Archive for May, 2008

Sons of sons…

May 29, 2008

In response to numerous photos and internet-forwarded tales of male children doing “male children stuff” presented along a specific format (i.e. if you have sons you have observed, these rules) I present to all readers (without admission of guilt and/or legal acceptance of any culpability in regards to any and all investigations or cases not closed by statute of limitation or any other legal… bullshit) a brief addendum of… “other lessons learned.”

The roof on the average single story house is not high enough to actually “open” a home-made parachute but IS high enough to turn an umbrella inside out thereby defeating any parachute-like capabilities it was thought to possess. The roof on the average single story house is high enough to break a seven year old’s leg even when utilizing an umbrella as a parachute. Leaving another parent’s son stranded atop the roof of the average single story house, because they were afraid to “parachute” off after watching someone else sustain injuries, will also warrant a beating from an irate parent. Parents may “laugh about stuff” between themselves but that does not mean they will laugh about those same things with the the guilty parties.

 

Using the Grandma-told-me-you-did-the-same-sorta-thing-when-you-were-my-age argument will invariably involve a beating while the parent exercises the yes-and-I-got-a-beating-for-it retort.

 

Drano and gasoline produce a violent reaction when mixed together. A reaction so violent that it’s impossible to outrun it on foot, regardless of the number of times and differing methods used to outrun it. The violent reaction of gasoline and Drano burns the skin no matter how times it splatters onto the same spot.

 

Stuffing mono filament fishing line inside a device containing multiple firecrackers duct-taped together, when ignited, sprays the nearby area with a burning debris that resembles napalm. Water will not extinguish a loose pile of burning mono filament fishing line, but instead will spread it out as the water floats the burning fishing line. It’s always wise to have a fire extinguisher at the ready when you have sons in your care. It’s even wiser to teach them how to use a fire extinguisher properly. That white powder in fire extinguishers tastes awful.

 

Nothing is as easy as it looks on television. Having a adult nearby to determine what is and what is not “easy” to do, even when seen on television, can prevent many injuries.

 

The concept of brakes and braking (or the safe egress from a speeding vehicle) should be considered before any exhibition of speed is attempted. At high speeds the cushioning effect of lawn is not as great as one might expect. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion (even when no longer under the control of a son) especially if that object is careening down a steep hill towards an uncontrolled intersection. Automobiles make short work of most unmanned wooden go-carts careening into uncontrolled intersections. Adults do not take such scientific experiments lightly. It’s tough to run away from an adult when nursing a broken collar bone. Parents always know when a child is hiding broken bones or serious physical injury. Adults will go to great lengths to find the parents of high-speed scientific experimenters AND will attempt to make any such financially responsible for the cost of vehicle reparation while completely overlooking the cost of wooden go-cart replacement and those parts involved. Parents will punish all sons involved even if one (or more) thought the planned act was dangerous and foolhardy. Just the afore knowledge of a planned dangerous and foolhardy act is, in the eyes of parents, a culpable act and ergo punishable by a beating. If the steering mechanism of wooden go-cart is found to be reversed (through faulty design), it’s best to fix it upon discovery of the fact rather than choosing to repair it “after primary high speed tests” have been affected. The phone number for medical emergencies is 911 but most children during those emergencies situations will either A) pretend they not injured in order to avoid punishment. B) threaten younger children if they report such injuries to any parent. C) deny it was their idea. D) run away from home. It’s difficult to runaway from home while sporting broken bones… Lastly, the beatings received after the fact are usually worse the initial injury.

 

In regards to the go-cart revelation let me further qualify. Of these “most infamous” past events the “go-cart affair” was the most studied. The male children from my neighborhood got together and built a go-cart (a design “by committee” is always bad) after seeing it done on TV. Wrapping the steering-control ropes around the steering column (surplus water pipe actually) and through the system of pulleys (we ‘requisitioned’ from dad’s work bench) actually set the steering function in reverse. Stan, my next oldest brother, begged to be the first pilot while… somebody, maybe with triple digit IQ… thought it best to change the steering (and even adding brakes) before we tried zipping down the nearby hill (which dumped out into a fairly busy cross street). No! Stan replied this was far too important to wait. We’d tend to the “details” after initially testing was completed he finished with a confident grin. Well, the damn thing bolted like a rabbit and ran away from us (we were trying to hold it, my brother claims otherwise). Stan, unable to steer the vehicle correctly, panicked, bouncing our timbered conveyance over a curb (where he affected an escape tumbling out of the vehicle onto a neighbor’s yard breaking his collar bone in the process). Our, now unmanned go-cart, careened downward into the cross street where it was immediately met by a speeding… [I don’t remember what make or model car it was but since it was the mid-1960s when this tragedy played out it was no doubt some American-made behemoth created of steel and concrete, I’m sure] instantly disintegrating our experimental vehicle before our astonished eyes. After the smoke cleared (from the wheel wells of the cars formerly speeding along that avenue but now skidded to a complete stop) I swear to God there formed an angry mob like the one that hounded Frankenstein’s monster. All they needed were torches to complete the scene.

“There they are!” coming from a red-faced man, his finger pointed uphill towards our young clan was all I needed to hear to set my feet moving briskly. I climbed up onto our roof (yes, the one that broke so many bones and spirits over the years) to view the melee from afar. Stan was cradling his arm to his chest as he sprinted for cover, weeping the whole way because every step he took was torture, what with his broken collar bone. I was laughing and crying, because we, all of us in the neighborhood, were gonna get a beating but on the same hand it was a wholly glorious to see that wooden body disintegrate in an instant. The drivers from the go-cart destruction derby drove up and down the street until one of the “mom squad” (that was the elite ‘undercover division’ of neighborhood matriarchs ready to spirit through the neighborhood in Mrs. Smith’s Country  Squire wagon, flying around corners in a full four-wheel-drift, the engine screaming as these adult figures pursued us) figured these citizens were looking for one, or all of us. Yes, we ALL got beatings and yes, we ALL had to pitch in to pay for the damages on the guy’s car, but that incident is still recanted in hushed tones by the mom squad et al around the bar-b-que on summer evenings. Ah, youth. Where hast thou gone?

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