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  • I remember wondering what Evil Knievel had to do with a five-year old girl. What the hell was my mother thinking when she bought me a metal lunchbox with the daring stunts of Evil Knievel on his motorbike in midair, jumping over more than a dozen buses, embossed on all sides?

    The limited wisdom and lack of experience of a kindergarten child did not prevent me from reflecting on this point. The answer was obvious though, it was the only lunchbox on sale, all the others must have cost twice as much. With five kids in the family, there was no room for requests for pink Barbie lunchboxes.

    So there I was, obediently taking my lunchbox to kindergarten, not trying to forget it at home on purpose, and no one in my class said a thing about it. Phew.

    That Evil Knievel lunchbox eventually grew on me, and I gradually, unconsciously, started to identify myself with the embossed man and his daredevil attempts. I was rather proud of him, and quietly celebrated his successes as my own. I’m not sure what eventually happened to him though, as growing up meant widening my horizons to include other heroes, and not having enough time to follow-up on the older ones.

    After going through the kindergarten years with my trusty lunchbox, after faithfully carrying the countless fried-bacon-on-white-bread sandwiches along with a tetra pack juice drink, Evil Knievel finally gave in to the humid air of the tropics, and was rusting in all corners and edges after a couple of years of service. That did not dampen my respect and admiration for this man, whose courage, I thought, reflected my own, albeit in a different way, and in a different setting. That’s how five-year-old-me saw myself, with the help of my lunchbox.

    I wondered if he ever felt that across the seas, in a totally different part of the world, a little girl with warm, straight, jet-black hair saw herself as a part of him, and if he ever took comfort at the thought.

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