Stuff I Used to Do

Last week, I solicited ideas for new blog topics.  Thankfully, you’re a creative lot, so I received several good ideas.  Choosing randomly, I have decided to address this suggestion from TopazVonZ:

“How about an occasional “Back in my day” blog about crazy crap you did while growing up, or the wonders of playing Atari for the first time (yanno, because you’re old). ❤ you Turner!!”

Ah, yes. Crazy crap from when I was growing up (because I NEVER engage in ill-conceived tomfoolery these days.)  But where to begin?  Well, any good story of childhood shenanigans must involve my younger brother.  And perhaps the prank that we were always most proud of, a prank we actually learned from my father.  A prank we called “The Sucker String.”

***WARNING: DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT DO ANYTHING I AM ABOUT TO SHARE WITH YOU.  SERIOUSLY.  DON’T.***

Here’s how it goes down.  You wait until nighttime.  You find a road/street with moderate traffic.  You get yourself some kite string or twine and stretch it across the road.  Upon this string, right in the middle, you hang a sign that simply reads “SUCKER!”

Then you wait.

Eventually, a car comes along.  This car’s headlamps light up a seemingly floating-in-midair object.  Is it debris?  Swamp gas?  A pelican?  A misplaced street sign? Jesus?  Whatever conclusion the driver comes to, it happens very quickly.  Imagine the driver humming along doing about 40 in a 35 at night, when suddenly SOMETHING IS IN THE ROAD!!  Brakes squeal, the steering wheel is jerked suddenly to the left or right, groceries in the backseat are thrown to the floor, open soft drinks in cup holders spill.  Once the vehicle comes to a halt, the driver exits, walks to the middle of the street, searches for the random object that nearly caused a rollover, and then there it is…gleaming white, a few feet away.  The driver stoops to retrieve the white paper, and the driver’s mind strains to comprehend the meaning of the letters scrawled in Magic Marker.  Why?  Why did someone put “SUCKER!” on a sign…in the middle…who…god damn it.

The amazing Nic Cage film "Drive Angry" was inspired on events from my childhood or something.

The amazing Nic Cage film “Drive Angry” was inspired by events from my childhood or something.

Now, the real trick for the pranksters is waiting it out.  Staying concealed, usually in a ditch by the side of the road, watching.  You, your little brother, maybe a couple of other street urchins.  Holding your collective breath. Anticipating.  Seeing the look of confusion turn to one of anger, hearing the paper crumple in the furious fists of a soccer mom or Cub Scout dad as they look around, knowing they’re being watched, sensing that a laugh is being had at their expense.  Hopefully it ends with the driver returning to their vehicle, mad at the sticky Tab-soaked dashboard, even madder at the punk-ass kids that almost caused a serious accident.  Usually, that’s how it works.  Usually.

BWAHAHAHAA!!! DUDE ALMOST DIED!!

BWAHAHAHAA!!! DUDE ALMOST DIED!!

Sometimes your brother is cackling with glee at the chaos you’ve sown, and one of your cohorts has to literally clamp a hand over your sibling’s mouth.  And sometimes the angry driver spots you, and you have to dart from cover, high-tailing it through back yards, dodging clothes lines, hurdling fences, inciting the frenzied barks of a dozen curious dogs.  This is much more difficult when your brother is laughing so hard he can barely stand, much less run.  One person on either side, holding him up as he lurches along.  It’s like he’s been gassed by the Joker and hell is chasing behind us in the form of a guy with a mustache and a flashlight and hatred in his glowing eyes, just visible beneath the bill of the dirty Reds cap he always wears when framing houses.

There’s a different kind of fear when you’re a kid.  On one hand, it’s a much more innocent fear.  You know nothing of lawsuits or bail bondsmen or metal-pipe beatdowns (baseball bats and padlocks?  Sure, but that’s a tale for another time.  True story.)  But there’s another fear that kids experience in such a situation.  Fear of the unknown.  What happens if this dude catches us?  What if one of us breaks his ankle stumbling through somebody’s garden?  What if he knows our parents and he’s WAITING AT OUR HOUSE WHEN WE GET BACK?!?!  What if he’s an off-duty cop?  Or a killer?  (When I was a kid, we really didn’t fear kidnapping or abuse or any of the real-world horrors of today.  Nope, getting killed.  That was really about the worst thing a guy could do to you.  Imagine how much nicer X-Box Live would be if that were still the case.  “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU, NOOB!”)  That fear was so awesome.  It was sort of a drug, and I’ll admit that my brother and I would probably be labelled “adrenaline junkies” had the title existed back in the early-80’s.  It was the fear you get from riding a really well-designed roller coaster.  You KNOW you’re going to be okay.  That damn thing has been running all day, every day, for a dozen summers in a row, and nobody’s been killed whilst riding it.

