We continue our ‘Summers of Joel’ series.Â Some of the other stuff we did, back in the days when men were men… and wanted nothing to do with us:
- Shoot things. Joel had a American Daisy Pellet gun. I had some Brazilian air rifle thing that could kill a man or tiny horse at 100 paces. So we walked around the school shooting things. Neither of us were exactly Navy Seal material, so it mainly involved the destruction of inanimate objects. If we got lucky. Abi hit a sparrow once and cried for days. But she was a girl. One time my brother shot at a bumble bee and failed to notice the bathroom window behind said bee. The resulting hole wasn’t much bigger than the one that took the Titanic down. Dad never found out who did it until it got posted on the internet today. Whoops. My brother also did a similar thing with a Bow & Arrow one time. I can’t remember if Dad knew about that either. Dad also always had stories about how when he was a kid he could shoot a match 50 yards away and light it with the pellet. Yeah right. I never saw it with my own eyes. All I ever witnessed was plenty of curses aimed at Bolivia’s apparently shoddy matches. My aim was so good one time I shot a dog turd at our feet and it splattered all over Joel’s face. And that thing was fresh. I think it was still warm. You’d have to ask Joel’s face. Plus it was from their Rottweiler so it probably weighed 5 pounds. It was like getting hit in the face close-range with a bucket of sewage mousse. I was reminded in that moment how one man’s joy can be another’s misery.
- Watch R-Rated movies. Bolivia was awesome because there was no ratings system for movies and no one cared, especially not the TV stations. So we spent most of our afternoons in front of Joel’s TV watching Arnie or Stallone or Van Damme get huge paychecks for destroying things & people and attempting to speak English. At one point they did a James Bond marathon for weeks and weeks so we also got to see scantily-clad ladies everyday, which was probably as close as either of us was ever going to get to one, scantily-clad or not. If I get enough requests, or large amounts of money, I may even decide to do a series of James Bond reviews for the general public.
- Pee on each other. OK, in reality this only ever happened once, but it’s payback time and I hope Joel is harassed about this by the internets for the rest of his natural life. One time, after a sleep-over we were both busting and ran to the toilet in unison. Some desperate fighting ensued. Mid-stream, caught in the hilarity of the situation, Joel got the giggles and started waving that thing all over the place like a firehose at a warehouse inferno. By the end of it I was drenched and smelled like the rear exit of a Mexican bar. I hate you Joel. Although I guess with the dog turd we’re probably even.
- Build Forts. We built forts all the time. The great thing was over the holidays while the place was empty the workmen would set up construction sites that had plenty of useable materials. I’m sure the school would have been built 10 years earlier if we hadn’t spent our summers stealing worksite metal sheeting. The workers would always find them and tear them down, but we always made more. Some even had working sewage systems, but no one ever wanted to use them.
- Make Ninja Stars. Speaking of sheet metal, there used to be this great program on the mac called Aldus SuperPaint that let you draw symmetrical shapes and print them out. Great for useless things like art and architecture. Or Cool things like Ninja Stars. We’d design them, print them out and glue them to the metal, cutting them out with hacksaws. They were crude, but they flew straight and could kill a person (or tiny horse) without much wrist effort involved. One afternoon Joel tossed his through the playground and it shot up the slide. My sister was sitting at the top and it wizzed by her ear, narrowly missing her important bits. We put Ninja Star production on permanent hiatus after that.
- High Jump Mats. The school had these great high jump mat/cushion things that we could prop up against the wall of the gym and jump onto from the level above, knocking them over and falling onto them as they careened into the floor. They were so big, there was no way you could ever get hurt, except for the time Kathleen was underneath them as we came down and she got crushed to death. Or when Joel bounced off and smashed his face into the gym floor. Or when I drove a nail through my foot. Other than that, super-safe. Plus, they were covered in dust, so you could only use them for 15mins or so before your lungs gave out and you got a pulmonary embolism. For whatever reason, we always got in trouble from Dad for using them for something other than practicing high-jump. He knew we were just going to go back and do it again a week later. Sigh…
- Play in the workshop. We also got in trouble for playing in the school’s workshop. It could have been that we were using the lathe or drills unsupervised, or maybe that they were plugged into the wall socket using 2 bare wires. I was never sure, but Dad was always mad about it. I could have been making him something awesome made of wood. And love. I guess he’ll never know.
And that’s just SOME of the stuff we got up to, living on school grounds. If you’re lucky, I might even remember some more some day!