August 10, 2003
40 years ago
Quinton starts fourth grade on Monday. My boy is growing up fast.
Last night, I told him the story of THE BIG HOLE IN THE GROUND that my buddies and I found in the woods one day when I wasn't much older than he is now. We weren't supposed to be on the wrong side of Whitfield Avenue, but we found a firebreak that bicycles could travel and off we went. We stopped when we saw THE HOLE.
It was about 20 feet deep and was old enough that a few 30' pine trees were growing up from the bottom. It was awesome.
Stop and think. You have six boys on bicycles, in the woods, with a 20-foot deep hole in the ground. What do you think happened next? OF COURSE WE RODE INTO THE HOLE! What would YOU do?
We busted our butts and went ass over teakettle. Man, that was fun. We dragged the bikes up the hill and did it again. I got the bright idea to jump off my bike and grab one of the pine trees and ride it to the ground. IT WORKED! Everybody wanted to try after that. Finn did it. Art did it.
Then Michael tried. Mike went flying up to the hole on his bike, took a giant leap and MISSED THE LIMB he was supposed to grab. He went SPLAT right into the tree and slid down the trunk to the ground as the bark worked on him like a side-on grinder. The boy was damn near eviscerated by the time he hit bottom. Blood was everywhere. We thought he was dead.
His brother took off screaming, running through the woods without remembering that he had a bicycle. Art sat on the ground and started crying. I ran to the bottom of the hole to check on Michael. "STOP BLEEDING!" YOU'RE GOING TO GET US ALL IN TROUBLE!" I said.
Mike looked okay to me. The tree whipped his ass, but other than that he was all right. "I missed," is all he said.
I gathered everyone in a huddle after we found Finn and decided that Mike was going to survive. I told them, ""Here is the story. Mike fell off his bike. It happened near Hesse school. That's all anybody needs to say. It's not a lie."
"That's not really the TRUTH," said Art.
"But it's not a lie, either," I countered. "What do you think we should do? Tell Mike's mom that we were where we aren't supposed to be, doing things we aren't supposed to do? I like my story better."
After a moment's thought, we agreed on the "Mike fell off his bike near Hesse School" story. We stuck with it, and nobody got in trouble.
I think I might have taught my son to tell creative "truths" last night.
This story gets better every time you tell it!
Heheh. Great story.
Reminded me of when I was a passenger in the back seat of my buddies car. We were racing down the slick icey streets, fishtailing around corners...good wintertime fun for a bunch of delinquents.
My buddy took a corner to fast and we slammed and slid in to cars and curb for 1/2 a block...I got tossed around the back seat and bounced off door, roof and seat like a marble.
"Let's do it again!" is all I could think of when it was over. :)
The wife and I were talking about stuff like that yesterday on the way back from Savannah. She said, "you can't tell him not to do that, you did it too". My response was I am lucky to be alive after the shit we did. Just because I did it does not mean it is OK to do. In fact, just try to do the opposite of everything I ever did growing up and you should live through middle school. I missed...that's classic!
Ah, yes, the signposts along the way of growing up; moving into a new grade, and doing things you'd think noone with working brain cells would do.
My son starts college this month. One of our conversations included some things I and a friend did, and the note: "I'm not suggesting you do this, partly because we're lucky we lived through it! I'm saying, please!!! think about some of this crap before you decide to do it."
God, I hope he listened.
Hey the corruption has to start somewhere right?
Jees! Are you insane? I have one 7 year old daughter and nother 1 year old. They tell me everything. No 1/2 truths.
I wouldn't make any large wagers on that one. At least not about the 7-year-old. And even if you're right, don't count on it staying that way forever.
"you can't tell him not to do that, you did it too"
Anytime somebody tries that one on me, it's extremely likely years down the road I'll be telling someone they shouldn't grab a proven nincompoop around the throat and kick them repeatedly wherever it will cause the most pain until they pass out.
'Cause that's what I'll probably do when somebody tries to tell me, "you can't tell him not to do that, you did it too."
All I can think of is that Daffy Duck cartoon where he plays Robin Hood and keeps slamming into the trees.
"Yoiks, and awaaaay!!!" SLAM "Yoinks and awaaay!" SLAM "yoinks and away." SLAM
Reminds me of the time my brother and I beat each other silly and then tried to tell my mother that we were both walking down the stairs and one of us slipped.....she didn't by it and so we got beat some more. Damn that woman and her psychic abilities.
It just makes the ones we got away with even sweeter, I suppose.
That sounds like so much fun. It's a shame that children's free time is so structured now that they don't have time to go exploring like this.
All of us, and I'm quite sure it is all of us, have done things we do not want our kids to do. But before we succumb to the nanny state approach, isn't the world a better place because we took chances -- even if a few didn't survive unscathed? Can you imagine a world where we only do what is safe and good for us? No thanks.
My brother would have done that when he was a kid (he's 31 now) and lied about it. He had absolutely no fear.
I on the other hand was the most careful child on the planet. I didn't take chances and risks. I'm feeling the effects in my adulthood, and taking risks is still scary for me. But at least I am less afraid.
I still can't tell a lie to save my life. I am so bad at it.
By the way, that was a great story.
Good point, Charles. I'm not saying we should be able to prevent our kids from doing the stupid things we did. Only that we should be able to tell them not to do the stupid things we did.
It's all about saving face.
I don't know what made me laugh more...Heather and her Daffy Duck reference or Acidman's "Quit bleeding. You'll get us in trouble." Oh. Okay...didn't know it was that simple...rotf
Yoiks and awayyyy...I also love that part with the stick..."Thrust, parry , spin and....SLAM!" bent bill. I'm like Porky "Friar Tuck" Pig with that-laying on the floor, laughing my butt off....
My wife likes the part where he's playing the lute and singing about tripping up and down.
If I want to make her laugh one of the options is always to start imitating how the song ends. Usually right after one of us has stumbled either for real or over a word...
Yep...that'd work on me, too.
(Matter of fact, it did...)