It’s a wonder any of us lived


I watch my 16 year old, Tiger, head out to do his 16 year old things and it makes me think, “Damn, I hope he gets as lucky as I did and manages to live through the retarded years.”  People complain about the internet and video games and cell phones and all the conveniences our kids have now.  “All he does is sit in the house and play that damn game all day!” They say.

Enjoy it people.  You know where your kids are and what they are doing.  Yes, they are still retarded and probably doomed to stay that way, but at least they are contained.  We were less fortunate.  We actually had to leave the house to express our inner retard, and it was frequently life threatening.  I don’t know how any of us survived our teenage years, or our early 20’s for that matter.

My son went out not to long ago to see a midnight showing of Captain America with a buddy of his driving.  He was going to go to his buddies house after the movie to spend the night.  He hadn’t spent the night away from the house in a while and I kind of thought, “Cool.  It’ll be nice to have the place to myself for an evening, they’ll end up staying up all night and when tomorrow night rolls around, he’ll crash early.”

Buddy’s mom decided she didn’t want anyone spending the night that night, so he was going to be coming home around 3 in the morning.  I will admit some disappointment.  My night of peace was not to last.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my kid, but for cryin’ out loud.  Then it dawned on me how very different things were from when I was 16.  Here I was wondering why I couldn’t get a night with him out of the house and when I was 16, my mother frequently wondered IF I was coming the fuck home.

I frequently didn’t.  There were several occasions in which I probably never should have been able to again.  My friends and I were idiots.  I mean, we were idiots when we were completely sober.  We generally weren’t sober either.

My criminal history teenage years really started rolling when I was 15.  My buddy, Roy (named changed to protect the retarded.  I have to protect him because he is still my buddy and my name has already been released.  That, and he’s D’s brother.) was a year older than me but a year behind me in school.  He had a driver’s license and frequent use of his parents Ford Escort station wagon.

He also had some weed.

So we would drive to the mall and we’d hang out at the game room at Sears and make frequent trips across the upper level of the mall to the Burger King to take care of our munchies.  For some reason, that Burger King had the funniest motherfucking french fries on the planet.  I mean, they were hysterical!  I don’t know what they did to those fries, but I haven’t seen fries that funny since. I mean, the waffle cut fries at Chick-Fil-A are kinda whimsical, but nothing could touch the level of funny brought on by those fries at the Burger King at Crabtree Valley Mall.

We may also have been stoned.

A little.


Yeah, that was us.

Now, we didn’t confine ourselves to the mall.  We did venture out and yes, Roy was driving.  Mostly.  It was usually to go find our other buddy, Eddie but sometimes he was difficult to find because he had a habit of rolling cars over.  None of them were actually his car which made this habit somewhat annoying, but I didn’t have a car so I was cool with it.  Then eventually beer would be involved.  No, I’ll take that back.  Bartles and James wine coolers.  Yes, I realize how long ago that was now please stop pointing at me.

We did all the stuff you’d expect of a bunch of stoned, idiot, drunken teenagers with access to a car that none of us should have lived through.  We didn’t have Grand Theft Auto to give us the outlet to drive down city sidewalks and terrorize parking lots and generally be a nuisance to everyone we came across.  We used actual cars on actual sidewalks.  We found out that doing donuts on the upper deck of the parking lot of the mall alerted the attention of the Raleigh Police Department, every single time.  It didn’t stop us from doing it.  We never once got arrested for it, despite the various chemicals that coursed through us.  They let us go, every single time.

If that wasn’t divine intervention, I don’t know what it was.

The adventures would inevitably end sleeping it off in Roy’s tree fort in his back yard.  It was quite possibly the coolest tree fort ever in the history of teenage boys.  The floor was about 20 feet off the ground and it was fully enclosed, built between 3 trees.  It had 2 floors and a roof access door.  It had electricity.  We lost one of our buddies up there one time.  We woke up in the morning and realized that Dave had fallen asleep up on the roof of the tree fort.  When we went up to look for him, he wasn’t there.  We assumed he’d got up before us and gone home.

Then we looked down.

Dave had rolled off the roof during the night and landed directly on the chain link fence of the neighbors yard.  Dave continued to sleep peacefully in the grass.  The chain link fence was fucked.  Dave lived.  In fact, eventually, he walked away from it.

