Are You Going To Take Him To The Hospital? A Tale of Teenage Stupidity   Stupidity can gain momentum like a rock rolling down a hill, especially when you are a teenager. I can still remember the Marty-like phone calls to my friends. Me: “Hey, want to do something?” Friend: “Yeah, whaddya want to do?”   Let’s break something… You did not know what that something was or what breaking it meant, but those words were like a song to a teenage boy’s heart.  Bad skin, coursing testosterone, a limited vocabulary, the constant search for female validation, and a self-centered worldview, teenage boys are a mere surfboard on a giant wave of stupidity. At any moment there could be a huge, spectacular wipeout. If you are lucky your parents don’t find out about these moments for a decade or two when you are telling the story around the kitchen table and your mother suddenly gets that crushed look on her face as if she is suddenly questioning her past mothering ability.   My parents were pretty jaded having had so many boys by the time I came rolling around. They were pretty cagey about things. My dad’s favorite trick was to walk up to one of my friends and say in a low voice, “I know what you did last night.”   My friend would then proceed to tell him in vivid detail our exploits from the previous evening that my father had no idea we had done until my friend opened his mouth. I might be in the bathroom, downstairs, or in my room, and would learn of his interactions with my father bellowing from another room, “Trevor, your car keys, please.”   We were just average teenage boys, which meant we had the stupidity gene in spades. So, the highlight of our high school days were fireworks. It meant, first, somebody had money for them, which has highly unusual because being broke was basically the dominant theme of teenage life back then. Two, the individual was able smuggle them back from another state without their parents noticing or he was able to find someone a touch older than us that would be willing to sell them to us, which rarely happened.   Even though we had the preventive videos in school showing the mangled hand that a firecracker had gone off in, that I am sure they still have today, with the local police officer solemnly intoning, “Fireworks are dangerous things, kids,” it was pure joy when you had them.   Countless firecrackers went off in hands and, strangely, all the fingers remained intact. Heck, we had Roman candle wars. After which, you would have to go home and come up with a passable explanation in regards to why you had a burn hole the size of a quarter in the windbreaker your mom just bought you last month.  Long before Jackass and back when M-TV just showed music videos, there was always one guy that everyone else could talk into firing a Roman candle or a bottle rocket from their backside. The hardest part was not finding someone to do it, but rather finding the person willing to light the fuse. It usually ended up with three or four guys just standing there in front of their friend about to unbutton his pants unbuckled going, “This is too wierd for me. You light it.” So, it rarely happened.   The only time a trip to a hospital was talked about did not involve actual fireworks. Rather, it was a quest to see if the legend of the blue methane flame was true. Sadly, this experiment was conducted more than once, especially when adult beverages were involved. Nothing delighted one of my friends more than standing next to a second floor stairway banister in the dark, yelling, “fire in the hole,” and shooting a blue flame between two young girls having a conversation at a party. He is a highly respected instructor of young minds today.   (Mom, I did not do any of this.)   Here is the thing.  You have to be careful with the lighter. You can accidently set your underwear on fire, which one of my friends did. Underwear is often made of highly flammable material. It is a true test of friendship when your friend runs up to you, slapping his backside, screaming, “Put me out! Put me out!”   Now, I can only think of a handful of conversations that might be more difficult trying to explain to an emergency room nurse why you have burn hole in the middle of the skid mark in your tighty whities. Plus, if you are the designated driver to the hospital, if you get pulled over by the police on the way, which is a real possibility, given that your friend’s backside is sticking up in the air like the fin of a Great White Shark, how do you explain that. “Funny thing, officer. Before I begin can I say please don’t call my parents.” Add to it, that no one is going to go with you because your burned friend is going to be like the dead Aunt Edna in the backseat of the family truckster in National Lampoon’s Vacation and you are not going to be able to strap him to the roof of the car to get there.   “None of us are 21 here. Whoever takes him to the hospital might get in trouble for consumption of alcohol even though we are all sober.” “Well, can we just dump him on the curb in front of the emergency room?” “That is a possibility. Shouldn’t we first figure out how bad the burn is?” “Are you going to do it? Because I am not going to do it.” “No way.” “Pass.” “Not on your life.” “You can do it from across the room.” “Okay, is anyone willing to go see how bad he is burned?”   In every party there is that one innocent girl that has decided for the first time in her life to be bad and go to a party where alcohol is served with one of her friends. She usually sits by herself in a chair or stands in the corner quietly as her eyes announce to the entire place that she fully expects a police raid at any second. No matter what happens at the party, even if nothing happens, me, she will go home, kneel beside her bed, and promise Jesus never to divert from the straight and narrow again.   She is the one that is always going to get roped into such situations because she is sweet, nice and caring. All the things a bunch of teenage boys are not. She is the kind of daughter every father wishes his daughter will become.  So, of course, she will be talked into being the designated judge, and when confronted by the full force of teenage male stupidity you fully expect this young woman to return from this scarring examination a complete lunatic, especially when your friend is leaning into the refrigerator with a couple of bags of frozen peas in his shorts. (I should mention that I sent her a Facebook friend request a few years back. She declined my offer. I completely understood.)   Thankfully, it was decided that medical attention was not needed. And that is where the story should end, except my friend stopped by my place the next day. Then I heard my dad bellow, “Trevor, your car keys, please!”        
