I heard his loud boast and spied the bag of marbles in his hand and immediately stuck my chest out and shoulders back.. the dark stranger had just proclaimed his prowess…..and with a marble. This was MY arena , MY bastion of brilliance..the challenge went down and my best steelies were kissed and presented. I was ready to rumble. Dressed to impress like the super athlete I was , in my navy elastic waist shorts and my floral Pippa Dee blouse. ( A clothes line only available at weird parties where mum’s of the village gathered and oohed and aahed over themselves modelling the samples after eating egg sandwiches and drinking tea. All my friends had the same outfits. David never liked his dresses much.)
To the game.
I clutched my plastic bag of perfectly polished , round, glass balls- oranges, blues, greens , reds and yellows. My opponent sneered at me. I could beat him. I could play for Scotland. Streets and children would be named after me. It would begin with this. I could claim the kudos of Brewlands Drive marbles champion. I would be Queen of the County. ( Or at least the houses in my street in the village)
Time after time 13 year old Graham Blain trounced me and kept my brightly coloured jewels in his chubby yet powerful fingers. I needed a game plan, something up my sleeve .. but had only stupidity and sweaty little fingers! . Like today, 9 year old Lorna thought the NEXT shot would be the winner..it never was! He wiped me out completely, took my treasure and emigrated to Australia.( My mum tried to convince me it was an unfortunate coincidence as the trip had been planned by the family for months due to a career change by his dad. I remain unconvinced.)
I HAD COMPLETELY LOST MY MARBLES!!!
Fast forward 9 years and I found myself facing an altogether more refreshing challenge…but one of similar epic consequences and of such vital importance.
The six foot plus , rugby playing object of my unrequited yet undying love was sitting opposite me, saying words that still challenge me today….
“Girls can’t drink as much as guys” –
Not quite a philosophical challenge to Plato or Socrates…nor as impactful as Dr MLK Jr’s speeches…but these words galvanised me…my inner Pankhurst awoke…the Rocky music played in my head..I would show him. I would do this , not just for me, but for ALL women. In so doing, I believed, this man would be putty in my hands.
The rules were simple. Knock back a vodka and lemonade, last to finish buys the next one.
I brushed down my red and white polka dot ra ra dress, ( from Chelsea Girl as sadly Pippa Dee had ceased to exist despite the oodles of egg sandwiches.), imagining my victory kiss from Mr Wonderful as he looked into my winning eyes with admiration and respect. This evening would rank as one of my finest, I mused.
The battle began.
I lost EVERY time.
I spent the night between our table , the bar and eventually the toilet – believing quite literally, my next shot would be the winner.
Dreamboat took not only my crown..but my money , my hopes, dreams and self respect. As i teetered on my trendy Tukka boots en route to barf in the toilet, I declared my love for him….. just before he swaggered over to the elegant yet dour Tessa – ( why she was miserable when she had looks, rich parents , a pony AND my dreamboat I will never know!) – who he snogged all night and began a 10 month relationship with..right in the midst of my valiant vodka fail…..
ONCE AGAIN MY MARBLES WERE LOST….
I never learned. Even today , as a non drinking , non marbles throwing , Peace loving giggler..a challenge issued with just the right sneer will see me toss dignity aside and enter with gusto into many an adrenaline producing, knee knocking, or just plain STUPID competition.
My vision is always the same – I shall overcome victoriously…and the next ….(insert mode of mortification )..shall be the winner!!
I have up to this point – FAILED ;
to down a pint of Guinness faster than the Irish bartender, (3 times)
to jump higher than an Olympian high jumper ( 2 times)
to guess which hand the magician has the “thing” in (98,76789 times)
to outrun my dog over distances I decided ( 767766678999832 times – it ended solely because she died)
to jazz – funk dance steps faster than girl with the flock of seagull singer’s hairstyle (1 time)
to put a fruit pastille in your mouth without chewing ( countless till they changed advert)
to get drunk and appear sophisticated and appealing to the object of my desires ( LOST COUNT!)
to just have one more peanut M & M ( practically till the pack is finished – but I always replenish!!)
However, there have been the odd occasion when my capacity for stupidity has yielded the desired results.
Like the time I outbid everyone for the honour to take home the much sought after largest marrow in the village- a feat old Geordie W never fully recovered from and my dad, who had to carry it home amidst much hilarity, never fully forgave me for!
There was of course the time I giggled hilariously throughout segments of a live radio show, smashing the claim of my embarrassed co-host, a certain Scottish footballer, that nothing could be worse for him than Argentina 78!!
My personal favourite was , at a friend’s BBQ, upon hearing a drunk, obnoxious stranger proclaim that females couldn’t joust, I found myself sitting astride a wooden “horse” 20 foot off the ground, clutching a giant jousting pole. Best of three. I would show him. I would win- and win well. I won the first. He won the second. The honour of women worldwide and forever stretched out before me. I could do this! My opponent sweated profusely and called for a towel to wipe his brow , a delaying tactic. I giggled hysterically and called for another Miller Lite , no tactic at all!
The Game of Honour began and I quite literally TROUNCED HIS JOUSTING BUTT !! I flew at him with such ferocity and flair..such speed and accuracy..such valour and verve..such power and passion..I KNOCKED HIM TO THE GROUND INSTANTLY.. Unfortunately I toppled over with the force of my lunge and catapulted onto the ground- missing every one of the perfectly placed rubber mats – landing on my neck awkwardly amidst hushed gasps from the crowd.
As the ambulance carried me away to get my broken collar bone and dislocated shoulder seen to, I punctuated the still, remorseful night air with a giant, “LOSER, LOSER, LOSER”..looking for the para medics to high five me. They didn’t. But I had won..I WON .
Thank me later, sisters .
Whilst musing this over, it strikes me my epic fail has not been in trying to QUENCH my “who say’s I cannae? Watch this..” mentality..I just need to enter it into more fruitful challenges..
I would back myself to wholeheartedly win the crown of “Beginning more projects in one afternoon than the person next to you..whilst singing the extended version of the Wombles of Wimbledon Common to the tune of the Skye Boat Song”….(although there is an elderly male relative from Bulgaria who fancies himself as competition!)
I think I am on to something folks…I need to challenge for titles that MATTER…for results that MATTER for people that MATTER .. with LOVE…..( and of course the inner Rocky music accompanies it all)
So – any takers on a feed your nearest hungry neighbour fastest competition (Girls v boys!) – or a “I can read the Bible and actually LIVE THE LOVE in five more countries than you”..
How about a challenge to see who can give most of their money to worthy causes and people- investing and encouraging EVERYONE God brings into your path along the way?
I would love to enter the challenge of LISTENING to someone at the bus stop/taxi rank’s problems and offering practical or emotional support…without thinking about yourself ONCE!!( Rules insist contestants must refrain from choosing subjects based on odour or physical appearance!!)
I have a few lovely friends that would be up there for “Being the best friend by simply being there whatever I am going through” title – but I of course intend to challenge them!!
I am quite excited now folks…in fact, I am more excited than anyone has ever been whilst writing about challenging for imaginary titles . In Scotland. In 2016. Called Lorna.
I am off to practise my head tilting, award winning smiley face for my upcoming entry into the “Enjoying life because it is a temporary Gift & a choice to enjoy it” competition for previous winners of the marble losing, vodka buying , jousting eedjits of the West of Scotland..should be a high level of entrants…but I can do this…..next shot is the winner…