But do not mistake control for cowardice. Talk all you like but push around my people or myself and I revert back to a kid in the sandbox prepared to bury you. 

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