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Denver Omlit was an optimist through and through.
He and his neighbor Ed were admiring Ed's new Corvette convertible.
"I knew you could do it", said Denver, "because you set your goal,
pictured it, believed it, and went after it."
Ed said, "I won it in a lottery."
Not to be dismissed so easily, Denver said
"You believed in your heart that you had the winning ticket."
"With all the crime in this city, I'm scared something will happen to it.
I never owned anything this expensive before."
"Think only positive thoughts", Denver said,
"and nothing bad can happen to your car."
Ed said, "You think you can do anything if you believe it?"
Omlit said, "You're reality is a product of your thoughts."
Ed was thinking a violent thought about Denver right then.
"OK. Let's see you fly", said Ed.
"I don't want to fly", said Denver.
"But you could, if you set your mind to it, right?"
"Yes, definitely. You are what you think", said Denver.
"Then prove it, bigmouth!” said Ed.
The optimist wasn't around for several days,
and then he was seen on the roof of their seventeen storey building,
carrying out several large items toward the Forty-seventh Street side.
The items were:
two light-weight balsa surfboards,
a large cardboard carton,
and a garbage bag with something lumpy in it.
He took a can of quick drying spray glue from the bag,
and sprayed both sides of the boards.
Then he dipped the boards into the box one-by-one,
and brought them out covered with feathers.
He leaned the boards on the foot high wall at the roof's edge,
and while they dried he got some other equipment from the box...
a football helmet, goggles, and two rolls of industrial duct tape.
He put on the helmet and goggles first,
because according to his plan it would be difficult later.
A crowd was gathering down on the street.
He turned back toward the roof entrance door and clapped his hands twice.
Three musicians came out,
carrying a bass drum, and accordion, and a police whistle.
They gave a raggedy fanfare as a young lady in a bathing suit twirled out,
did a circus curtsey like a magician's assistant,
and began duct taping the feathery wings to Denver's arms.
The bass drum beat slowly to raise the suspense.
From the garbage bag, the assistant retrieved a bullhorn,
and held it to Denver Omlit's mouth as he spoke to the crowd below.
"If a bird can do it with a brain the size of a pea,
I can do it with my wonderful pineapple of a brain.
I believe with all my heart that I can fly.”
He spread his wings with a flourish and stepped of the roof.
As he fell straight down he pep-talked himself.
"I can do it! I can soar like a mink!"
He looked down and saw the flagpole on the 14th floor.
It was coming at him right between the legs.
He hit it like a wishbone and the flag staff broke off
and started falling with him.
"Embrace the pain", he shouted! "The pain is our friend!"
At the tenth floor his pants caught on a window air conditioner,
ripped off, and flew away.
"Ah, that breeze feels good", he yelled!
The flagpole and the air conditioner had slowed his descent slightly,
and he imagined he had planned it that way.
At the fifth floor, the optimist said "So far, so good."
The updraft was gathering under his football helmet,
causing a slight parachute effect.
He hit a small window awning on the third floor,
and then the big awning at the street entrance to the building.
It became a trampoline that bounced him toward the street,
where Ed's Corvette convertible was parked... with the top up.
The convertible top crushed nicely,
affording Denver a comfortable landing in the red leather upholstery.
The above account is reported here
exactly as it was presented at Ed's trial for killing the optimist.
Copyright © October 19, 2006 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.