Yet.  Nobody’s been killed yet…

Possibly the biggest buzzkill in the history of this blog. Damn.

Possibly the biggest buzzkill in the history of this blog. Damn.

There are a million other wonderful stories of my brother and myself getting into misadventures and, yes, trouble.  But I wanted to share this one so you’d have some idea of how things used to go down.  Was this as bad as nearly burning up a friend with our homemade napalm? No.  Was it as destructive as the time my brother pulled a “Carthage” on a mean old neighbor’s lawn?  No.  Was it riskier than simple tee-peeing?  Yes.  A better story than the time my high-school pals and I attempted to re-enact the taking of Grenada by literally stealing the Grenada Ave. street sign?  Oh, very much so.  There are many more tales of larceny and near-escapes, because I had a hell of a childhood and a brother to share it with.  And now that I have kids of my own, it’s time to pass on what I’ve learned.

Watch out, Ft. Wayne.  There are two new Watson Boys almost old enough to begin wreaking havoc.  May God have mercy on your souls. (And drive safely!)

Mr. Watson

So I’ve noticed something, and don’t know whether it should concern me or if I’m just being an old stick-in-the-mud.  Help me out here, people.  I’ve seen this little meme or photo macro or whatever you want to call it floating around lately, and the basic gist is “I fear for a world run by kids that received trophies just for participating and have never been spanked.”  True enough.  Good point, nameless internet person. Wisdom.  But then I also think that our parents said essentially the same thing about us, and for God’s sake, how many of our moms and dads got kicked out of the house during the 60’s and 70’s for smoking pot, listening to “that rock-n-roll trash” or smoking (GASP!) weed?!?  No, I think the future will be just fine.  It’s evolution.  It’s the job of the younger generation to question the older, and also hold it responsible for its actions, its wars, its recessions, etc.  Ain’t always gonna see eye-to-eye.  It’s natural.  It’s good.  It’s right.

“No, dad. I said FUCK SOCKS!! Go ahead and kick me out. YOU KNOW I’M RIGHT, MAN!”

However…

Something that I’ve picked up on recently makes me wonder if there isn’t a seismic shift underway in our society.  I’m not saying it’s good or bad: I’m just saying the world is going to be very different in a generation, and it has nothing to do with technological advances or the divorce rate or gay marriage. No, it’s the overall familiarity that has permeated everything.  EVERYTHING.  It’s a casual society now.  When the President of the United States of America shows up in a suit with NO TIE and possibly smoking a cigarette, you know something’s up.  Sports bars are on every corner, and yet the martini bar is an endangered species.  (True, shows like Mad Men have brought them back from the brink a little bit, but it’s a losing game.)  And while familiarity is all well and good, it seems like there’s a wholesale lack of respect getting ready to run away and make things…messy.  As an example, I have never once been called “Mister Watson” by any of my kids’ friends.  Not once.  I have been called “Mister Turner” by some, and I guess that’s better than nothing.  And I’ve seen this in other kids, not just the ones my boys run with.  The ONLY people that get the old-school treatment are schoolteachers, and even that is fading.  My kids have referred to their pre-school teachers in the past as “Miss Kay, Miss Jill” et. al.  I seriously don’t remember some of the kids’ teachers last names because, well…I never heard them.

Pictured: Miss Kim gets tired of dicking around and does this shit herself.

When I was a kid, it was always “Mrs. Gillenwater” or “Mr. Crabtree.”  I never even knew Mr. Crabtree’s first name.  He was this older, towering, greying person who called my friend Chris in for dinner.  I didn’t NEED to be on a first-name basis with him, and frankly preferred it that way.  It would never have occurred to me to show up at the Crabtree home, knock on the door, and when the father answered say “Hey, Doug!  Is Chris home?”  That’s some Eddie Haskell shit, and it just…we just didn’t do that.

Yo, Ward! You gonna pass that dutch?

Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned, but it seems like putting the kids on a  first-name basis with the adults makes them feel a bit, um…entitled.  And don’t get me started on how kids today wouldn’t even think about using “Yes, sir” or “No, ma’am.”  It’s just language that’s fading from our culture.  What does it mean for the future?  I don’t know.  It’s happening in the workplace right now.  We refer to our General Manager at work as “Jim.”  Heck, the old C.O.O. was simply “Tony.”  In the old days the most powerful man in the company would’ve been “Mr. Richards.”  Is this better or worse?  Seriously, I don’t know.  I tend to be very old-fashioned in most respects (many of you have seen how I dress from time-to-time) but maybe this is the way the Little Guy feels like he’s on the same level with the Big Guy, even if he isn’t.  Is that so bad?  I’m a Little Guy, so I can’t really say.

