Monday, January 12, 2004

Why do some people talking on cell phones feel the need to yell in my ear? I just got a call from some jackoff, and it was like a scene from that show on Comedy Central (shit, the name escapes me now) where that British guy is walking around in the park, screaming into an oversized cell phone. I literally had to hold the phone two feet away from my ear, or suffer acute hearing loss.

I was reading Wing Chun's journal on hissyfit. Her topic was Dumb Ass Things I Did As A Kid. It inspired me to write something similar (or, let's be honest--totally rip off her idea). So, without further ado, here are some dumb things I did as a wee one.

Age 5, circa 1978: Let's break stuff!

We had just moved to Indianapolis, and the old people who had the house before us had all this shit laying around the yard that they didn't take with them. One of the things they left was an assortment of empty terra cotta flower pots, which lay in a pile against the side of the detached garage. I was outside playing with Ridley (my next door neighbor and frequent partner-in-crime), one day and decided it would be fun to smash the flower pots against the side of the garage. Ridley was skeptical, so I had to convince him by picking up one of the pots and hurling it against the side of the garage, where it shattered into several pieces. Ridley thought this was hilarious, so we spent the next hour or so smashing each pot against the side of the garage, giggling hysterically all the while. When I went inside for the day, my mother asked me what I had been doing. I answered "breaking jars" (she thought I said "breaking Jaws"--I had a little trouble with my r's back then), and since I was a weird kid anyway, she just sort of laughed and forgot about it. When she discovered what I had actually done, she was plenty pissed, but didn't punish me, I guess because she didn't feel strongly enough about the pots one way or another. I think in parenting, this is called "picking your battles."

Age 5, circa 1978: Little Digger

One day I got the bright idea, all on my own, of building a see-saw in the backyard. I grabbed some of the discarded two-by-fours that were behind the garage (again, junk left over from the previous owners). I then used one of the boards to begin digging up the backyard, right underneath one of the apple trees. (I don't know how digging a hole would have helped me to build a see-saw, then again--I wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer). I think it had recently rained, so the ground was all soft and mushy, making my task a bit easier (and messier, as it turned out). I'd been at it for a while when my mom spied me from the back window and came running outside to see what the hell was going on. She was a tad upset, and she put a halt to my excavation project by hauling my ass inside and locking me in my bedroom for the rest of the day. She must've calmed down, because she let me off the hook later by telling me that if I cleaned up all the wood from the yard, she wouldn't tell my father when he got home from work. Shortly after that incident I got a brand new swing set in the backyard. I guess my mom got smart and realized that I needed a distraction to curb my destructive tendencies.

Age 11, 1985: Crank Yankin'

Ridley and I were watching TV one day and came across a live telethon for the public television station. We decided to call in a few contributions. I actually have the calls on an old audiotape somewhere (I had the foresight to record our antics for posterity--they'll probably be unearthed years from now, and cited as another telling example of my early deliquency). Here are a few calls that I remember (from playing the tape repeatedly):

Volunteer: WTIU, may I take your pledge?
Me: I pledge allegiance, to the flag--
Volunteer: click!
Me: (astonished) She hung up on me!

Volunteer: WTIU, may I take your pledge?
Ridley: I wanna talk to Big Bird!
Volunteer: (under the impression that she has a very young child on the line) Big Bird isn't here, honey--is your mom or dad there that I could talk to?
Ridley: My mommy's on the tinkle and my da--my daddy's at work.
Volunteer: click!
Ridley: (astonished) She hung up on me!

Volunteer: WTIU, may I take your pledge?
Ridley: I wanna talk to Big--
Me: (whispering furiously) No! Say Ernie this time!
Ridley: --I wanna talk to Ernie.
Volunteer: click!
Me: I told you to say Ernie!

And it went on and on. Unfortunately, as we were too dim to realize, we were making long distance calls to Bloomington (where WTIU was headquartered--I guess we didn't think anything of having to dial 10 numbers instead of 7), so when the phone bill came, my parents freaked. I was grounded from using the phone and had to pay the phone bill with my allowance, and I got a big talk about how wrong it was for Ridley and me to crank call a public television station, which relies on funds from the public (duh), and waste their time just because we were bored. I wasn't that sorry for having done it, I was just sorry for getting caught.

I could probably recall more of these little anecdotes if I hadn't killed so many brain cells in the years that followed.

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