Sunday, April 22, 2007

Johnny Rumble:
A History Of Stupidity

It's human nature, right? Stupidity. It's universal. Do something stupid, and live to tell about it, you will tell about it. Or at least, much to your dismay, your friends will tell the tale. Do something stupid enough, and you might go to jail, or involuntarily remove ones self from the gene pool.

Well…I’m here once again to regale you with my own tales of stupidity. All of them. Or at least the ones I remember.

Age 10-11. It’s winter in North Carolina. There’s snow on the ground, and ice on the roads. I believe it was a Saturday. There was a hill in our neighborhood that had probably a 10-12% grade (the maximum allowable limit of the US Highway system is 6%). Some close friends of mine and myself set out for this hill for some sledding. Now down at the bottom of this hill was a holding pond that, when not filled, was covered in rocks. And I don’t mean little tiny gravel rocks, but rocks bigger than Robin Leech’s ego. Fucking large. Not quite boulders. Anyway…we knew full well what was down there, but hey, we were kids. Invincible and indestructible. All four of us were being stupid and standing up the sleds as we were speeding down the hill, striking poses and having fun. Well…I get it in my brain to jump the curb at the end of the cul-de-sac at the bottom. In a flimsy plastic sled. Into the afore mentioned empty holding pond. Lemme say that what I lacked in jump distance I more than made up for in a spectacular crash. Fortunately, I didn’t break anything, but the sled did snap in half, and the whole left side of my body was a giant bruise. Boulders hurt when you hit them.

Age 15 or 16. It’s fall if I recall. Maybe Summer. Doesn’t matter too much. My best friend on the planet is having a small party and there’s at least 3 cases of swill there. And not the good stuff. I’m talking like Minnesota shit beer. Like some drunk pissed in a can and called it beer. So after my friend consumed about 6 beers and I consumed about 3, we had to take his friend Nicole home. Nicole lives 12 miles away. He’s fairly inebriated, and I’m just getting that way. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a license at the time, nor a car, nor could I drive my friends manual transmission. So we set off together, figuring at least two sets of beer goggles might equal one set of normal goggles. Fortunately, it did that night. We got her home, and helped a couple of stranded bikers on the way back. Kids…do NOT drink and drive. It was stupid.

Age 17. Spring time in Oklahoma. I had just received my driver’s license after months upon months upon excruciating months on a learners permit. My father had just bought a 2003 GMC Sierra. Regular Cab, short bed. Four point three liter V-6. Victory Red. That truck was cherry. Was. Not two weeks into having my license, I’m out skipping school with a couple of friends (Shea and Brandon). I get the absolutely brilliant idea to go driving on a dirt road. Perhaps driving isn’t the right word. More like rally racing. I’m going close to 80 mph on a dirt road, power sliding the hell out of it. I’m drifting around corners, jumping whatever is in my way. I’m in the middle of this absolutely perfect slide. I’m counter-steering properly, the perfect angle, the perfect speed, it’s beautiful. Minus one thing. Divot. More like a pot-hole to be precise. Just seeing it at 65 mph, it looked big enough to swallow small Toyotas whole. Best I can figure, the left front tire (the trailing front in this case), entered the hole and jerked the steering wheel out of counter-steer and caused the truck to track straight into the ditch on the side of the road, through a barb-wire fence, back into the ditch and onto the road. I come skidding to 100 feet away from the crash and I’m just plain tweaking. Instant scenario states that I could have died, along with my two friends. Who are both screaming like girls. Acceptable for one, slap worthy for the other. What makes this uber-stupid though…when I get back to the school, I call my mother and say the truck has been vandalized in the parking lot. Cops are called and they show up. And I proceed to lie my ass off. Stupid, yes…I know. I eventually do come clean, and end up footing the $2600 repair bill. I started my life in debt. And remained that way for 11 months until I turned 18. Brilliant.

Age18. Last day of high school for both my friend and I, and we decided to skip it and go hot tubing instead. While there was no alcohol involved, we did have to break into this upscale apartment complex in order to get to the hot tub. Had to jump a 6 foot gate to do it. No problems there. Later in the day however, my friend and I get the genius idea to go bridge jumping. For those that don’t know what it is, the basic premise to find a bridge that’s crossing a body of water (preferably a river) that’s at least 20 feet deep. The bridge we found was at least 40 feet from the surface of the water to the road deck. Now normally this wouldn’t be a problem. But it had been raining the classic Oklahoma thunderstorm all day and yesterday. Tornados. So this particular tributary of the Canadian River was rain swollen and quite fast. Naturally we jump. Lemme tell ya, those few seconds of free fall were awesome. It was fun, and I’ll do it again in a heartbeat, but it’s defiantly not one of my smartest moments.

Now I’m almost 20, and I haven’t really had the chance to do anything stupid since then, but I always am looking for something to add to the history. There’s been lots more stories, mostly nothing really funny or good, but these are the finest I’ve got. Not much, but defiantly something.

Johnny Rumble

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