Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Things I Did as a Boy (and Shudder to Recall)

Got boys?

I believe myself, these days, to be a relatively upstanding fellow--never been arrested, always seen as a "good kid," fairly respectful of 'da man.' Let me tell you about my youth...

Age...9? My friends and I found some cars (probably '50s vintage). We liked the "diamonds" on the front seat (you know, shattered safety glass). We decided to make more. In the end, we had smashed all avaible glass... This theme returns, later.

Age...10? My friends and I spent the afternoon throwing rocks through the windows of a greenhouse (the old-fasioned kind, many-paned in wooden frames). I am horrified, now, by this memory.

Age...11? My friends and I found a whole parking lot of what seemed, to us, abandoned cars. Our response? More diamonds! LOTS more diamonds. Then for good measure we broke into (literally--we broke the door down) the adjoining garage. Stuff in there seemed a lot...newer. And, in retrospect, that backhoe we ransacked, maybe that wasn't as abandoned as we thought.

Age...11? My father caught me in my fort (under a trash heap), having just put out the fire I had been building. This turned out to be my final pyromaniacal exploit. You see, after the firedrips, the brush fire episode, the burn marks on my bedroom floor, the call from my friends' parents regarding the burn marks in their closet, and now, the trash heap, well, my father had had enough. For my own safety, he beat me with a stick. A big stick.

I never lit a fire again.

Which turned out to be a good thing, because my firebug friends were arrested the next week after having set an entire field on fire. (BTW, one of those friends is now a local newscaster in the MidWest; I wonder if he, too, is horrified by his boyhood vigor.)

My pals and I regularly broke into people's garages, barns, and other outbuildings, sometimes doing mischief (what we, today, call "vandalism"), sometimes not.

One of my friends recalls when he and his sister broke into someone's summer home and spent the afternoon gluing down all movable items: the phone, the dishes, canned goods, furniture. He shudders in the telling.

I have never, however, tipped a cow.

None of these acts were done maliciously per se (indeed, I would argue that "right" and "wrong" were as of yet a bit grey for me); all were done sober (indeed, alcohol and drugs have never played any part of my life or activities).

Believe it or not, there are other items that I simply cannot type (no harm to small animals, but difficult to relay nonetheless).

Sometimes, it is good to grow up.

Got boys?

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