Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cristos the Spartan and The Magical Math Team Dress

     The last time we heard from our hero Cristos the Spartan he was in search of the legendary lost bathroom on the campus of The University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Since that adventure many other escapades have occurred, but the most recent is worthy of repeating.  It all started with a little girl, a dress, a math team deadline, and evil lurking around every corner.  This journey took our protagonist through three trials, not unlike the Labors of Hercules penned by the ancient Greeks.  However, Hercules had 12 labors and there were only 3 trials for our hero Cristos.  No matter, the story must go on.  The trials consisted of the dress from hades, the crossing of the harrowing intersection, and the shocking phone call.  Cristos the Spartan rides again!  I, for one, am glad he's out there.

     The morning began with the routine activities of any morning at the domicile of Cristos the Spartan.  However, on this particular morning Cristos was given instructions from the Queen Mama Buzzkill.  The boy who would be King and continue the line of Spartan awesomeness needed to be at the middle school early for an expected departure for a math team competition.  The Queen had left early, but she did not account for the dress choice that the Princess of the clan would choose.  Game on.

     The air was thick with tension as a war of wills continued from upstairs to down.  It had to be this dress no matter what the cost.  No amount of bribery or coercion would convince her any different.  Rice Krispy treat offerings fell upon deaf ears.  The dress in question was one of many colors thrown together as if by the chance of a thousand paint brushes with different hues.  It was a paisley tie-dye combination that was difficult to match.  Cristos knew that the elders would say, "Clothes should not match, but they should go."  This was a riddle that the elders obviously put together for confusion and pain.  The girl knew that her brother must depart soon, but this only seemed to intensify her unwillingness for compromise.  What could be a solution?  This was a situation that could not be solved, but had to be fixed.  The ultimatum was given, "Departure time is t minus 15 minutes and counting" declared Cristos.  Then came the passive resistance.  Not a forceful protest, but an arms crossed head down silence that would have rivaled a sit in from the 1960s.  How do you root out one who does not want to be rooted?  I surely do not know.  Cristos sent in the big gun, the boy who will one day rule over the vast kingdom of which we speak, the math whiz himself:  Young J-Jam, Jesse James, old #7, The Dirty Base Stealer....blonde hair, blue eyed, charm personified!  He could move the younger sister!  It was the last chance to arrive on time!  One glance at those blue eyes and his concern over the importance of arriving for the good of the math team seemed to move the protesting young girl.  I hear him say, "I just want to do what's best for my team to help them win, and if that's getting to school on time- then that's what I want to do.  Can you help me?"  We settled on a less colorful skirt and shirt, but movement was beginning to occur.  Many tears were shed on this morning, but enough about Cristos.  The journey had only just begun.

     The crossing was known to be treacherous.  Cristos knew that this would not be an easy venture to make it across the street to the middle school.  Traffic was swarming like ants on a popsicle stick.  The hope for arriving on time was sinking like the Titanic!  There was not any assistance.  Those who direct the horrendous traffic were absent, as was normally the case.  It was like entering the Death Star while driving the Millennium Falcon, but the force was with our heroes today!  Only a few instances of unenlightened driving caused momentary problems.  Going straight comes before a left turn otherwise you crash.  This is as true as the moon glows at night.  However, directly in the midst of the crossing a problem arose!  The little girl absent her colorful dress bellowed, "Can you put on Welcome to New York!?!"  NO!!!  This couldn't be.  Substituting Taylor Swift for Guns N Roses.  Cristos was vexed.  Terribly vexed.  Yet, as the old saying goes, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."  Cue Taylor Swift.  Crossing complete.  The Quantitative Literacy Gangster delivered!  """Walking through a crowd, the village is aglow....Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats....Welcome to New York"""  What does that even mean!!  Cristos was bewildered by Taylor Swift to be sure!

     The Princess had to be dropped off at her school also on this day, and the weather was not cooperating.  Copious amounts of rain fell all over North Jefferson County, and the rivers were close to overflowing their banks!  Cristos pulled up to the Elementary School and Princess Colorful Dress Madino looked down as she attempted to exit the vehicle, and a pool of stagnant water blocked her departure point.  Cristos had to act fast to avoid another outburst from the child.  He attempted to move her from the backseat to the sidewalk with sheer Herculean strength, but it soon became apparent that the leverage that was needed could not be obtained from the front seat.  He then did what any good hero or father would do.  He climbed to the backseat to assist her in avoiding the reservoir of putrid water.  Cristos lifted her up and over the water and in so doing removed himself from his own vehicle from the backseat directly into the very water that he was trying to avoid!  Princess Madino was safe and dry, but the same could not be said for Cristos' kicks, socks, and legs.  The look of confusion by all who witnessed this man exiting the backseat of his own vehicle were abundant.  Cristos smiled and walked around to the front of his vehicle and re-entered.  He left with the quickness.

     The sun was shining through the rain at this point for Cristos.  All was well that ended well.  The goal was obtained, and Captain Crunch Crunch Berry Cereal awaited the victor!  Nonetheless, Cristos thought it necessary to contact the Queen to let her know of the travails of the morning.  While on the phone it became apparent that something was not right.  The Queen said, "What!  Wait!  I just got a text from Jesse and he said he was in a wreck."  The very merger of the words "Jesse" and "Wreck" caused alarm that cannot be expressed.  Cristos' heart began to race.  Concern changed to fear.  The very thought of your child being in a place of pain or fear without the ability to get to them stirs a dread deep inside a parent.  This is a feeling that no mother or father ever wants to experience.  Cristos dropped the phone and ran to his cell phone and discovered several texts from his son.  It read, "We just got into a wreck I'm ok but it was scary."  Finally the boy was reached by phone, and he explained that it was only a minor collision and not a catastrophe.  He and his fellow Mathletes were now walking to the arena of competition.  The ever smart and agile Jesse had even taken a picture of the offending vehicle and texted it to Cristos.  Immediately the thought, "I will have my vengeance, whether in this life or the next," but then a calmness that can only be achieved with the knowledge that your children are well.  One would suppose that matching a colorful dress and arriving on time are not of any vital significance.  One would suppose correctly.

Post Script:  The Math Team did great.  Finished 3rd in the County, and the one and only Jesse did very well himself almost cracking the top 20 overall and finishing 5th in something or another.  I'm unclear on what, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.  I'm a History guy, and History guys do not like math.  That's a fact.  Maddie got to wear the colorful dress the next day thanks to Mama.  There's still not anyone directing traffic at the Middle School.  Cristos abides.

If you've read this and have no idea who or what Cristos the Spartan is, then check out the following for some background.