One winter, John asked if I wanted to stay at his house in Toronto for a week. I said yes, and within a few weeks I was in the big city.
Soon after I arrived, John decided that we should go sledding. He knew of a really big hill we could go down, and he promised me it would be very fun. I was skeptical, as in my child brain I knew that once we had rode the sleds down the hill once, all fun would be over; having to bring the sled back up the hill completely negated any fun that would be had during the ride down.
Before I continue, I should mention that one of John's dogs was a massive Doberman named Sebastian. Despite this dog having a sophisticated and classy sounding name, it was as dumb as a stump.
Despite my objections, John convinced me to go to the hill with him. We brought Sebastian along as well because John thought that Sebastian would get bored without him. Not that the dog really needed entertainment anyway; it just sat and stared at the wall and seemed perfectly content with its life as it was.
So after a short walk, we arrived at this big hill. John had obviously exaggerated how awesome it was, but we slid down anyway. After repeating the process of sliding down and slowly walking the sleds back up, I started to get really sick of it.
And that's when I came up with what my ten year old self considered to be a brilliant idea.
Why, I thought, should we have to bring these sleds up ourselves, when we have a massive stupid dog to do the job for us?
The idea was clearly genius, and I informed John of it. He thought it was smart too, so we decided to tie Sebastian's leash to our sleds, so that not only could the dog pull the sleds back up the hill, but we could ride the sleds at the same time! Unfortunately, there was an obvious flaw to this part of the plan.
Our sleds were little more than flat sheets of plastic. There was nothing to tie the dog to.
This is when I came up with my second amazing idea.
We should tie the leash around our necks!
Clearly an inspired notion.
Excitedly, I volunteered to be the first one to test this plan out. John happily tied Sebastian's leash around my throat as my mind swam with visions of a future where children would no longer have to suffer through the torture of dragging their sleds back up the hill. I would be legendary; I would go down in history as the smartest kid in the world!
With the leash securely fastened around my neck, I took my seat on what I was sure was destined to become a famous vehicle along the lines of the DeLorean time machine or at least Herbie the Love Bug.
And with that, I took off down the hill. The ride was exhilarating, the dog running along beside me, my excitement compounded by the fact that I was in for a leisurely ride back up the slope as well, courtesy of Sebastian.
After coming to a stop at the bottom, I gave John the thumbs up. Standing at the top of the hill, he called Sebastian.
This is where I ran into a problem.
I had effectively hung myself. Hung myself from a mentally deficient Doberman.
My air supply was cut off, and I could do nothing but flail around like a dying fish as Sebastian hurtled up the hill. I tried to undo the leash from around my neck, but found the task impossible; John's Boy Scout days had served him well, and the leash was tied with a knot any leader would be proud of.
I believe it was at this point that John realized the flaw in The Plan. Panicking, he ran down the hill towards my thrashing body, screaming at Sebastian to stop. Unfortunately, the dog was too stupid to realize what was going on, and only ran towards John at a faster pace, trailing my body behind him as I bounced over rocks and small plants.
Finally John intercepted us and stopped Sebastian and I. Unfortunately, by this point the leash had tightened so much around my neck that neither of us could get our fingers around it. John tried to undo his knot - alas, his knot-tying skills were to great for even him to overcome.
I was starting to black out when John whipped out his pocket-knife. Thinking that he had decided not to let me suffer, I closed my eyes in anticipation of the final blow. However, John had had the bright idea of using the knife to cut the leash off of my neck. In a few seconds, I felt a massive release of pressure, and gulped in the sweet, sweet winter air. Sebastian took off, and John and I sat there in utter shock at what had just happened. We swore never to speak of it again, and I wore a turtleneck for the rest of the week to conceal my bruises.
I don't mind walking my sled back up the hill so much anymore.