From time to time, we hear of feats of wonder and intellect that are so unexpected, that we usually remain skeptical about the validity or the impact of the event until long after the moment passes. Then, and only then, do we fully comprehend and appreciate the level of time, effort, and raw determination that went into slaying that dragon.

This may or may not be one of those times.

Image: Sandra Ballance
Photo by: Sandra Ballance

Monday evening, I decided to take my family to the most high end restaurant that someone on an exorbitant radio salary can afford.

You guessed it. CRACKER BARREL!

Not only can you peruse the aisles of long forgotten candies, all-year Christmas displays, and Boxcar Willie CD's, but they make a pretty mean fried chicken dinner (along with bottomless soft drinks).

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The best part of Cracker Barrel is the ability to exercise your cranial muscles with a brain teaser game while you wait. We've all seen it, the game where you remove pegs by "jumping over" them until you can jump no more. The object of the game is to have the fewest number of pegs left in the board, with one being the ultimate goal.

In my 54 years of life, I have never - ever - been able to get down to more than two pegs remaining in the game. I'm not sure that anyone can. It's like Rubik's Cube: only Rhodes Scholars and 8-year-old super geniuses can figure it out. It's near impossible for a simple man who makes his living telling questionable dad jokes on the radio each morning. Or was it?

As I waited for my fried chicken dinner and attempted to tune out the din of screaming children at adjacent tables, I picked up the peg game and made (what I assumed would be) another feeble attempt at defeating the beast.

I began slowly and methodically removing peg after peg, tuning out all other noise or distraction. I began to increase my pace as the pegs began to fall, one after the other. Suddenly, I found myself with just four pegs left, all grouped together at the lower right hand side of the triangle. However, since it was a triangle, it really could have been any side if you just turn it.

Time stood still as I thought three moves ahead. I calculated each pursuant move as if it were a study in quantum physics. Finally, I had but two pegs left, side-by-side.

Mission = Accomplished.

It was done. I had beaten the unbeatable. What so many had failed to do was now part of my legacy. The Cracker Barrel Peg Game was my zenith. I'd never felt so alive. I smiled at my wife, who seemed to beam with pride... or the fact that they'd refilled her iced tea. I looked to her children for affirmation, only to find their heads buried deep in their cellphones, oblivious to the history that had been made before them.

I was a man. A King. A God.

And then, they refilled my Coke.

Best. Day. Ever.

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