Two Tales of Youthful Misbehavior

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I need a break from the news, and I’m hoping you need one, too. I’m Carr-fire exhausted. And I’m exhausted by politics—embarrassed for our country regarding the latest Trump news: the bruhaha with his fellow reality TV character, Omarosa.

I give you below a couple of tales of getting into trouble in my youth. My aim is to elicit similar stories from you readers in the comments. My two vignettes aren’t embellished in any way, but if you feel the need to fiddle with facts for the sake of entertainment, go for it. Goal #1 is levity, life here under the blanket of oppressive heat and smoke being as it is.

The Window Putty Incident

I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has passed, so I’m free to tell the tale.

I was skateboarding in the halls of my elementary school one weekend with a buddy in 4th grade. Some of the glazed single-pane factory windows on a classroom had just been replaced, and the putty was still soft. We decided that it would be a good prank to scrape out some of the putty and put it in our classroom door’s keyhole. Then we decided that it would be a much better prank to put putty in almost every keyhole on campus.

By Monday we’d forgotten about our deed. When all the kids showed up at school that morning, the custodians were already removing the doors from the doorjambs, removing the doorknobs, and dropping said doorknobs in buckets of solvent. We were informed that school was canceled and were told to return to our homes. I had the presence of mind to find my buddy and convince him that we needed to make a pact—tell NOBODY about this, because kids can’t keep secrets.

We were never brought to justice.

The Paper Airplane Incident

Here’s how I knew a couple of years later—when my buddy and I managed to get school canceled—that kids can’t keep things under their hats.

When I was in 2nd grade I had quickly finished an assignment and was bored sitting at my desk. Our teacher, Mrs. Oaks, was at the front of the class at her own desk, head down, grading papers or something. I folded a paper airplane and threw it.

To my horror, the airplane banked to the left and began floating directly at her—I was sure it was going to land on her desk.

It didn’t.

Instead, the airplane maintained altitude and came to rest abruptly, nosing into her magnificent 1960s beehive hairdo (we’re talking Marge Simpson-eque), and sticking soundly. She looked up, plucked the plane from her hair-stack, and demanded, “WHO THREW THIS?!” Nobody said anything, but about 25 kids turned and looked at me.

Justice was swift and Biblical.

So there you have it—my two tales of youthful misbehavior. Your turn.

Steve Towers
Steve Towers is co-owner of a local environmental consultancy. After obtaining his Ph.D. from UC Davis and dabbling as a UCD lecturer, he took a salary job with a Sacramento environmental firm. Sitting in stop-and-go traffic on Highway 50 one afternoon, he reckoned that he was receiving 80 hours of paid vacation per year and spending 520 hours per year commuting to and from work. He and his wife Elise sold their house and moved to Redding three months later, and have been here for more than 20 years. His hobbies include travel, racquet sports, taking the dogs on hikes, and stirring pots. He can be reached at towers.steven@gmail.com
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