My First Adventure in Driving I was not a bad kid. I didn’t steal, well, except the time in high school where I took the city’s asphalt paving steam roller, the kind with the big cylinder in front, for a joy ride at 2 a.m. I got about a block before I realized that if the police came up behind me with their lights flashing it wasn’t exactly going to be a high-speed pursuit. I ditched the thing and ran. The city employees didn’t even realize it had been moved. So, I am not sure if that counts. Oh, I also stole a friend’s pickup truck at a party one night, but that was more like borrowed. I returned to the exact spot I liberated it from about an hour later, just with fifty corn stalks sticking out of the grill and wheel wells and covered in enough dirt to plant corn on it the next year. It was a legendary party. And there was the cow and horse that I left in friends’ apartments in college. I knew they would eventually be returned to their owners.  How was I to know that cows are more than willing to go up steps, but refuse to make the return trip down because they cannot see their feet?  Looking back, my friend probably did not get his cleaning deposit back on that one.  And I can now see how his future wife might have hated me after that. In my defense, the cow did look better in her nightgown. There were a few other things, okay, maybe more than a few, but none of them were for self-profit. It was always for entertainment value. I really wasn’t a vandal, with the lone exception being the time the local co-op was being painted. The workers leaving that scaffolding there over the weekend were just inviting young high school boys to add an artistic touch to the project. How were we to know that the city fathers might not approve of an extremely well drawn red phallic symbol greeting newcomers to our small town?  We might have gotten away with it, except my friends decided to sign their masterpiece with their initials. In a high school of roughly 250 people, it was fairly easy to narrow down the suspects. There were the National Guard smoke bombs we threw in the school courtyard as seniors. Covering your face with a stocking mask doesn’t really disguise your identities when your friends are a shirtless, tall, skinny, freckled, ginger with a funny walk, a little person who would not pass the five-foot mark until college, and you have the body of a large Viking warrior. (Young people, before cell phones and wanting to post your entire boring life on-line, there was this thing called streaking. Entertainment had by all. Until you have left a butt print on the hood of a cop car [Pub. note: I only did that once, in 1972, in Iowa City, during an all-invited Streak In on the Pentacrest! Me and several thousand other naked people.], you don’t know what being alive really is. I avoided such moments because I have pasty, white skin and didn’t want to blind some poor soul.) (In fact, entire fraternities enjoyed running through the houses on sorority row, much to the cheers and catcalls of the sisters. Even though he was wearing a mask, I knew a guy who could not figure out how various co-eds knew who he was and kept calling him by name.  It was probably the fact that he was the only African- American in the fraternity that helped. He is now a lawyer. Stupidity crosses all racial and class barriers.)    The problem with being young and dumb is you are young and dumb, sometimes really, really, really dumb. I tell these stories to illustrate how moronic I was. I wasn’t a mean kid or a troublemaker. I was just “active”. I had great parents who taught me right from wrong. Their lessons just took longer than they should have to work their way into my skull. The only thing that frightens me is how young I did certain things. Fearless, I truly believed that, if my older brothers could do something, I could do it as well. Most people remember their first driving experience, their first time behind the wheel with a driver’s ed. instructor or their father taking them out to an empty parking lot to get the feeling for a car. I remember my dad teaching my oldest brother to drive the family station wagon and purposely clutching a bible as I loudly prayed to Jesus to not let us all die in a ball of fire. I thought it was funny. My brother didn’t. Still, if you ever witness my brother behind the wheel, even today, you would probably say a prayer as well. I learned to drive slipping and sliding in the family pickup all by myself in the back pasture of our acreage. Except for a horse or two, there was nothing in that large patch of grass a person could hit. I was so scared I could not see the speedometer after fifteen miles-an-hour. A year later I put my driving skills to the test on a real road. I had a college- age cousin who decided to move without letting his roommates know he was leaving. With the possibility of imminent violence, someone somewhere thought it was a good idea to have young Trevor help. It was my first inkling that if a relative had a job that involved no skill at all, just brute strength, I was the first person thought of. The plan was a simple one. While his roommates were in class, we would pack up all his stuff and move him out before they returned home. I learned a very important lesson that day. College-age boys are pigs. Saying that, I apologize to pigs, because even they would not live in that filth. There were stains on the carpet that I was not sure if they were from an animal, vegetable or mineral. There were pizza boxes piled up like the Eiffel Tower, and more dirty clothes lying around than could be found outside of the shower area in a homeless shelter.  