Light My Fire
A Unique Perspective on Survival by Stroke Survivor and Comedian John Kawie
Her beauty pulled me in like a tractor-beam, and we were just getting to know each other when my cousin Rosemary barked, "OK kids, time to move on." Our connection was shattered like a line drive through a picture window, and my magnificent new friend instantly flew away.
We were in the greenhouse of the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and her name was Papilio Ulysses, a species known for their majestic electric-blue wingspan. This was the first leg of a planned day trip with my cousins, and I could have stayed at this Sandals Resort for butterflies a bit longer. I mean, how can you absorb thousands of these exotic, fluttering wonders in under one hour? But my tour director cousin and her husband Ray were anxious for Marilyn and me to get to stop No. 2 on the itinerary: The Yankee Candle Shop. Plus, they had the car.
As we motored down tree-lined country roads I’m thinking what’s the rush? It hadn’t even hit noon. We’ll watch some Nathan Hale look-alikes re-enacting colonial candle making in days of yore, buy a couple of vanilla votives and we’re outta there.
Suddenly Rosemary squealed an exuberant "Here we are!" I looked for the quaint cottage, but all I could see was a red barn-shaped building the size of a GM assembly plant. There was a gaggle of handicapped parking spots, and we slipped into the closest one. Although in this case "close" was still an ambulating nightmare. By the time we got to the door, I was wasted.
Then "Greeter Bob" appeared, extended his hand, helped me over the threshold and handed me a map. You know you’re in trouble when you need a Rand McNally Road Atlas to shop.
Store? This was a theme park with over 400,000 candles under one roof. In no time I was swept up by the hording shoppers, a veritable vortex of frenzied parents and toddlers that made mosh pits look like Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Our first stop was Scenter of the Universe where more than 200 scents collide in your olfactory membranes all at once. I not only lost my sense of smell, I was blinded by the luminescent floor to ceiling palettes of wax. And this was just the tip of the iceberg. The swell of humanity surfed me through the cluster of jumbo spider webs in the Spooky Room, landing me in Santa’s Workshop "where it snows every four minutes." I tried to get my footing but I lost my balance and slid into Popcornopolis, taking down one of its skyscrapers made of — you guessed it — popcorn!
Right around Fudgeworld I felt a tug on my arm and was yanked from the mob. "Found him!" Ray yelled and dragged me to a bench where my crew had set up base camp. Enough of this sensory processing overload. The only scent I needed was "Smelling Salts."
Then I spotted my favorite attraction: a security guard standing in a doorway under a sign that read "EXIT." And we did.
After all of this physically challenging adventure and character building struggle, I longed for the peaceful Zen mindfulness of the conservatory. That’s when it occurred to me that the morning was beauty and the afternoon, beast. I suppose you need to experience one in order to appreciate the other.
For every Brain Freeze video sold from 8/1/10 through 7/13/15, and after the recovery of startup costs, Parma Recordings will donate 17% of the retail sales price to the American Stroke Association. Brain Freeze contains adult language and situations that may not be suitable for all audiences.
This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Stroke Association.