DUMB THINGS WE'VE ALL DONE OVER THE YEARS
DUMB THINGS WE’VE ALL DONE OVER THE YEARS
Have you ever done something so dumb, so dangerous, stupid or embarrassing, if you could die right then and there, you’d be glad to. Well I’ve got a ton of them as I’m sure you do as well. Here’s a few of my own personal dumb, but funny sometimes, things I’ve done...
1…..About 12 years old I guess, I was messing around in my father’s basement work area where from a ten penny nail in a ceiling beam, hung a large, brass scale that went up to about 25 pounds as I recall. It was the kind of hanging scale one might find in an open market somewhere except this one only had a large hook on the bottom made from half inch steel. I decided to pull down the hook to see how much I could register on the needle but to do that, I had to bend down a little to get under it. I grabbed the hook with both hands, pulled down as hard as I could and yup, you guessed it. The damn nail bent and the whole freaking scale came crashing down right in my face. Smart huh? I could have lost a dozen teeth but fortunately my pride took most of the injury…
2…..About the same age, my brother and I came by a whole lot of assorted fireworks and after blowing up everything in the backyard, we got the diabolical idea of scaring the hell out of our mother who was busy doing the dishes right under the kitchen window. The plan was to place a lit firecracker just outside the window that was supposed to go off in three separate explosions. I still don’t know why but instead of the expected boom boom boom, we got just one, very large BOOM! It scared my mother so much she fell on the kitchen floor. Needless to say, our fireworks days came to an abrupt halt for some time after that.
3…..Another really dumb fireworks incident happened when I was about 30. A bunch of us were all outside my mother in laws house setting off just about every kind of mini-explosive known to man one 4th of July, when I got the incredibly stupid idea to tie three cherry bomb fuses together, light one, and throw the array high in the air, again, expecting a boom boom boom. In a few seconds, again, there was only one boom. Only one cherry bomb went off sending the other two flying at high speed somewhere, but where? The next second or two was like the proverbial lifetime. Finally, two houses down, at the top of a telephone pole, the other two went off, brilliant huh?
4…..That same day, as if we all had learned nothing from my singular, stupid act, a relative, tried to light another cherry bomb from a sparkler I was holding. It lit alright but neither of us knew it because of the bright sparks from the sparkler. After we brought him back from the hospital with dozens of minor abrasions in his hand and another hole in his body caused by a Tetanus shot, we decided that fooling around with cherry bombs was no longer an option for beer swigging celebrants. That was the only smart thing we did all day.
5…..One had to be there I suppose but to me, this was probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Some would call it dumb, but it really was a controllable situation in the event it got out of hand. I was about 22 I guess and one Sunday morning, my dad was sitting in the living room reading the paper with both pages spread out in front of him. All you could see of him was his legs sticking out from beneath the paper. I walked in the room, caught a glance of him sitting there and in a flash, got this really diabolical idea for a never before done practical joke. I had no time to contemplate the possible negative ramifications so as usual; I proceeded with my dastardly plan. I got on my knees, and carefully snuck up on the backside of the newspaper, and without a second thought, I lit my Zippo, and applied the flame to the center of the paper he still had spread out before him. The next few seconds all hell broke loose. The flame instantly burned through the layers of paper and there he was, one second, quietly reading the newspaper on a serine Sunday morning, and the next second, flailing around like a madman, crumpling up his paper trying to extinguish the flames. Right then, all I heard was a frantic JESUS CHRIST! Followed by a steady stream of cuss words I’d never even heard before. I was laughing too hard to even help with the fire. Put yourself in his place for a moment. It must have been a shocking experience going from one extreme to another like that. When the fire was out, which by the way never amounted to more than a few inches in the middle of the page, I believe he really thought I was losing it. He watched me very closely for the rest of the day knowing I was a devout practical joker to start with. Not that I blame him but would you believe? He actually made me go buy him a new newspaper. Geese, some people just can’t take a joke.
