Friday, September 7, 2007

Oh, How I Long for the Happy Days of My Misspent Boyhood

Five Boys on a Wall by Johnson Eastman

I don't necessarily agree with the writer at Sippican Cottage about The Dangerous Book for Boys, though I do like his own list, which got me thinking about moments of my boyhood, years before I morphed into a bleedin' girl. Oh, those were happy days, indeed. First, let's look at his list, which I heartily endorse:

The Borderline Sociopathic Book For Boys
(Since the Dangerous Book has upped the ante by claiming that learning to play chess makes you a ninja, we'll have to stoke the furnace of hyperbole further to get noticed at this point.)

1. Ride a bicycle without a helmet. You heard me. And no spandex spangled with lavender and chrome yellow blotches and French words. You'll wear canvas shoes, too. You will not have anything with you that people with helmets refer to as "hydration." Eventually, you can get a blast of rubber-tasting hot water from a garden hose.

2. Tell your 5th grade teacher, when she starts in with the Vegan lecture again during a spelling lesson, that you're going to kill and eat your supper as soon as you can get your hands on some weapons. Then inform her that if she gives you anything less than a 'B" on any report card because you told her that, your father will have a phalanx of lawyers turn her life into a deposition purgatory. Then don't pass in any homework for the remainder of the term. Let's see who has the stones.

3. We're playing FOOTBALL, without any equipment but the ball. There are no rules, so this chapter is short. Soccer is Irish stepdancing with a ball introduced. We don't want any of that.

4. We're going out with dad on Earth Day, and we're cutting down a tree with a chainsaw. Dad is hung over and is in a hurry and there is only one set of ear and eye protection, so one of you risks blinding, the other deafness. Solidarity is the hallmark of any male bonding ritual. The chainsaw's guard is cheap and flimsy, but that doesn't matter because it came out of the box broken anyway. Which leads us to...

5. Duct Tape. We're going to use a lot of duct tape. We are going to dress our wounds, splint our shins, fix our tools, and tape our little brother's door shut with glorious, magnificent Duct Tape. When the womenfolk complain about the gummy residue it leaves on your siblings, we will remove it with rags soaked in acetone. These will be disposed of improperly. I guess. Who reads the MSDS sheet? Girls.

6.We are not cave men, son. Electronics are a part of our world now. You will find pictures of girls on the internet who are not clothed. You will educate yourself on the proper procedure for removing cookies and browsing history. You will leave one picture of a girl wearing only very steeply inclined shoes and a fetching pill-box hat on the hard-drive, and when it is discovered --by mom-- you can deny, deny, deny. Then watch your dad squirm and sleep on the couch for a week.

7.Firecrackers.

8. You will have a sip of Dad's beer while you watch the football game together. You will remark on the grooming, stature, or level of pneumatic charms displayed by a Baltimore Ravens cheerleader while doing so. Dad's beer tastes awful, and dad knows it, so this isn't all that dangerous for you. He, however, is risking a decade in the pokey over this. We're in this dangerous thing together, son.

9. You will fight with your fists with the biggest jerk in your school. If you're the biggest jerk in your school, you will fight with at least two classmates at a time, or any adult that rides a recumbent bicycle. You will all be in trouble, bigtime, with every adult involved. You will sit on the bench outside some boneless wonder's school administration office, rubbing your shiners, and share the respect reserved only for the men in the arena. It's the only real way to make friends with people you don't like.

10. You will give the Dangerous Book For Boys to your little sister. (Or you can send it to good ol' Jauhara. I'm someone's little sister!)

Update: Visit our Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys.

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I can say, without having to take the Fifth, that I have done almost everything on the above list, and then some. Here are some of the things I did, mostly in a scientific quest to prove that everything that happens in a Road Runner cartoon can be replicated in the real world, if you have the time, an anvil, a rope and pulley and lots of dynamite.

My baptism into boyworld came with my brother's hand-me-downs. Most girls would complain, but not me! Oh no! First thing I did was cut my hair. A boy's hair cut. With shaggy long bangs that hung in my eyes. (No barrettes. EVER!)
I then immersed myself into the Old Testament for Boys ... followed by the New Testament for Boys. Having prepared myself to live as a boy, which is what I always wanted to be, I began living in earnest.
I ran away from home, and told my folks I was going to Destination X. I took the brothers with me, along with canned beans, a can opener, matches, a tin pan, and tin cups. We took pocket knives and flashlights. No sleeping bags...regrettably. We lasted a weekend by the Missouri River in Montana. Next to the river were large drainage pipes, bone dry, near the dam. We walked across the dam and got caught. We caught fish and cooked them and ate them.
Once, while walking the tracks from Yakima to Selah, in order to check out the horse skeleton hanging from a cliff, we were beset by older bullies who were going to rob us . They waved a BB gun at us, and I promptly fell to the ground and had the hairiest, scariest seizure I could fake. My little sister and brother fell down weeping, wailing, that they'd forgotten my medication (gosh we were good fakers) pleading for God to spare me. just. this. once. Finding mercy within their blackened souls, they let us go, and when I "came to", we limped feebly into the dusty town of Selah, while they hung back, making sure we were all right....piece of advice: NEVER TURN AROUND AND SCREAM "SUCKERS" AT THE PEOPLE WHO JUST CUT YOU A BREAK! IT REALLY PISSES THEM OFF.

We had wars. Tribal wars. With dreaded enemies. The Carmelly brothers and their ratfaced little sister. We concocted biological weapons of the most disgusting nature. Every bodily fluid, and I mean every, including solid waste, found its way into the Bucket of Dreaded Repercussion. Added to that was anything that could ferment...mostly rotted crab apples from the base of our crabapple tree. Lovely stuff. The Carmellys would attack our fort, which was the garage in the back yard, at the end of the drive. (No such thing as a connected garage, though middle class and rich folk had them) We would sit on the roof and wait for them to approach from the back, in the alley. Let's just say, their mere rocks were no match for our Bucket of Dreaded Repercussion.

I had slingshots. And I killt critters with them.

I got spanked. With a belt. Often. Sometimes with an orange Hot Wheels track. (Word of advice: Never ask for a Christmas present that can be used as a form of punishment on your bare bottom. Kinda ruins the whole "fun toy" concept.)

Once, when some kid stuck his backside in my face at my desk in Mr. St. George's 7th grade pre-algebra class, I promptly put my shitkicker up his jean shielded crack and kicked him to the floor. When he challenged me to a fight after school, I showed up, and surrounded by wagering well-wishers, we beat the living snot out of each other. I got off easy with only two black eyes. He got a puffy perdy little mouf and a bloodied nose. We remained good friends until the end of junior high. The girls wouldn't have anything to do with me after that, insulting me with an unctuous, sneering, "Boy". Later, I would be called a Lesbian, though I had no idea what the hell that meant.

I won as many belching contests as I lost. I smoked cherry cigars on Saturday mornings in front of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, just as the parishioners were getting out. I got my brother his very own cigarette roller so that he wouldn't have to keep stealing Marlboros from the IGA.
I spent my quarters on dryer rides at the laundromat. I bought rubber doggie poo with my allowance money, and fake dead rats that looked so real they scared my step mother. I could go on and on, but you get my drift.

A POX on you who have robbed the kids of their childhoods. Especially the boys, and those who, like me, would be boys, if they'd had their druthers.


I curse you to your faces and Damn You Straight to Hell, metrosexual social engineers!

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