There was an empty keg sitting in the bathtub reeking of stale beer. Either that or I sucked on a tube that I probably shouldn’t have. With ninja-like skills I carried box after box out to the station wagon borrowed from my grandparents. It was exhilarating, the threat of violence and mayhem in the air. With five minutes to spare, we got the job done. My cousin climbed behind the wheel. We were on the way to his new apartment when he suddenly remembered that he had forgotten his toaster in the kitchen. Returning to the house, he noticed his roommates’ cars in the driveway. They were home. Still, maybe they had not noticed that his room was empty? Calmly, he told me to get behind the wheel, that he was going in. If things went haywire, he would come running out, jump in the passenger seat, and I was to hit the gas to get us out of there. In my mind, I put on driving gloves. Placing my hands at ten and two o’clock, I prepared for the worst. The worst happened. My cousin came flying out the front door, carrying his toaster like a football with a couple of his roommates in pursuit, screaming about the rent. Jumping into the passenger seat, he screamed, “Go, go, go.” This was the moment I had lived my whole life for. I floored it. The station wagon actually fishtailed as we hit Duff Ave. It was like I was a Duke of Hazzard. After a few blocks and several broken traffic laws, my cousin looked at me and innocently asked, “How old are you?” “Eight. I am in third grade,” I replied.  You would be surprised how fast a car can stop when someone in the passenger seat is screaming at the driver.  The cherry on top was that night. As my cousin slept, I pulled out one of his George Carlin albums. It was the funniest thing I had ever heard. How had my parents not let me listen to this man before? I knew my classmates had to discover his greatness. So, the next week at show and tell I recounted my adventures in driving, but sadly only got through five of the seven words of Mr. Carlin’s routine before I was sent to the principal’s office for the first time.  
My First Adventure in Driving I was not a bad kid. I didn’t steal, well, except the time in high school where I took the city’s asphalt paving steam roller, the kind with the big cylinder in front, for a joy ride at 2 a.m. I got about a block before I realized that if the police came up behind me with their lights flashing it wasn’t exactly going to be a high-speed pursuit. I ditched the thing and ran. The city employees didn’t even realize it had been moved. So, I am not sure if that counts. Oh, I also stole a friend’s pickup truck at a party one night, but that was more like borrowed. I returned to the exact spot I liberated it from about an hour later, just with fifty corn stalks sticking out of the grill and wheel wells and covered in enough dirt to plant corn on it the next year. It was a legendary party. And there was the cow and horse that I left in friends’ apartments in college. I knew they would eventually be returned to their owners.  How was I to know that cows are more than willing to go up steps, but refuse to make the return trip down because they cannot see their feet?  Looking back, my friend probably did not get his cleaning deposit back on that one.  And I can now see how his future wife might have hated me after that. In my defense, the cow did look better in her nightgown. There were a few other things, okay, maybe more than a few, but none of them were for self-profit. It was always for entertainment value. I really wasn’t a vandal, with the lone exception being the time the local co-op was being painted. The workers leaving that scaffolding there over the weekend were just inviting young high school boys to add an artistic touch to the project. How were we to know that the city fathers might not approve of an extremely well drawn red phallic symbol greeting newcomers to our small town?  We might have gotten away with it, except my friends decided to sign their masterpiece with their initials. In a high school of roughly 250 people, it was fairly easy to narrow down the suspects. There were the National Guard smoke bombs we threw in the school courtyard as seniors. Covering your face with a stocking mask doesn’t really disguise your identities when your friends are a shirtless, tall, skinny, freckled, ginger with a funny walk, a little person who would not pass the five-foot mark until college, and you have the body of a large Viking warrior. (Young people, before cell phones and wanting to post your entire boring life on-line, there was this thing called streaking. Entertainment had by all. Until you have left a butt print on the hood of a cop car [Pub. note: I only did that once, in 1972, in Iowa City, during an all-invited Streak In on the Pentacrest! Me and several thousand other naked people.], you don’t know what being alive really is. I avoided such moments because I have pasty, white skin and didn’t want to blind some poor soul.) (In fact, entire fraternities enjoyed running through the houses on sorority row, much to the cheers and catcalls of the sisters. Even though he was wearing a mask, I knew a guy who could not figure out how various co-eds knew who he was and kept calling him by name.  