It all started this one hot and oppressively humid summer day. The thermometer was pinned at 100 F. Without a lick of wind, the heat of the midday sun was scorching.
Days like that were made for the swimming pool. That's where I was, cooling off. But when the lifeguards called an "Adult Swim" rest break at the end of the hour, what was a kid to do to get out of the heat? I cupped my hands over my eyes and scanned the pool deck for a spot of shade. Everywhere I looked, from large deck umbrellas to the shade beneath the trees trees, was already claimed.
It wasn't that my search was in vain. While scanning the deck, I spotted a radio flyer wagon. I had a new plan: I was going to beat the heat by taking that wagon for a joy ride down the steep hill behind the pool. The wind would cool me.
I wheeled the wagon down the pool deck, past the curious eyes of my friends, through the gate and around the backside of the pool where a ribbon of asphalt descended the hill. Surveying it from atop, I noted that the hill wasn't particularly long, maybe 150 feet. But what it lacked in length it made up in slope. There was also one technical section at the bottom of the hill where the path forked 45 degrees: to the right was the tennis courts; to the left, the golf course. I decided that the best line was towards the golf course.
My skinsuit that day was rather spartan, consisting of a lyrca Speedo. Wearing just and only that, I loaded my scrawny 45 lb body into the radio flyer, pointed its front wheels downhill, and shoved off. The wagon quickly accelerated to its terminal velocity. Before I could even appreciate the wind's cooling effects, the forked turn was upon me. I quickly lurched the wagon's handle to navigate the sharp turn. This was where the plan went off the tracks. To my surprise, instead of the wagon hugging the turn, as I had envisioned it moments before, I was suddenly sailing through the air, completely free of the wagon.
For a very brief moment, I noted how refreshingly cool the air felt as heat radiated from my body. It was the slightest of moments, here and gone in a flash. Then things turned ugly.
I was told later that my screams were so loud that the head lifeguard hurdled the 4' pool fence in a single bound as he hurried to my aid.
That's how I earned my first King of the Mountain. I earned it the hard way.
Thanks for reading.