Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

How many times have we looked back on something we’ve done – on our own, or with the encouragement of like-minded buddies – and realized something, or someone, had taken control of our brains? Aliens, a master hypnotist, weird virus, or a random stupid pill that somehow got mixed in our bottle of vitamins. Because surely if we’d been our normal, in control selves, we wouldn’t have done whatever it is we did…

First thing that comes to mind took place on a big hill at Silver Lake State park during a ride across the sand dunes when a cousin who wanted to experience a moment we’d only seen in movies and television commercials exclaimed, “Hey! When we get to the top of the next hill, let’s raise our arms in the air!”

I’m not sure whether it was because we were riding in the seat at the very back of the dune buggy facing outward or not, but as soon as that baby crested the hill and started down the other side, we were thrown up in the air (but not out of the buggy). On the way back down, our backs slammed into the roll-bar. Not quite the Hallmark moment she’d hoped for, I think.

Kristy K. James sand dunesSmart people. They’re standing on top of the hill.

Same trip during a brief stop another cousin said, “Hey! Let’s run down this hill!” My mother said, “You’ll be sorry – and I’m not coming down to help you up either.” I was and she didn’t.

Next instance that comes to mind involves a teacher I was dating. I was eighteen and he was twenty-three so I’m sure age and immaturity factored a little – or a lot – into what happened that night. It also involved a lot of small-town  boredom …and maybe a little imported Canadian beer (which is the only beer I ever liked because it tasted like apple cider). But when he said, “I have an M-80, let’s go blow up Bubba Smith’s mailbox,” I was game.

At the time, I didn’t know blowing up mailboxes was a crime, or that M-80’s are the kind of fireworks that are illegal to have in the United States, but hey, in a lake town with a population of less than twenty-five hundred people, there usually isn’t a whole lot going on. At least nothing that doesn’t involve some sort of trouble.

Fortunately, nothing went boom (can we say ‘a dud?’), but Bubba saw us pull up on the dark dirt road, jumped in his big bad pickup truck – and chased us over most of the county before he figured out it was us. During that ‘adventure,’ my guy managed to get his sporty little tin can very close to 100 mph, and tore up someone’s vegetable garden when he made an unexpected (and rather frightening) u-turn to try and lose the redneck behind us (didn’t work).

Kristy K. James sporty carVery similar to the car we were in that night…

Those are just a sampling of the stupid stunts I did as a not terribly bright teen. Obviously some were just silly, while one or two like the M-80 incident could have had more dire consequences. Thank God most of us live, learn lessons, and come to realize some things just aren’t worth the risk.

Are there times in your life that you just look back and wonder what you were thinking? Things you did that make you feel lucky to be alive today? Feel free to share some examples in the comments section below.

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