skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com
Monday, 07 June
Boy Versus Car
Growing up in a small town in Idaho, finding fun things to do with one's spare time was generally a challenge, and let's face it, rolling hoops with a stick or even shooting countless thing with BB guns gets pretty old pretty fast. The problem became worse once you hit high school, because really, high schoolers are evil little fucks with nearly boundless energy and frequent spasms of hopeless idiocy. You see the problems that can happen once you give the little bastards some car keys. But every parent does, at some point--God knows why. Then, all of a sudden, there's things to do.
Remember, however, this was a small town in Idaho. So "doing stuff," by our faulty, limited barometers, meant much less than it might to some. In the absence of genuinely interesting-to-teenagers stuff--video games, cable TV, urban unrest--our "doing stuff" mostly consisted of driving around, usually--it was devoutly to be hoped--while drinking beer.
What a really great idea. Drunk kids operating heavy machinery.
My first car was a really hilariously ugly blue Chevy Monza. It had this leatherette-y material that sheathed the top of the car, and it was stricken by some awful mange; my friends delighted in peeling raddled strips of the stuff off my car while I yelled at them. They rightly ignored me; it would be like telling them to not poke a corpse with a stick. Boys ruin things, and my car begged to be ruined.
One night while out in my car, driving listlessly through the dirt roads that spread everywhere beyond town limits--and where cops almost always weren't--we drank beer and listened to music and hassled each other. (If this sounds boring, it almost certainly was; the thing is, it beat utter inertia.) At some point, coming up on a turn, we spied a pickup truck parked by the side of the road. We were able to identify it immediately, of course; we knew pretty much every vehicle in town as well as who owned them. This one belonged to D., an upperclassman who while normally docile, had been known when piqued to unhesitatingly kick ass. We rolled up cautiously and said, "Hey, D. What's up?"
He stared at us flatly and took a drink of beer, saying nothing. The silence spun out ominously. We tried again. "So, out cruisin', huh?" Silence. D. took another pull on his beer. He didn't seem to be in a very good mood, and we were probably pissing him off by bothering him. He continued to stare at us intently, and I began to mentally evaluate who of us in the car was the fastest; I knew I could beat a couple of my friends in a footrace, so hopefully D. would expend all his beatdown energies on them.
Suddenly, D. crumpled his beer can and tossed it into the grass. Then he said, "Hang on," and opened his pickup door. Oh, fuck, here we go, I thought. He's going to pull us out of the car and bend us into terrible shapes.
But he didn't get out of the pickup. He calmly leaned out the door and emitted a powerful jet of acrid vomit onto the dirt. Then he sat back up in his seat again, pulling the door shut.
"Was waitin' for that. I could feel it." D. opened a fresh beer. "What's going on tonight?" he asked cheerfully. "Out cruisin'?"
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I claim this post and its riches for the glory of myself and my descendants.
We should have grown up together, you and I. But then we'd probably be dead. Dead...of Teenage Kicks!
Jesus, Skot, why in the world do you continue to refuse to take your writing seriously? Posts like that one are fucking masterpieces. Submit a collection of these for publication, I'm telling you. Get to it. NOW!
My Mom had a purple Monza, and my Dad had a silver Monza. I was the coolest kid at my elementary school.
Of course, this was 1975-1979.
I agree. Take it seriously.
I spent my adolesence in North Dakota, so this post is hauntingly familiar.
I totally wrecked our family car with TEENAGE KICKS!
Seriously, Skot. You should get paid for this.
Same thing outside Lacey, Washington. Dirt roads, big cars, train tracks, and nothing, I mean nothing, to do. Oh, add in a few hundred miles of military-owned forest with dirt roads -- the Expansion Pack.
A lotta people died young.
I've tried to tell the story many times about how, at 2 in the morning on a desolate North Carolina road, and with a visiting Malaysian man in my passenger seat, my Pinto station wagon's headlights turned blue and smoke came pouring out of my tapedeck... but it's never sounded quite that funny. Such wasted potential on my part. You rock, Mr. K.
Small, isolated town ... shitty cars ... yeah, I know it. We used to toss stuff out of the back of a small truck at high speeds downhill to see the sparks and flying crap tumble along behind us. I think we managed a clothes dryer, once, but I can't recall where we got it. A lot of shopping carts, that's for sure.
And we were the absolute bane of mail-boxes, with our baseball bats.
While I never actually wrecked a car, I can say that logging-roads + snow-ice + teenage stupidity = some fucked up shit.
Sometimes on purpose ...
Hey Kurt? I have, like, twelve large appliances in my garage that I'm trying to get rid of.
Seriously, Skot. You should get paid for this.
You know you speak perfectly for those of us doomed to grow up in about a million square miles of Australia, don't you.
'cept we are on the other side of the road. The schools are pretty different, but the car thang binds us all.
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