Holy crap, I guess I am competitive!

By Don Rush
By Don Rush

Not to toot my own horn, but, the other week I did my part for humanity and donated a pint of blood (thank you, thank you, hugs and kisses), and in the act of squirting out the red stuff, I kinda’ came to the conclusion, gee, I am competitive.

I, Donald P. (for Pugnacious) Rush, like the thrill of the game, even if there is no game afoot. Even if there is nobody to play with there is always a way to compete, it’s just a matter of figuring out the “game.” For my competitive nature you can blame Shirley, my dear, saintly mother, for ignoring me — her first born and only son — as a child in favor of spoiling her three cute daughters. It’s all my parents’ fault! (Just kidding, Ma and wink, wink.)
During these lonely times I had to learn to play with myself (in a nice way). I can remember sitting in my room, all of seven years old, spinning in circles on my butt, making up songs. Had anyone peeked in the window during these alone times, I am sure they would have come to the conclusion, “That boy is touched!”
At any rate, fast forward decades to the other week. Bored, laying down, with a rubber tube stuck in my left arm, pumping out blood into a rubber sack — and an idea popped into my head.
“How about seeing if you can finish up faster than the guy next you, who started giving blood a couple of minutes before you?”
I answered myself, “YES! Let’s do this. We can WIN!”
As a side note, while not a sore loser, I loathe losing. In the 10th grade, during spirit week, there was a eating contest between the classes. Bananas. Nobody in the 10th grade had entered the contest, and because the whole event was on a schedule, the 12th and 11th graders had started on their individual banana piles. Then a roar started, growing louder. Tenth graders everywhere, in one, united voice chanted one name to answer their call,

“Rush. Rush. RUSH!”

I think it was like a three-minute competition. By the time I made it down the bleachers, across the floor to a pile of untouched ‘nanners set aside for the 10th grade eater, there was a minute, 40 seconds left on the clock.

Bananas everywhere feared for their lives the day Don entered the eatin' contest.
Bananas everywhere feared for their lives the day Don entered the eatin’ contest.

The demon inside your hero (that would be me) came to life. Possessed. As if aided by some dark magic of the nether world, bananas disappeared down my gullet. The older eaters didn’t stand a chance. I had answered the call, won the competition (I think seven or eight bananas paid the ultimate price at my hands), and saved our class’ honor.

The ensuing two years I was able to hold on to the eating crown by downing lots of powered donuts (11th grade) and cherry pies in the 12th grade — even after a pie fell on the floor and had to be retrieved. That act of heroism landed yours truly in the pages of the ever-loving Clarkston News. (See below for the Clarkston News archive shot.)
When my sons were growing up, I would let them win — sometimes — at cards, board games like Candy Land, Trouble and Sorry, and air hockey. I figured competing, winning and losing is like life. In the game called life (not the board game) sometimes you win, and a lot of the time you lose, but all the time you gotta’ play and handle the outcomes gracefully

All hail the king, baby!
All hail the king, baby!

Wow. That was a side-track from donating blood. Where was I? Laying down (check), bored (check), got an idea (check) . . . oh, yes. So, I answered myself, “YES! Let’s do this. We can WIN!”
Instead of twirling with my fingers the little rod I was holding, like the nurse instructed, I started squeezing it at regular intervals. One, two, three, squeeze! One, two, three, squeeze!
And, son of a gun — I won! The little monitor thingy on my blood bag beeped before the other guys’ bag beeped. I said to the nurse when she walked up to unhook me, “That took what, five minutes?”
She looked at a monitor and answered, “No, four minutes 54 seconds.”
Hot damn! I hopped off the table, downed a plastic bottle of water, went back to the office and posted this little line on Facebook. “I just posted my Personal Best Time! 4 minutes, 54 seconds to pump out a unit of blood for the American Red Cross. BAM!
I was feeling pretty good with myself when my computer pinged. I had a message. This from retired Clarkston educator George White, “4 min 31 seconds today at the MSU credit union.” He ended his one-up-man-ship with a winky smiley face emoji.
Damn! I hate losing!
Send your, concerns, ideas and comments to: DontRushDon@gmail.com

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