Column: There were a lot of sharks
August 30, 2023
In my weekly column, I will often touch upon various stories from my childhood.
While it is always fun to reminisce about a wonderful event, there are also times that I cringe at some of the stupid things I did as a kid.
The other day, I read a post online from a friend from elementary school. Thinking of our friendship really brought back some memories of grade school. Most of the stories were of better times, but a few made me shake my head.
One of these painful memories involved a class discussion about the ocean. I was probably in third or fourth grade when my classmates and teacher shared stories about vacations to visit the ocean. I had been to the sea before, but rather than tell the truth, I came up with something very different.
I told the class that I had decided to soak my feet while on a fishing boat. The truth is I, to this day, have never been on a fishing boat in the ocean. But this story gets worse. I went into great detail about cutting my foot earlier in the day and how blood was starting to drip into the water. I wish this were the end of how bad my lie was, but it was not. My class soon heard about hammerhead sharks surrounding the boat because I had dropped so much blood in the water. I went big, too. Rather than a few sharks, it was around 20, and everybody on the boat was afraid, as if it was a scene from Jaws.
I vividly remember telling this story and thinking I’ve already committed to a lie; I better make this good. My teacher gave me a look like she seriously felt terrible I needed this type of attention. Some of my friends looked thrilled by the story but were probably feinting so I wouldn’t feel bad. I honestly have no idea why I decided to lie that day. Maybe it just made me feel better at the moment.
Unlike my experience with the sharks, I will not lie about how misbehaved I could be growing up. I was reminded of another story last week while mowing the lawn and had a crab apple drop on me.
I would spend a lot of time in the summer months at my dad’s house, which just so happened to have a crab apple tree similar to the one in my front yard. I remember spending hours hitting apples with a whiffle ball bat and may or may not have broken a few windows. I had one neighbor who came out and yelled at me the moment apples started flying all over the neighborhood.
One afternoon, I spent time with my half-sister, who was upset because her close friend and brother started being mean to her. While we were sitting outside messing with apples, her friend and sibling started riding their bikes down the street and began cussing and yelling at my sister. I did not enjoy this, but let it slide. A few minutes later, they rode by again, still yelling profanities. At this point, I decided to formulate a plan.
There were all sorts of apples that had fallen in the yard. I figured, why not put them to good use and maybe end this needless drama? We hid in the yard until they rode by again, and as soon as they came into sight, we started pelting them with apples. They had ridden right into an ambush, and the poor kids got pelted repeatedly. They were so shocked they stopped in the middle of the street as we continued to throw apples at them.
They did not return after this, so we figured we could move on with our day.
A few minutes later, there was a phone call from the kids’ parents. They were not happy. I guess their kids were pretty shaken up by
A short while after this, the cops showed up at the house. They were not pleased either. The officer called my dad, who had to come home. He was not happy.
We didn’t end up getting in much trouble. We just had to do an in-person apology.
We both apologized.
It probably was not one of the most shining moments of my life, but it was the last damn time those little hooligans came rolling down the street on their bikes.