Jun 9, 2010

Gather around kiddies and let Sky-Pappy tell you a tale...

The always entertaining Scope over at Scope-Tech shared a story a while ago about stepping on a pin and having it go into his toe. This woke up a couple of rarely used synapse from my youth and I thought I would share a tale of how I first knocked myself unconscious. Or as they say on the NFL network these days, "became concussed". Notice the use of the term "first", yeah, as you may have gathered from my ramblings in this here little corner of the web, it has happened more than a few times...


Now where was I? Oh yes, the first concussion...

It was a dark and stormy night, suddenly a shot rang out!

No, no that isn't it, it went more like this.

Growing up in a small town in the mountains there is a decidedly limited amount of entertainment available to young boys with quizzical minds. In those days before electronic devices (shut up, I'm old) and only 3 channels on the TV, we tended to make up our own forms of entertainment. Usually this involved trying to blow something up, set it on fire, or see what the human body could tolerate. This story involves the last one.

One thing that all of us had was a bike, and almost all of us were riding dirty on our bad-assed Stingrays! That's right, looking bad, you want some of this? Didn't think so. After running through the usual list of daredevil items such as seeing how fast you can come down Virginia Canyon, seeing who can get the most air off of a poorly conceived plywood ramp, or who can leave the longest skidmark (on the pavement you rejects, not our tightey-whiteys), we were left to come up with a new litmus test as to our toughness.

Thus was born jousting on bikes. This is just as good of an idea as it sounds.

The first method of jousting was designed purely to see who could make the other person give up, and involved whatever we had on hand at the time, which was spaghetti liquorish. After deciding which side we would pass each other on (clearly even we idiots didn't see the point in a head on) the game was to ride at each other full steam while spinning said liquorish in a helicopter movement above your head. Then while you pass each other, you whip that down and strike you opponent as hard as possible across the head/face/shoulders. Wait for tears to mock, repeat as needed.

Brilliant, wouldn't you say? Right up to the point where mom sees welts the size of mountain ranges on you face and subsequently freaks out/gets pissed/grounds your ass for the rest of your days.

After not getting quite the satisfaction or true jousting experience from this, one of my buddies came up with a much better idea. He had boxing gloves, and why not take a couple of gloves and put them on the end of boards and repeat the experiment?

That's right. Armed with cheap toy boxing gloves on the end of cut off pieces of 2x4, we found ourselves on the field of battle (grade school playground) lining up and hurtling at each other while lining up for the kill shot. Unfortunately for me, my buddies ability to handle the jousting lance was much better than mine, and he caught me square in the upper right side of the forehead. Some quick computations such as mass of kid times speed of bike (mach 3) over the relative humidity and I came up with about a whole lotta foot/pounds of force.

I remember waking up staring at blue sky with 3 heads at different angles all wondering if I was alie, followed immediately by the wise and sage advice of "don't tell your mom". I never did tell her, but I am sure the black and blue head, combined with me acting goofy(er) than normal clued her in on what happened. But to her credit I didn't get grounded again.

But I had learned my lesson that day, which was quickly forgotten by the next dare that came up, whatever it was.


  1. We did some nutty stuff, too, pre-video game era. I remember seeing how fast we could spin on the merry-go-round - which was, ridiculously, mounted on a concrete slab surrounded by grass. Someone would be the spinner, the rest of us would hold on for as long as we could as it went faster and faster and we got dizzier & dizzier and weaker & weaker, until someone fell off - usually (but not always) flying far enough to fall into the grass instead of on the concrete - and then the person would stop spinning the stupid thing and the rest of us would slowly spin to a stop and get off & stumble around and maybe puke.

    Fun times, that!

  2. Nothing, but nothing raises welts like "fencing" with sections of that orange Hot Wheels track.

  3. See, I hung out with boys who had nothing to do too, but they weren't as creative as that.

    For us it was seeing who could ride their bike down the steepest flight of stairs (I won that dare) or backflip off the top of the monkey bars with outhurting yourself (I did NOT win that dare) or who could keep their hands spread on the pool table the longest while the others dropped pool balls on your fingers (I'm not sure who won that. A clock would have been nice. And, by the way, OUCH!!!!)