6…..Again, about 22, I was working a local liquor store when the great north east blackout happened. The supermarket next door had purchased a ton of dry ice which they threw out in the back after the juice came back on a couple days later. I had always been a scientific type but never had messed with dry ice before. I took a bunch of it home and did all kinds of experiments with it including freezing mercury and making an ice pop out of scotch whiskey. At least I was smart enough not to lick it at minus 69 degrees below zero but that’s about where my common sense ended. One of the experiments I had fun doing was to put a few gobs of dry ice in a glass jar with a glass lid and add a little warm water. As the frozen carbon dioxide quickly returned to a gaseous state, pressure builds up inside the glass jar and the escaping gas rattled the glass lid where I had strips of toilet paper attached that blew out as if in front of a fan. Pretty cool, until, yeah there always a “until”, I tried the same experiment in a glass jar that was shaped like an hour glass. The ice was in the bottom compartment with the water and unknown to me at the time; it froze solid at the center of the jar closing off any escape route for the gas. The whole damn thing exploded right in my face and to this day, I have no idea why the shower curtain behind me was riddled with holes from flying glass and I was completely free from any harm outside of my scientific pride and the chewing out I got from my mother for blowing things up in the bathroom. DUMB!
Later that day, when I was tired of messing with huge chunks of that stuff so I decided to dispose of it all in the bathtub filled with hot water. Ok, no problem except that it produced a copious thick cloud of white vapor than came out of the tub, went along the floor of the bathroom untill I couldn’t see my feet anymore and out the door which I had opened so I didn’t gas myself to death. It kept coming and coming until it reached the stairway and started sliding down the stairs to the living room where my father was sitting relaxed, watching Laurence Welk. Soon my father’s recliner and half the living room was also inundated with a good foot of vapor that he didn’t see yet. Once again, the old practical joker mentality took control of my common sense and I yelled “FIRE!" You can imagine what happened after that. I must say, between the newspaper thing and now this, I never knew the old man could move that fast.
7…..My brother and I were both accomplished guitarists and every few months we would reserve a large ballroom in an old Italian villa way up on a hill, invite a 150 people or so and have a hell of a time pickin guitar, munching our super buffet, and generally getting sloshed. I was only about 17 when my brother and I and his friend Ralph went to this villa to set up a new gig. I managed to down a few beers and on the way out, still on the top of the driveway, we were all in my father’s Volvo getting ready to leave. Ralphie was in the back seat sporting an 800 dollar suit as he just came from work in NY City where he was a high up design engineer for a large electronics firm. A city boy and a hell of a lot of fun, Ralph had never been close to a live chicken before, me either. Not too far away from the car was a huge chicken coop I guess they used for eggs and chicken meat for the restaurant. There went my beer soaked brain again because I got out of the car and began creeping up on the coop with the intent on stealing a chicken. Don’t ask me why, I must have had a good reason at the time. The closer I got, the more scared I got. There must have been 200 of the little suckers which got bigger and bigger as I got closer and closer. All you could hear was an inquisitive cluck or two that exponentially increased as I got closer. Once within striking range, I really had second thoughts facing 200 birds just sitting there wondering who I was. Christ, I could be killed I thought, who knows? After what seemed like an hour, I gathered my courage mostly because my brother was yelling at me “Let’s go,” and pounced on my selected victim. Instantly, and once again, all hell broke loose. I may as well have been at Omaha Beach on D Day it was so loud and raucous. All I saw was birds, wings, and feathers flying everywhere and the one that I had hold of suddenly became three times larger and was beating the hell out of me with his wings and pecking my face at the same time. I quickly came to the conclusion that this was a big mistake and I’d better haul ass before I’m either pecked to death or shot by the restaurant owner. I ran back to the car with my flailing prize and threw it in the back seat forgetting Ralph was still there. Once again all hell broke loose. The bird began beating the hell out of Ralph which caused him to freak out and try to get out of the car but he couldn’t. He was pushing up against the driver’s seat so hard in his attempt to get away from this insane chicken that my brother was squashed up against the steering wheel where the car horn was which was now of course, blasting away steadily. Finally the chicken got out a window; we took off like a rocket and successfully made our get-a-way. Looking back at poor Ralph, his hair was messed up and he was covered with feathers and bird crap from head to toe. It’s funny the way things can go completely awry from minute to minute but I don’t think Ralphie thought so at the time.
