Remember when you were young and anything was possible? When holding two wooden spoons and banging on an old pot made you a rockstar? When a cardboard box became an intergalactic vessel? I do. I was reminded of it as I sat at my desk at work.
The day started slow. Today's assignment? Sit and read the Standard Operating Procedures handbook for our office. Riveting. You'd think the unexpected gift of a greasy bear-claw would have at least spiced things up a bit, but I'm still bored and now my stomach hurts.
As I stared at the computer screen, the cyber ink began to melt into a massive, meaningless black blob. Undecipherable. How could I complete my assigned task when the words wouldn't sit static? My eyes began wandering, searching for the relief of distraction. My hole punch. It's amazing the things you find interest in. It sat there silver and cold and yet seeing it sent a dusty memory to the front of my mind.
In the memory I was sitting on the floor at my mom's work. Papers were scattered around in front of me and I sat holding a silver hole punch in my hand. The memory played on the screens of my mind like a movie. Participating as the viewer, I watched myself sitting, making loud "CHOMP CHOMP" noises followed by grunts of happy satiation. I then realized exactly what my younger self was doing. The hole punch in his hand transformed into a small hungry dragon, its silver snout biting down relentlessly upon layers and layers of paper. Dragons eat paper? Who knew? As the sheets of paper became riddled with the circular bite marks of the dragon, the feeding slowed. The frenzy faded and the dragon stepped slowly away from the paper. My younger self began making pained noises. The kind you hear after everyone steps away from the table at Thanksgiving. The dragon then made one more giant moan, opened his mouth wide and began spewing forth perfectly circular paper bites all over the floor. The dragon stopped and seemed to be feeling a little better when all of a sudden he would be thrown into another fit of paper spew-age. This seemed to amuse little me because I started laughing out loud. After little me composed himself, he picked up the dragon and the feeding frenzy began anew.
The memory faded to black and I was back at my desk wearing a big grin. I looked over at my hole punch and picked it up. I was curious if it was hungry so I found some old paper in my recycle bin (it's San Francisco, my dragon needs to be green) and the modern day feeding frenzy commenced. Hole punch bites flew EVERYWHERE. All over my desk. If you had walked by at that moment you might have thought me Crazy, Mad Hatter status, but what was I to do? I needed to feed my dragon. When I was done, I swept up the mess, sat back down and got back to work.
The memory was a much needed visit to my old self. A nice little reminder to shake off the dust of complacency that so often settles on us when we get stuck in routine. I hope I remember to visit little-me a bit more often. I'll take his hand and we will reminisce. And then he'll remind me to feed my dragon.