  4. Anonymous6:26 AM

    I agree with Scope, Hot Wheels tracks leave the best welts.

    My brother used to watch those kung-fu movies and became obsessed with swords. Because my father would not buy us swords we would go out into the backyard and strip the palmetto bush. Once we got that "switch" we would hit each other with them, until we got caught or were too bloody. Oh and I have no clue what they are really called but chinaberrys in a slingshot, we would then take turns shooting at each other in a fashion similar to dodge ball. Whoever cried first lost.

  5. Anonymous7:02 AM

    I was a bit of a tomboy as a kid (No!). I spent most of my waking free hours jumping off of tall things to see if I could fly, or falling out of trees. Also riding my bike everywhere although it was a sort of lame purple folding bike and less badass than something an old lady would ride to the corner shop.

    I also liked falling off walls and breaking bones.

  6. Hot Wheels tracks - torture in kid world. My brother used to hold us down and stick a Vick's Vapo Inhaler up our nose.

    We liked to play on the iron railing and concrete steps of our church. One day I got a good push from a girl who resembled Nellie Olson. Concussion and a giant goose egg to brag about.

    My Mom and her siblings had a game called "lick or a kick". Some older sib would put a mound of black pepper in their palm and the younger one had to choose. Why they never chose the run away option is beyond me.

  7. God, I'm glad my girls never did anything like that...That I know of.

  8. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Nice. I don't recall anyone in our group of kids getting knocked out, but then again, we were in the suburbs and someone's mom was always nearby. The moms might have been indoors ironing the sheets or smoking and watching their stories, but they were always within earshot anyway.

  9. My brothers were a LOT like you guys. Their summer activity of choice was jumping through an inner tube (into the pool) and cutting open their heads on the valve stem. I can't even begin to tell you how many trips they made to the emergency room with mom lecturing, "How stupid can you be?"

  10. On winter my wonderful family including the wonderful Sky-Dad)tried out for a brand new winter Olympic sports. "Terminal Sledding" This involved a Father figure face down on a long ass Flexible flyer, a little brother on top of old Dad and Big sister pushing off and the plopping on the pile. Off we roared down the very slippery, very snowy back country road. Reaching speeds of 18MPH we flew on and on until that great ice patch turned out to be melted and WE STOPPPPPED!!!!!!!

  11. Anonymous7:06 AM

    OMG Too Funny. I guess I'm old too because I remember doing all the same stuff. My bike was a "Road Runner" with a purple banana seat. Even though I'm a girl we thought this would make us cool if we could hang with the boys...you know.."take it like a man" mentality. Great giggle this mornign with my coffee. You had me at "Squirrel."

  12. OH! The Hot Wheels tracks...those bring back painful memories...(I was a girl without older brothers, but my friends had them, and when they found out I was an only child, there was usually Hell To Pay, and the road there was paved with orange Hot Wheels tracks)
    But I digress- my story involves "chicken fighting". You know, you're in the pool, and two kids sit on the shoulders of 2 other kids, and then the top kids engage in a fight to pull each other off, thus causing everyone to fall into the pool.
    Very important words, those.
    Words we chose to ignore.
    We did not "chicken fight" in the pool at all.
    I grew up in the city of Chicago, and there were not a lot of public pools. Especially not at recess in sixth grade.
    We chose to "chicken fight" on the concrete and gravel of our playground.

    I remember waking up as another girl stepped on my head when she was getting up off the ground. I heard that several people landed there. Three, to be exact.

    (When your friends look at you and go: "Oh-Oh", you really can surmise it's not good.)

    They called the nurse from the high school to come look at me. She made me sit while they called my mom at work. She told me they weren't going to give me a mirror, because they were afraid I'd faint.
    (That in and of itself almost made me faint.)

    Stitches in my lip from my own tooth going through it, broken glasses(!), swollen tongue, lips, scraped face, elbows, knees, shoulder...ah, youth. Still have the scars.

    But I got to eat ice cream for dinner! For several days! (until the swelling went down.) SCORE!

  13. OMG. Truly, LOL. Enjoyed.