Sometime in my late twenties, I found my dad’s old bicycle helmet. And in this case, “bicycle” means “Harley,” not “Huffy.” Next to the odd-man-out-pick-up-truck-ski-lift, this was the greatest innovation in downhill sledding in the Greater Valley Forge area since 1955. It was no longer completely unsafe to go down face-first skeleton-style. Once you got passed the initial gag reflex to close your eyes in the face of such danger on a dimly lit 30 degree grade hill, you could just barely see passed the wall of snow shooting up from the front of the toboggan. Why since 1955? No, not because that’s when the flux capacitor was invented. Because that’s when the bathtub was invented.
The bathtub wasn’t so much invented then; I’m sure it had been around for a lot longer than that. But this is the first time in recorded history that someone was stupid enough to think it would be a good idea to pile a bunch of 7-year old kids in it and push it down a steep hill into the woods. And this is not one of the bathtubs we’re all familiar with now. This is a solid marble (or whatever) Cialis-looking bathtub.
I can’t imagine they had really planned ahead for how this would end, because every scenario looks pretty bleak. But I guess that’s part of the fun of being stupid. The Sixth Sense would have been much less entertaining if I knew how it was going to end.
From what I gather from his telling of the story, there were about 8 kids in this tub. I’m not sure how or if it stayed upright on the way down the hill. All I really know about the decent down the hill are two things. My father was lucky because he was light and he bounced out early. And by the time the trip was over, there were about 5 or 6 broken arms and legs.
Despite his telling of the story, I have still never managed to try sled down a hill into the woods in a solid marble bathtub. And I’m kinda glad he didn’t tell me about this story when I was young and stupid enough to try it, because there’s a very good chance Mike DeStephano and I would have found a tub and it would have likely ended up shattered in 40 pieces on Prospect Ave with 3 or 4 kids still inside it.