The other day I was walking up the bridge to work and I realized I wasn’t stepping on any of the cracks. “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” I took that very seriously when I was a kid. I spent most of my childhood convinced that my mother would die at any minute, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything to help that along.
Now I think I avoid cracks out of pure habit. But here’s the thing: As of this summer, my mother has been dead longer than she had been alive in my lifetime. I should be rather used to it after 26 years. I certainly shouldn’t be worried about some silly childhood rhyme.
So, just as an experiment, I decided to step on all the remaining cracks on the sidewalk until I got to the bridge tower. And lo, the sky did not fall. Actually, it felt kind of liberating. I am the master of my own pace! Woo hoo!
Granted, it must have looked kind of funny, because to step on each crack I had to use this weird, lurching gait. And I was kind of giggling, too. I’m lucky I didn’t get locked up.
It makes me wonder, though, if any other aspect of my life is ruled by myths, old wives’ tales, children’s rhymes or simple mistaken beliefs. I’m going to have to watch for that. In the mean time, I’m going to step on every crack I can until cracks, or the lack thereof, don’t loom so unreasonably large in my life.
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