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King of the Mountain


Do you remember playing “King of the Mountain?”

In my childhood, the game was played with a group of boys upon their joyful discovery of a large sand or gravel pile. The game began when one boy sprinted to the pile, climbed to the top and raised his arms in triumph. In a loud voice, he declared to the world: “I’m King of the Mountain!”

Securing his position – feet firmly balanced – he glared at every face beneath him, taunting his subjects to attempt his removal.

In the embarrassing silence that followed, boy after boy searched the depths of his young heart, hoping to find the courage to climb the mountain, shove the King from its pinnacle and claim the mighty throne for himself. As usual in this game, those without true courage would urge another to attempt the dangerous coup.

You can do it Johnny”, one of them shouted to the biggest among them. Others joined the chorus and looked toward Johnny.

You can do it, Johnny! Do it!”

Armed with a mixture of hubris, fantasy and flowering testosterone, Johnny raised his arms and let-go with a battle cry before beginning his assault on ‘the mountain’. The King postured his stance in preparation for the attack, while his remaining subjects yelled in defiance.

Knock him down, Johnny! You can do it!”

But just as Johnny reached the top and stood before the King, his large frame lost its footing in the loose gravel, and the King laughingly sent him tumbling backwards.

Others would follow Johnny’s lead without success, and the King remained proudly at the top of the mountain, while his ever-diminishing kingdom of young boys turned to Billy Jenkins – the smallest among them.

No one seriously believed little Billy could unseat the King, but everyone knew he’d do anything on a dare.

Thus, began another boyhood game wherein those without true courage feel somehow lifted by laughing at the least among them. As always, Billy was not aware of this part of the game, but as always, he took the dare, and it became a ‘game within a game’.

As Billy began his struggle up the gravel mountain, the King joined in the laughter of his cowardly subjects. Not bothering to secure his footing, the King relaxed into a haughty, slouched position, his hands on his hips.

Suddenly, just as Billy reached the summit and attempted to stand, some boy in the crowd yelled, “King, your pants are un-zipped!”

In that blink of a moment, the King’s gaze turned from his challenger. Little Billy lost his footing and stumbled forward – just far enough to grab the King’s ankle, causing ‘His Majesty’ to fall backwards into the abyss of embarrassment and defeat.

This gave rise to still another game.

With a clenched fist, the deposed King ran toward the boy in the crowd who’d caused the distraction, while little Billy quickly abdicated his reign of the mountain to join the growing circle of boys gathering around this new game. One would win, one would lose, but there would be stories to tell, girls to impress, and still more games to play – games within games.

Some of those young boys of my childhood have long since passed away, while others, in the frailty of their old age now stumble on flat ground. Likewise, the wide-eyed girls they once impressed now hide their aging faces behind social media photos of flowers, pets and grandchildren.

Over the years, I’ve restricted my participation in these games to the simple observation of them, and I finally acquired the discipline to keep my mouth shut. Now in the waning years of my life, I’m content to be home for supper before the street lights begin their silent vigil, safe among friends and family who neither care for this game nor see its importance.

Barring a shortage of young boys, and assuming the Contractor doesn’t remove it, the gravel pile will be there tomorrow, and this boyhood game will continue. Aside from a skinned knee or a bloody nose, little harm will come from it.

But today, grown men play this game.

They call it “Globalism”, “One World Government”, and “The New World Order”. In truth, it’s nothing more than “King of the Mountain”, but the stakes are terrifying.

As always, your comments are welcome to my email address below.


© 2017 David Bradshaw aka ‘Dave from Texas’

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