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A sense of direction

My birthday is in a month or so, and I think my wife has a suggestion for anyone looking to get me that perfect present.

A map. A road map, to be exact. In the last two weeks, I've made two road trips to watch football games: one to Screven County, and one to Conyers.

Both times, I made a few, uh, directional miscalculations.

It started a few Fridays ago on the way to Syvlania via Waynesboro to watch Thomson play Screven County. Only I didn't take the right turn in Waynesboro and ended up on my way to McBean.

(I was not lost. I was merely taking the scenic route.)

A u-turn later, and I was on the right track.

Which is much more than my wife will allow me to say for my trip to Conyers.

I was thrilled when my wife took Friday afternoon off of work to ride with me to Heritage High near Atlanta - where Salem High plays its home games. There was only one problem: I said the game was in Commerce, not Conyers.

Now, my female readers already know the difference. Guys, allow me to clue you in: Commerce is home to a bevy of factory stores in a couple of outlet malls.

So with visions of shopping carts dancing in her head, Miriam was more than willing to take the day off to travel. You can imagine her reaction when I told her we were going to Conyers the day before we were to leave.

(We still went shopping by the way, stopping at Target and Old Navy. Yep, almost two hours westward to spend money in two stores we have 25 minutes to the east. Who needs an outlet mall, huh?)

I was tapping away at my keyboard early Monday morning, when I noticed the first news bulletins about the death of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter from Australia.

At 44, he was one of the more well-known ambassadors from Down Under, making his name by out-crocodiling the fictional Crocodile Dundee.

So it really came as no surprise that he died in the line of duty, the victim of a stingray strike to the heart just off the coast of Queensland.

For my wife, who had nicknamed him "Stupid Steve," his television show was a form of exercise. She'd scream, bounce and slide all over the den as Steve got closer and closer to the vicious-animal-du-jour. And to hear that he'd finally gotten a little too close was tough for her to hear.

For me, it was tough for another reason.

Deep down, I believe every young man has had that fleeting dream of being Marlin Perkins or Jack Hanna. Steve made those dreams plausible, and made folks like me feel less silly for having them.

And his death tears at the emotions: On one hand, it's hard to see someone pass away in their prime; on the other, knowing that someone died happy with a dream fulfilled is a beautiful thing.

Web posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006

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