Nothing gives a higher sense of power than the grainy wooden handle of a broom, or a real baseball bat in late adolescence. I remember being nine years old and feeling my heart pounding in my chest. I was the next batter up, but this was no baseball game. Not whiffle-ball. Not stick-ball. This was a different sport.
Will I miss repeatedly, without ever connecting broomstick to pinata, and embarrass myself again? Will I approach this year with a new strategy? Who is pulling the tethered rope this time? I think it’s dad. I can feel his evil plan lurking in his eyes. He’s a trickster and will make me swing for my life. Will I ignore the savvy grown-ups and their auditory directions? Nerves strike as I wonder if I will ruin the party by accidentally nailing an innocent bystander. Parents are warning the littlest kids salivating over candy that will surely rain down from a shattered pinata. Dulces Mexicanos and American candy if we’re lucky. I can’t disappoint them, but they better back away and let me do what I came to do.
The blindfold goes on. Little do they know I am way smarter than my tia, who is dulling my vision with an old bandana. I shake my head just enough to see through the gap created between the blindfold and the bridge of my nose. Adrenaline sets in as I fool the crowd into believing I am truly without sight. I can see my feet - a clear upper hand in the game.
Large, warm hands grip my miniscule shoulders. OF COURSE! How could I expect my family to take it easy on me this year? Surely it would anger my dead Aztec warrior - Conquistador ancestors to skip the traditional vigorous spinning of the young pinata matador. I’m dizzy now. Don’t they know how dizzy I get. Years later I learn that this is what is referred to as the “fog of war”.
Dad, the pinata puppeteer, is intent on not letting junior get a few licks in. He floats the cardboard sculpture adorned with vibrant tissue near my face. I have an adoration for this pinata, as it bares a close resemblance to Michelangelo (the ninja turtle, not the Renaissance artist), my favorite of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He floats it long enough for my little nostrils to detect it’s presence.
I wind up for the swing. I take aim.
Laughter ensues, clearly this blinded boy needs help. The crowd offers assistance-
“Esta detras de ti”
“Ritchie back away!”
Along with every other preposition imaginable, that disorient and bewilder. With every bit of my being, I summon Babe Ruth, I summon He-man Master of the Universe, and I summon Leonardo (the ninja turtle not Renaissance artist). I swing. Yet the target is elusive. I swing again. And again. A little side note: official pinata rules are non-existent and thus the crowd determines how long this embarrassment goes on. I swing again.
Alas! After an exhaustive number of misses this Charlie Brown kicks his football. I connect and in a few successful chain of swings I begin to feel like I have drawn candy-shaped blood. Have you ever seen a nine year old get a taste of rage?
Someone has taken me and put me in a submissive hold no kid can squirm out of and they remove the blunt shaped object from my tiny white knuckles. The blindfold comes off and the broomstick gets handed to the next valiant fighter. After a brief survey of the situation I see that the pinata remains mostly intact. A small gash exists on Mikey’s turtle shell. Clearly a worthy adversary.
In customary fashion an older kid will have to finish a job. I am happy to contribute. And even more eagerly so, I will be ready to reach for the swath of candy when it comes crashing down.
DrewBoy Creative extends a call for art to artists and dreamers to propose their own artistic interpretations of the Piñata. Piñatas of all shapes and sizes will be accepted for this juried show.
Exhibition and Deadline: Submissions are due by 12:00 am April 13, 2019. Accepted artwork needs to be on site no later than April 22, 2019, 285 Williams Blvd., Richland, WA 99352. Exhibition of art will run from May 3 - July 7, with the opening reception scheduled on May 3, 2019, 6 pm - 9 pm.