Saturday, February 19, 2011


Boys are dumb. I'm sure there is empiric evidence to attest to this, but I'm talking from experience. In grade school the girls were primly dressing dolls and hosting sophisticated tea parties, pinkies daintily extended as they sipped their imaginary Orange Pekoe. The boys would crash their polite soiree, pull their pigtails, call them "Girls" like it was a derogatory term, and then slouch away like Neanderthals in high-tops. At this point one of our gang would pose the following: "Wanna throw rocks at each other?". Go ahead, mull it over. Throw rocks. At each other.

Yep, we'd load up the pockets of our GwG's and Ruggers with hard and sharp projectiles to hurl with great velocity at your nearest and dearest friends exposed heads. This may have been an evolution of a primordial urge to just throw stuff. I was a pioneer in this field, always looking for new and improved ways to advance the art of throwing stuff. Fluffy snowballs would progress to hard compact slushballs soaked in dirty water, and invariably this evolved to freezing them into lethal iceballs.
I was the first to realize that crabapple wars took an a whole new dimension by using rotten mushy produce, and patented the now infamous "Kinder Surprise". This unique innovation involved carefully trapping a wasp that was feasting inside the fermenting apple with your thumb. When the decaying fruit exploded upon contact on an unsuspecting pal it would release the now ornery wasp from its pulpy prison, and seek the nearest target for retaliation.

The playing field itself was subject to review and construction. There was a small forest bordering our school that substituted for all our warzones, from the balmy jungles of Vietnam to the frozen Tundra of Hoth. It abounded with trees both deciduous and coniferous, some a century old, others mere saplings, all implements of war. Long grasses and massive flowering bushes offered ample hiding places to lay in wait and ambush a marauding band of Cylons. But there was only so many ways to lay siege to the thorny brambles of The Legion of Doom before it gets stale.

To add some reality to our fantasy we would secretly sneak into the forest after dark and engineer elaborate pitfalls, tripwires and Ramboesque deathtraps. There were catapulting-face-slapping saplings held bent with invisible fishing line, wipeout-inducing-shoe-sucking-saturated mud patches camouflaged under a carefully arranged layer of brush and needles, and the coup de grace: a four and a half foot deep bear-pit filled with dank dead autumn leaves. The leaves a mere courtesy to give the human prey a softish blanket to lay on while waiting for the paramedics to splint both tibia and fibula. War is hell.

But here's the truth. Boys aren't dumb, that generalization is just a gross misnomer. We were well aware of what we were doing and what the outcomes may well have been, in theory. We had a good idea that fashioning a giant human slingshot using an inner-tube stretched taut between two trees may end in stitches (and it did), and that there was a good chance intentionally bellyflopping from the roof of the garage into the pool would be agonizing and require an ice-pack (and it did). But what we need is to find out For Sure, in Practice, like junior scientists. Fearless adventurers we live for the Experience and The Knowing.

In retrospect, throwing rocks at each other was pretty dumb though.


  1. What a insane coo-coo-kachew! A thousand curses on you catholics for mining the forest behind my school! You were across the street! And if that wasn't enoughyou eventually stole my middle school for your high school! The abomination!

  2. I played crabapple war in my twenties. I'd still play it. Your kinder surprise is a great weapon. All Hail thee.

  3. No mention of Captain America. I'm thrown by this. And disappointed.

  4. Johnny O, it was the whole war connection...