Sunday, May 23, 2010

Step On A Crack

‘Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.’ The rhyme ran through my brain as I walked down the Promenade that ran parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Of course, as the words rotated through my brain I noticed that my feet refused to step on a crack. The more I watched, the more amazed I was that they had set a rhythm that dodged each break in the sidewalk.

“I just noticed that I avoid cracks in the sidewalk,” I said to my friend.

“You know, I do, too,” she replied.

Two women long past their youth, with no grandchildren in sight, and still they walked between the cracks.

My mother never had a broken back. I noticed that my sister, June, doesn’t hesitate to step on cracks. Mom would have been a pretzel because of her if the rhyme was true. I don’t have a broken back and my kids trounced on the lines. Maybe they did just to see if I would fall over broken. Wouldn’t put it past them.

Perhaps second childhood is making a comeback for my friend and I. Or maybe old habits are just hard to forget.

“Grammy, do you know what happens if you step on a crack?” Gabby asked when she was younger. Everything is new for children. It seemed wrong to tell her that my grandparents and great grandparents probably repeated the same rhyme. So I let her tell me what it meant and avoided cracks….well, I was probably avoiding them anyway and didn’t realize it.

I decided to check online to see what origins I could find for the saying. The explanations run from simple to terrifying to stupid.

Well, I feel stupid when I don’t step on cracks, and it is terrifying to discover that I am on ‘auto avoidance’. I think I’ll start walking on the lines. I can’t break Mom’s back. I might trip on a crack and break my own, but I’m willing to take the chance.

Time for change! Go wild! Step on a crack!!!!!

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