We all had some close calls over the next few years, and every one of them just further proved the divine intervention theory.  It isn’t confined to the teenage years either.  A 22 year old is just a 16 year old that can legally buy alcohol.  Just a few of the things I survived between the ages of 15 and 23:

  • I climbed, and accidentally disabled the lights on, a billboard on the side of a major highway.  Who knew the pipe I used to climb up to the ladder contained the wiring for the billboard?  We carried beer up there with us.  We passed out up there on a three foot wide service catwalk.  We woke up there during morning rush hour.
  • A bunch of us got drunk and broke into a local pool at 3 in the morning and took turns jumping off the top level of the three tier olympic diving platform.
  • I ended up face to muzzle of gun pointed there by the father of a girl we were sneaking out of the house at 2 in the morning.
  • I drove to the top of the mountain while I was in college, got drunk sitting on the edge of the cliff overlooking town, then drove back down.  I was arrested parking the car in the lot at the dorm.  It wasn’t my car, there was half a case of beer on the floor in the back and I was 17.  That cliff now has a fence on it because of people falling off.
  • A friend and I discovered that an aspirin bottle filled with gunpowder and fitted with a fuse will indeed start a forest fire.  Quickly and nearly instantly.
  • We also discovered that workers at a nearby rock quarry should be more careful about where they leave a case of dynamite.  Teenagers will break into the quarry and they will find it.  Also, I totally was not the one that figured out how to start the bulldozer and drove it into the creek.
  • I drunkenly fell off the second floor balcony of the apartment we had during our sophomore year in college.  Thankfully, my roommates 1972 Pontiac was parked there to break my fall.
  • It is funny when your roommate that plays rugby comes home after a victory party and passes out on the couch to then carry the couch with said roommate on it out the door of the apartment and onto the balcony.  It is NOT funny to forget we put him there after it has started to snow very heavily.  It IS funny again when he bursts angrily through the door 2 hours later with the left side of his body covered in 2 inches of snow.
  • Riding a skateboard to Hardee’s at 1 in the morning in nothing but your boxers after having the majority of a bottle of Wild Turkey and loudly singing The Beastie Boys’ – Brass Monkey, will likely lead to road rash.
  • When the street light right outside your dorm window shines right in your face, a pair of scissors is all that is required to disable said street light.  Bear in mind that this light apparently carries a lot of voltage and disabling it will also disable all the street lights for 4 blocks.
  • You can get visibly drunker during the short ski lift ride to the top of the mountain.  Because the label on the Jack Daniel’s bottle is black, this does not indicate that you should attempt to ski down the slope with the black diamond on it.  Particularly not your first time skiing.  Second time probably isn’t good either.
  • I drove us to the ski resort in Roy’s brand new car during a nearly whiteout snowstorm.  Because I was the “least stoned”.

Anybody notice a theme?  We had drugs and booze and drinking and driving laws hadn’t really evolved to the point they have today.  We still had them and it was surely frowned upon, but apparently the warnings weren’t enough.  Pair that with the fact that the young mind is completely stupid and runs without fear in and of itself.  Pour alcohol and wave some weed over it and you’ve created mental mush.

It was my youth and those days have long since passed.  The alcohol and drugs have been cast aside and my addiction now lies in Ambien, coffee and cigarettes.  I try not to use them simultaneously.  I don’t hide my past from my son and when he asks, I’ll tell him what he should know and what my experience with it was like.  I’ve told him that no matter what he thinks, the teenage mind is half retarded by default.  Adding booze or drugs to it simply completes the circle of retardation.

He gets the half retarded part.  This is a child that gets A’s and B’s in school but stares dumbfounded that he can’t eat because “there are no clean bowls”.

So the next time you complain because your kid “doesn’t leave the house”, remember what I listed above and think about what he or she could be getting into.  I’d also like to point out that the things I listed there are pretty tame compared to what some of my other buddies did, so do yourself a favor and go get your kid that Xbox or Playstation and plant their ass in the living room.  At least you’ll know where they are.

This post was not in any way, shape or form sponsored by Microsoft or Sony.

But it totally fucking should be.

What did you do as a teenager that should have got you killed?  Play any practical jokes on your friends that could have taken their lives?  Anyone seen my Beastie Boys CD?


Facebook post of the day:

Congrats, Teri! Or, I’m sorry . . . one of those.

14 thoughts on “It’s a wonder any of us lived

  1. All I got for you is: jumped off a slide head first to the concrete ground when I was 5-6ish, almost drowning in a flash flood(my fort was in the middle of a creek and it kind of filled up pretty quick. As I was floating down the creek to the whirlpool that sucked my 2 other friend into the storm drain I grabbed the fence and pulled myself up like spiderman just a lil chunkier), ran into multiple trees playing flag football and driving into parked cars while delivering pizzas. Oh and running into the corner of a building to get dirt to put on a slide and putting a hole in my leg so big you could see my bone…….my dad took about 1-2 hours to get me to the E.R. because he was asking his friends “what should I do?”.