It was probably the fact that he was the only African- American in the fraternity that helped. He is now a lawyer. Stupidity crosses all racial and class barriers.)    The problem with being young and dumb is you are young and dumb, sometimes really, really, really dumb. I tell these stories to illustrate how moronic I was. I wasn’t a mean kid or a troublemaker. I was just “active”. I had great parents who taught me right from wrong. Their lessons just took longer than they should have to work their way into my skull. The only thing that frightens me is how young I did certain things. Fearless, I truly believed that, if my older brothers could do something, I could do it as well. Most people remember their first driving experience, their first time behind the wheel with a driver’s ed. instructor or their father taking them out to an empty parking lot to get the feeling for a car. I remember my dad teaching my oldest brother to drive the family station wagon and purposely clutching a bible as I loudly prayed to Jesus to not let us all die in a ball of fire. I thought it was funny. My brother didn’t. Still, if you ever witness my brother behind the wheel, even today, you would probably say a prayer as well. I learned to drive slipping and sliding in the family pickup all by myself in the back pasture of our acreage. Except for a horse or two, there was nothing in that large patch of grass a person could hit. I was so scared I could not see the speedometer after fifteen miles-an-hour. A year later I put my driving skills to the test on a real road. I had a college- age cousin who decided to move without letting his roommates know he was leaving. With the possibility of imminent violence, someone somewhere thought it was a good idea to have young Trevor help. It was my first inkling that if a relative had a job that involved no skill at all, just brute strength, I was the first person thought of. The plan was a simple one. While his roommates were in class, we would pack up all his stuff and move him out before they returned home. I learned a very important lesson that day. College-age boys are pigs. Saying that, I apologize to pigs, because even they would not live in that filth. There were stains on the carpet that I was not sure if they were from an animal, vegetable or mineral. There were pizza boxes piled up like the Eiffel Tower, and more dirty clothes lying around than could be found outside of the shower area in a homeless shelter.  There was an empty keg sitting in the bathtub reeking of stale beer. Either that or I sucked on a tube that I probably shouldn’t have. With ninja-like skills I carried box after box out to the station wagon borrowed from my grandparents. It was exhilarating, the threat of violence and mayhem in the air. With five minutes to spare, we got the job done. My cousin climbed behind the wheel. We were on the way to his new apartment when he suddenly remembered that he had forgotten his toaster in the kitchen. Returning to the house, he noticed his roommates’ cars in the driveway. They were home. Still, maybe they had not noticed that his room was empty? Calmly, he told me to get behind the wheel, that he was going in. If things went haywire, he would come running out, jump in the passenger seat, and I was to hit the gas to get us out of there. In my mind, I put on driving gloves. Placing my hands at ten and two o’clock, I prepared for the worst. The worst happened. My cousin came flying out the front door, carrying his toaster like a football with a couple of his roommates in pursuit, screaming about the rent. Jumping into the passenger seat, he screamed, “Go, go, go.” This was the moment I had lived my whole life for. I floored it. The station wagon actually fishtailed as we hit Duff Ave. It was like I was a Duke of Hazzard. After a few blocks and several broken traffic laws, my cousin looked at me and innocently asked, “How old are you?” “Eight. I am in third grade,” I replied.  You would be surprised how fast a car can stop when someone in the passenger seat is screaming at the driver.  The cherry on top was that night. As my cousin slept, I pulled out one of his George Carlin albums. It was the funniest thing I had ever heard. How had my parents not let me listen to this man before? I knew my classmates had to discover his greatness. So, the next week at show and tell I recounted my adventures in driving, but sadly only got through five of the seven words of Mr. Carlin’s routine before I was sent to the principal’s office for the first time.