Middle-school kids often get bored and do dumb stuff in the summertime. Shocker, I know, but some kids take their boredom to more extreme ends than others. Case-in-point: me and my childhood friends. Almost none of what we did during the summer could be construed as safe, whether it was ultimate fighting in a basement (we had just seen Never Back Down), or throwing dry ice at each other. (Looking back, basically all we did was try to push the limits of how much we could hurt each other without our parents knowing.)
Perhaps our greatest (worst?) achievement occurred the day we decided that going down the giant hill behind my house on a bike just wasn’t fast enough. Idleness is the devil’s playground, and he made us his assistants that day, because we developed the genius idea of pulling each other down the hill on skateboards while holding a rope. Now, I know this has been done before, but, in our ever-present ingenuity, we took it one step farther. Somehow we had at our disposal a child’s booster seat. I cannot for the life of me remember why we had this carseat, as all of our siblings had long ago stopped being toddlers, but we had it nonetheless.
Two skateboards, rope, and some strategically placed duct tape later, we had our machine ready to roll. The booster seat was placed on top of the two skateboards, and was kept on only by the rope, our hands, and our insane fearlessness.
I don’t remember who the first person to be pulled down the hill was, but they obviously were not hurt enough to dissuade us from stopping. All hesitancy was thrown away; we were going all out. Invariably, before reaching the bottom of the hill, the contraption would spin wildly out of control, and we learned to roll onto nearby lawns before having our faces scraped off by asphalt.
I would have flown down the hill all night, but unfortunately I had a baseball game and only had time for one more ride. With my mother watching from our back porch (she was probably trying to calculate how much our medical insurance rates would increase), I once again nestled myself into the booster seat. The trip began without cause for alarm; the vehicle shook only slightly as it sped past the neighbor’s houses. As I approached the house before mine, the wheels began to turn, and I found myself staring down a mailbox. My choices were to go headfirst into the wood post and win a trip to the plastic surgeon, or bail out and risk the terrors of the asphalt. I chose the latter. A moment later I stood up, and looking down, I saw that the entire side of one of my legs no longer had the top few layers of skin. Oh well. My mother simply shook her head. Her son was
a badass an idiot. I said goodbye to my friends and went to get dressed for my game (yes, I still played).
My friend’s and I went on to commit many a stupid act, but nothing ever quite reached the epic proportions of the skateboard/booster seat/death trap incident. You can call it dumb, and it was, but it’s also one of my fondest memories of adolescence. What’s growing up without a few (or more than a few) stupid decisions?