  2. As a teenager I was surrounded by some interesting individuals. It was not uncommon for any of them to have long hair, a mohawk, a piercing in a place that makes one wonder just how the f**k they drink beer without spraying the guy next to him, a car held together by Bubblicious and duct tape, a police record, rehab experience, be homeless, or be so allergic to alcohol they break out in handcuffs. I survived my teenage years and beyond by paying attention to this crew, pointing, laughing, and learning from their mistakes. Here are just a few of those things:

    1. See how your buddy seems to keep rolling that Pinto into a field, or park his girlfriends Camaro under that semi trailer? Tired of pooling over your Marlboro money to get him out of jail? Yeah that shit doesn’t happen if you don’t drink and drive. (sadly I could go on with examples here, fortunately none of them my own)
    2. If you and your 21 year old buddy get pulled over, and the cop asks you if you plan to “partake in any of that mans beer” it’s ok to giggle when you say “no sir officer, of course not, I’m not 21 yet” because he already knows you are anyway.
    3. The guy laying face down on the carpet that wants to be left alone because he’s “readin’ this” is not the guy whos “good ideas” should be carried out.
    4. If you are going to throw parties in your parents house, it’s a good idea to have the phone number of a local furniture upholsterer on hand and some repair money in your budget. I’m just saying.
    5. If you’ve been drinking, “No Diving” is a good rule to follow no matter where you are.
    6. They call it “liquid courage” for a reason, if you wouldn’t f**k with that guy sober, now probably isn’t a good time either.
    7. If the cops show up to break up the party, it’s a good idea if everyone stays put, they already know what you’ve been doing and have told you to stop, they’re sitting up the street waiting for your dumb ass to drive home. Even if they aren’t, see #1.
    8. If you’ve been out all night drinking and are trying to quietly return home without waking the rents, don’t try coming in through the front door carrying a coffee table, that sh*t never goes well.
    9. Your first car should be a general piece of shit if you hang out with a crew like this because someone will throw up in it, it will end up in places you thought only a massive 4×4 could go, and you will find out what the true maximum capacity of your 1981 Honda Civic sedan is (10 in case you were wondering).
    10. Although it may be a way around getting permission, piercing yourself or your friends with whatever you find around the house, or tattooing your friends with needle, thread, and india ink are decisions that will more than likely lead to an infection, regret, or an ass kicking.

    This list could go on and on…

  3. Its ok because that Monkey is a funky monkey. And I totally have that CD, errrrrrr I did before it got stolen along with a bunch of others and I had a friend “make me” a bunch of new CD’s. 😀
    I was like 8 I think and I was riding my bike on the ledge behind a gas station, and it was fall so it was cold. I had one of those 3″ thick hats on, when I fell from the ledge and landed on the cement 10ft down onto my head, they said the thick hat probably saved me.
    I have never done drugs and I hardly ever drink, so I pretty much stayed only half retarded so I dont really have lots of cool stories to tell.

  4. Ironic that I stood in the hall today getting ready for work and thinking that it is amazing that I am alive after some of the dumb ass shit I’ve done in my life. 1/2 tab of “blue unicorn” and first viewing of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in high school top the list. A lot of other things come to mind, but I won’t bore you with details. And damn your Mountain Mogo curse crap. I got a Zaxby’s salad last night and I’m thankful I’m a slow eater as I find a 3/4″ squarish piece of hard white plastic. I am positive it was one of those cinchy things that come on bread or plastic twisty-ended bagged produce items. At least a cheeseman’s beard hair couldn’t have sliced my tongue open as this little plastic beauty could have. And now, I am craving salami cheese worse than ever thanks to you. ‘preciate it.

    1. Thank you! Thank you, so much! I had a bet going with a buddy that I could make somebody say “cheeseman’s beard hair” by the end of the day! You’re AWESOME!

  5. I have no clue what you are talking about …drinking under age…. NEVER! Smokin da weed…..NEVER! Crabtree Valley Mall…I don’t remember hanging out there AT ALL!! You were a wild child! Your poor parents, God bless them. OH and your ass posting my functional disorder!

  6. Thank God I swallowed my Diet Coke before I read your reply. Well played Eric, well played. Have a fabulous day.

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