When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a spy. I spent countless hours reading Encyclopedia Brown novels. I was mesmerized by recon gear and once even thought about becoming a Navy SEAL. I ordered my official GI Joe dog tags that arrived engraved with my name and address. I went so far as to start a neighborhood detective agency for all things gone missing. RSS as it was called; Railhead Secret Service was based at the back of our one acre lot in Railhead Estates. Our offices were in the penthouse suite of the treehouse I built with my dad, brother and friends. We never had one client. My brother Zac and I would scour the neighborhood on our bikes to find anything suspicious to examine. Missing animals, damaged mailboxes, littered trash, we viewed anything and everything as a potential case that would lead to international intrigue where we would prevail as heroes. My imagination was fueled by books and stories of kid capers and the film Cloak and Dagger where a kid becomes embroiled in a spy ring concealing national secrets within a video game cartridge. I dreamed of traveling on multiple passports with multiple identities as a spy out to preserve the greater good of humanity.
Leaving elementary school and moving on to Junior High, I never stopped living in my little world of intrigue. Although I played soccer from the first grade, basketball for a couple of years, and little league baseball, I had not a speck of athletic talent. It was really unfortunate although I never really enjoyed playing anyway and remained in my own little imagination bubble. I borrowed an old Smith-Corona typewriter from my grandmother and began writing random stories. I wrote on paper the entire story of the film The Heavenly Kid because I had memorized every word. I started writing stories about my dreams of being a spy or a bad-ass detective.
I piddled and built model ships and random things in my garage like a coaster “bus” as my dad called it. It was a monstrosity of a coaster car. I had planned to use it as a recon vehicle full of uber cool gadgets. It didn't coast, never stood a chance, the threaded rod I used for axles bowed and buckled under the intense weight of the 2x6 frame. But it was a valiant albeit frustrating effort! I wanted so badly to build my own go cart, but never got around to starting, which is probably a good thing. I tried to make my own putting green in the backyard with the old green Lawn Boy, that didn't work. I rode my old red Honda three-wheeler for hours and hours and still have battle scars from a few of my exploits and daredevil tactics exploring the undeveloped wooded hills and fields near my house. Trout fishing trips to Blue River were my favorites. Not because I loved trout fishing, but because I spent most of the day exploring the river, falls, and caves picking up old relics of who knows what that had been carried by the river and playing the early version of Survivorman or a spy behind enemy lines. Wow, I really was a dork.
As time passed, I dreamed of moving on, growing up faster, being an adult. I could not wait to go to college. I spent my high school years dreaming of moving on to college, and although I had a great time I always thought of it as a temporary gig. When I finally went to college, I had abandoned my passion for spilling my dreams onto paper. I never once thought of majoring in Journalism. Honestly, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still find myself thinking what I want to be when I grow up (although a multi-millionaire tops the list). My early college years were full of beer and parties and having fun (and the occasional class). My tenure at OU saw many major changes and I managed to make my way through plenty of the major degree programs: engineering, architecture, film, communications, construction, pre-med. Nothing caught my attention as THE one. In the end, I settled with Construction Science and eventually graduated with a total of 213 combined hours. I like to think of it as a well rounded and robustly diverse Bachelor of Science.
Only now as I type away at this rambling blog post do I remember the passions of my youth. Perhaps when they say our first instincts are correct, that really means we dip way back into our past to find our true calling. At the very least, I prepared myself decades in advance to enjoy the Bourne film trilogy and if I could go back and apply what I know now, I could’ve built a kick ass treehouse! Perhaps I will have the pleasure of building a masterpiece for my kids one day!