As a Kid, I Was An Idiot

As a child, I wish I had thought more like Dwight Schrute (see above quote). In swapping childhood stories at work, it became very clear to me that as a child I was an idiot. Here are just a couple examples.

They’d be worth money today

In 1977-1978, my grandparents bought me and my brother the entire collection of Star Wars figures. We had them all. We played with them all the time. At some point, I guess we got “too old” or “too cool” to play with them anymore.

My buddy’s cousin (I think) used to sell fireworks out of his house. I don’t think I ever saw him sell any real big stuff, but we only used to buy bottle rockets, firecrackers, and jumping jacks from him. I’m guessing it was probably illegal, but we never said anything.

I believe we started with Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars. “I wonder how far we can make these cars go if we put a bottle rocket in it?” This is an example of “Idiot Thinking.” Those cars went pretty far for sure.

It didn’t take long for us to find Star Wars figures we disliked (like the Tuscan Raider) and we started to tie them to bottle rockets. They didn’t go as far, and once the thing exploded, we’d want to see the damage done to it.

We also used to put fire crackers in their hand, which almost always held them perfectly. Why we got such a thrill out of this, I will never know. We destroyed so many figures and cars. When I look to see how much some of those figures are worth today … sigh.

Never Blew Up

Jumping Jacks were sometimes called “spinners.” They would spin and bounce and sometimes fly up in the air. These were a favorite of my friends and me.

I’m not sure who had the brilliant idea of dropping them in the sewer, but we spent many hours dropping them into the sewer and watching them spin underwater. They always made the funniest sound as they went off.

I’m not sure just how much flammable gas is in a sewer, but I should be thankful there was never an explosion!

Another Fire Tale

Back in the days before computers, people used typewriters. If you wanted to make a copy of what you were typing, you could throw a piece of carbon paper between two pieces of typing paper and when you were done, you’d have a copy.

I’m really not sure why my dad seemed to have an abundance of carbon paper at our house. I’m also not sure why it was in our garage. At any rate, we found it and my buddy said to me, “You know, if you put a match to that, it will go up really fast!”

That’s all it took for me to go in the house and grab a lighter. My buddy and I took one piece of carbon paper and took the lighter to the bottom of it – “WHOOSH!” It flamed up and disappeared in like a second. We were both amazed – and had to keep doing it. Piece after piece went up in a “Whoosh” until….

The garage door to the house opened and my dad is standing there. “What the hell are you idiots doing?,” he said. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how he found out. I think I tried to say, “Nothing,” but he knew. Our neighbor across the street was in his front doorway watching us burn those pieces of carbon paper and called my dad.

My dad yelled, “You know there is gas in here! You could light the fumes and blow up the house!” I’m sure I got one heck of a spank and was probably grounded for a week or two. Bonus: No explosion.

It Must Be a Boy Thing

The gals at my work place just laughed as the males shared our destructive tendencies. They obviously have never destroyed toys – just for fun. When our lead tech called, I asked him if he ever blew up Star Wars figures, to which he replied, “Never Star Wars figures, but I’d build Lego houses and blow them up with firecrackers!

This was the late 70’s and early 80’s. I really do not want to think about what kids today are doing “just for fun.”