End of story? Hell no, not yet, that would be too easy. Two weeks down the road we had our fun “stomp” at the villa and I was in the parking lot, about to pour myself in my car and go home when I spied a chicken on the ground back a little from where the cars were parked. Of course, I went into attack mode and began slowly stalking the damn thing on my hands and knees. Once again, he didn’t move, or cluck much till I got within striking distance. No problem, I’m an experienced, fearless, chicken hunter now, so I thought. Well I jumped at the little sucker at which time he made it at last 50 feet down the road even before I landed. I laid there with my face in the dirt, looked up, and then down, and then DOWN? All the way to the bottom of what looked like at least a 100 foot straight down cliff. A few more inches and I wouldn’t be writing this hub right now. DUMB! Now, when I see a chicken or anything at all with wings and a beak, I’ll cross the street just to stay as far away from it as possible.
8…..I guess it must run in the family because while in the Army, in Japan for a couple years, I signed up for sport judo lessons. I liked it a lot so when I got back to the states, I couldn’t afford private lessons so I gathered up 6 girls and joined The North Jersey Jujitsu Club. Sly fox, as it turned out, I didn’t get a chance to lay a hand on one of them because that stage of Jujitsu was mostly kicking, and punching. Anyway, one of the girls was Japanese/American who later on invited me and my brother to her wedding. At the wedding, my brother was talking to this Japanese guy about a different Japanese chick they were looking at across the room. As guys will do, my brother happened to mention, boy would I love to get in her pants. The man he was talking to turned and said: “By the way, did you meet my daughter yet?”
Oh no! One of those open mouth, put in foot, moments that if you could die on the spot, you would…Gladly! Fortunately, the guy turned out to be a pretty cool dude and told him not to think anything of it as he was used to that kind of stuff by now.
9…..OK one more, kind of gross but funny as hell story that happened to me and just thinking about it today, decades later, makes me cringe with shame. At least this time, it wasn’t all my doing. For years, all the gang hung out in a local bar/restaurant called Grants Tavern. We mostly hung in the restaurant section which was a long rectangular room where one end was the entrance, and the other end was the entrance to the kitchen. Right before the kitchen was a large rectangular table where all the waitresses sat. We knew the owners and all of the waitresses well so we sat with them most of the time. I got there late one night. Butch Mertz, a close friend of mine was seated there along with everyone else. The table was full. No place to sit unless I dragged another chair over which I was about to do this one, most embarrassing night.
Butch and I used to do a funny thing where if we were sitting next to each other anywhere, under the table, one of us that remembered, would put the tip from a lit cigarette very gently up against the leg of the other, just barely on the pants cloth. Very quickly, the heat would pass through the cloth without burning it and cause a slight pain that would always cause the person being burned to jump a couple feet out of his chair. No harm done and very funny.
Well, this one night I was late, and I had to fart so bad I could taste it. By the time I got up to the waitress table it was one of those butt-squeezing containment jobs I should have taken care of before I came in. Standing next to Butchie, talking and figuring out where I was going to sit, Butchie did the cigarette bit on me. My body detected the impending burn and reacted instantly by jerking away from the source of heat. Naturally, I lost complete control over the humongous fart I was trying so desperately to suppress when Mother Nature reared her ugly head. You guessed it, out it came with a resounding, pressurized report that shook the whole room. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they heard it in the bar next door. Butchie fell on the floor, uncontrollably laughing for the next hour as he was the only one that knew what happened and why. Everyone else at the table and close by booths became dead silent and were all staring at me like I just pulled a gun on them. I knew my friends and the waitresses were all trying to come up with a smart-ass, verbal retort which I could have perhaps used to lessen the offence by responding myself but given the scope of the incident, we were all speechless, what the hell do you say? Then later, when I finally pulled up a chair and sat down, Butchie, moved his chair away from mine and so did the waitress on my other side. They knew they had a good thing going and they milked it all night long. Even, Millie, the owner, brought out the raviolis I ordered later and said she didn’t put any garlic in the special sauce she made just for me while she patted me on the shoulder like I was sick or something. The rest of the night, every ten minutes I’d hear a little ”burrrup” coming from one of them followed by suppressed giggles from them all. An embarrassing night for me and what goes around comes around I suppose. They finally had a chance to get even and boy did they ever.