I guess time will tell.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Comment below, sir or ma’am!

Ah, These Kids Today…Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

So, yeah.  I have a couple of boys.  Simon is six, Rhys is almost three.  Good kids.  Spoiled rotten, but hey, that’s the fault of me and the missus.  Do I want to beat ’em sometimes?  Sure.  People without kids always say “That’s HORRIBLE!!  How can you even JOKE about abusing your kids?  They’re all God’s little angels!”  People that have kids know better.  Oh, do we ever.

 

The face of evil.

 

My kids are what we in the parenting industry like to call “all boy.”  Dirt, guns, fights, hockey, farts, couch-cushion forts…the whole nine.  Initially, I wanted a boy AND a girl. My sperm refused me, and now I have two li’l Terminators.  I have friends with daughters that have mentioned to me that they love their little princesses but intend to suture up their lady parts until well after the girls’ twentieth birthday.  I then remind them that without access to the vagina, kids will find all sorts of interesting places to put penises.  This usually results in my friend taking a swing at me.  The truth hurts.  Usually me.

Sorry! I meant your OTHER daughter!

My kids will make it to teenagerhood, provided the “tooth fairy” doesn’t put too much Benadryl in their juice (go the fuck to SLEEP already!!) and cause them to lapse into a coma or worse. I do not look forward to those years.  I do not look forward to those years because I have worked at a public pool.  We’d work the pool in the summer and then open the public ice rink in the fall.  I got to witness the teenage population up close, and it ain’t pretty.  Ever see the Harmony Korine/Larry Clark film “Kids” from 1995?  Might as well have been a documentary.  Kids fucking, kids doing drugs, kids stealing, kids beating someone with a skateboard, kids giving each other AIDS.  I saw just about all of that shit take place whilst working for the man to put a little change in my pocket.  Used condoms in the parking lot, empty bottles of whiskey and porn mags in the restrooms….legit, yo.  I mean, hell…that was the early 90’s.  I can only imagine kids today are already into gang-bangs and making their own snuff films. “Um…Timmy ran away, mom.  Yeah.  By the way, does dad have any of the following items: lye, a hacksaw, gloves, and a section of garden hose?  I’m asking for a friend.”

Best. Science project. Ever.

And the jailbait.  Don’t get me fucking started on the jailbait (and please, lord…don’t let me get caught fucking the jailbait.)  Swear to God, the other day I was shopping for Halloween costumes for my children.  At the same time and location, a mother (I guess?!?) had her two thirteen-ish looking daughters checking out SLUTTY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES.  Slutty Pirate, Slutty Cop, Slutty Schoolgirl (which is ironic, since these two WERE Slutty Schoolgirls) and so on.  The mom (?) asked one of the workers if they had any of these costumes in a thirteen-year-old size.  The woman told her that yes, in fact, they were in stock, but warned her that these slutty costumes RAN A LITTLE SMALL.  Yes, these whoreish costumes (complete with thigh-highs and extra slut sauce, whatever that is.  Okay, I made that part up, but still…) were made to fit PRE-TEEN GIRLS!!  What the fuck sort of parent lets their daughter go out in such an outfit? “Oh, I like your costume, dear!  What are you supposed to be…Rape Bait?” Or better: “Mom, does this skirt show too much underaged gash when I cross my legs?” HOLY SHITBALLS!!!

Dude...she's like twelve.

I actually have a solution to the pedophilia problem.  Seriously, this thought has crossed my mind.  Let’s pass some sort of legislation or maybe even just suggest strongly that Victoria’s Secret can no longer sell yoga pants with words like “Pink” or “Love” or “Cram Your Sausage Here” on the ass to anyone UNDER the age of eighteen.  Maybe even take it further and make it mandatory for college-aged sluts to wear these pants so that they can be more easily identified.  The chlamydia rates would drop sharply. 

DUDE! TWELVE!!

Yes, I know there are male sluts, an that’s a discussion for another time,  one probably involving Ed Hardy and tight Hollister shirts.  I might even get into another double-standard:  guys who mention how much they like that saucy little Sam on iCarly are branded as creepy pedophiles.  Thirty-eight-year-old women that get all self-lubricated at the sight of a seventeen-year-old Taylor Lautner are seen as women “in their prime” looking to get one last statutory rape in before menopause. Uh-huh. Fair and balanced.  That’s me.

Sexy as FUCK.

 Seeya at the mall, kids…