Lighting up!

Lighting up!


When I was a kid I loved to play with Lite-Brite. I creatively fit small colored plastic pegs into a panel on a light box that illuminated my masterpieces. The brightness of the colors was greater than I could achieve with my crayolas. I needed the spike that came from my eyes mainlining the vital color eruptions.

When I finished one of these electric gems, my parents would photograph it with the Instamatic. But it would never capture the true glory. I’d get all depressed, lay on the floor, and say things like, “Oh, to be so misunderstood,” or, “This is what it must be like to be God.”

I realized I would never be recognized for my electric light talents unless I devoted myself to a work of such greatness that it would certainly hang in a dark room at the Blowser Community Art Museum. So I devoted myself and was 14 hours into what I was sure would be my Lite-Bright Magnum Opus when my sister surprised me with a shot from her water pistol.  The water splashed onto the Lite-Bright and I got electrocuted.

Suddenly the room disappeared and lights rapidly flashed past me. I figured I was dying, which was exciting because I thought I would certainly become famous for the creation I left behind because being dead really helps an artist’s career. But suddenly I was still alive and on the cold floor of a mildewed artist’s studio. I got excited again because I’d read the autobiography of the great sculpturer Rodin, and in it he shared how his work only really took off after he had a mystical vision.

A long haired and bearded mysticalized man was charcoal drawing an image of a woman. He looked over at me and did one of those things where one of a person’s eyebrows raises higher than you think it ever could. He began to include me in the drawing. As you might have inferred, I like attention, so I began to pose. I did the haughty look over the shoulder, followed by touching my bottom lip as I looked up and pondered, and of course, the pout.

After a few minutes, I got dizzy and things got blurry, and the room disappeared and the flashing lights returned. Suddenly I was back home, laying on the floor with an incredible headache. My Lite-Brite was smoking. The plastic pegs had melted into the panel. All the lights in the house were out.

My parents came running into the room with great worry for me. But when they saw I was okay and the state of the Lite-Brite, they blamed me for the outage, said the cost of the Lite-Brite was coming out of my allowance, and it was back to crayolas for me

As I lay in bed that night, I realized I had time traveled! I looked through my Archie Comic’s History of Art and came across a cartoon of Leonardo da Vinci and knew that’s the man I’d posed for. I got excited and woke up my sister. She panicked and covered her head because she thought I was going to clobber her for the electrocution. I said I wouldn’t and told her what had happened and that I needed her help to do it again.

We snuck downstairs and went into the living room. I turned on the TV and hugged it while my sister poured a water pitcher over me.  There was a loud crackling sound as the TV shorted out and smoke billowed. I got a slight buzz but I was still in the room. My parents ran downstairs in a panic, thinking the house was on fire. Once they figured it out, I saw this look of disappointment pass over them that sent shivers down my bones.

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