Are You Going To Take Him To The Hospital? A Tale of Teenage Stupidity   Stupidity can gain momentum like a rock rolling down a hill, especially when you are a teenager. I can still remember the Marty-like phone calls to my friends. Me: “Hey, want to do something?” Friend: “Yeah, whaddya want to do?”   Let’s break something… You did not know what that something was or what breaking it meant, but those words were like a song to a teenage boy’s heart.  Bad skin, coursing testosterone, a limited vocabulary, the constant search for female validation, and a self-centered worldview, teenage boys are a mere surfboard on a giant wave of stupidity. At any moment there could be a huge, spectacular wipeout. If you are lucky your parents don’t find out about these moments for a decade or two when you are telling the story around the kitchen table and your mother suddenly gets that crushed look on her face as if she is suddenly questioning her past mothering ability.   My parents were pretty jaded having had so many boys by the time I came rolling around. They were pretty cagey about things. My dad’s favorite trick was to walk up to one of my friends and say in a low voice, “I know what you did last night.”   My friend would then proceed to tell him in vivid detail our exploits from the previous evening that my father had no idea we had done until my friend opened his mouth. I might be in the bathroom, downstairs, or in my room, and would learn of his interactions with my father bellowing from another room, “Trevor, your car keys, please.”   We were just average teenage boys, which meant we had the stupidity gene in spades. So, the highlight of our high school days were fireworks. It meant, first, somebody had money for them, which has highly unusual because being broke was basically the dominant theme of teenage life back then. Two, the individual was able smuggle them back from another state without their parents noticing or he was able to find someone a touch older than us that would be willing to sell them to us, which rarely happened.   Even though we had the preventive videos in school showing the mangled hand that a firecracker had gone off in, that I am sure they still have today, with the local police officer solemnly intoning, “Fireworks are dangerous things, kids,” it was pure joy when you had them.   Countless firecrackers went off in hands and, strangely, all the fingers remained intact. Heck, we had Roman candle wars. After which, you would have to go home and come up with a passable explanation in regards to why you had a burn hole the size of a quarter in the windbreaker your mom just bought you last month.  Long before Jackass and back when M- TV just showed music videos, there was always one guy that everyone else could talk into firing a Roman candle or a bottle rocket from their backside. The hardest part was not finding someone to do it, but rather finding the person willing to light the fuse. It usually ended up with three or four guys just standing there in front of their friend about to unbutton his pants unbuckled going, “This is too wierd for me. You light it.” So, it rarely happened.   The only time a trip to a hospital was talked about did not involve actual fireworks. Rather, it was a quest to see if the legend of the blue methane flame was true. Sadly, this experiment was conducted more than once, especially when adult beverages were involved. Nothing delighted one of my friends more than standing next to a second floor stairway banister in the dark, yelling, “fire in the hole,” and shooting a blue flame between two young girls having a conversation at a party. He is a highly respected instructor of young minds today.   (Mom, I did not do any of this.)   Here is the thing.  You have to be careful with the lighter. You can accidently set your underwear on fire, which one of my friends did. Underwear is often made of highly flammable material. It is a true test of friendship when your friend runs up to you, slapping his backside, screaming, “Put me out! Put me out!”   Now, I can only think of a handful of conversations that might be more difficult trying to explain to an emergency room nurse why you have burn hole in the middle of the skid mark in your tighty whities. Plus, if you are the designated driver to the hospital, if you get pulled over by the police on the way, which is a real possibility, given that your friend’s backside is sticking up in the air like the fin of a Great White Shark, how do you explain that. “Funny thing, officer. Before I begin can I say please don’t call my parents.” Add to it, that no one is going to go with you because your burned friend is going to be like the dead Aunt Edna in the backseat of the family truckster in National Lampoon’s Vacation and you are not going to be able to strap him to the roof of the car to get there.   “None of us are 21 here. Whoever takes him to the hospital might get in trouble for consumption of alcohol even though we are all sober.” “Well, can we just dump him on the curb in front of the emergency room?” “That is a possibility. Shouldn’t we first figure out how bad the burn is?” “Are you going to do it? Because I am not going to do it.” “No way.” “Pass.” “Not on your life.” “You can do it from across the room.” “Okay, is anyone willing to go see how bad he is burned?”   In every party there is that one innocent girl that has decided for the first time in her life to be bad and go to a party where alcohol is served with one of her friends. She usually sits by herself in a chair or stands in the corner quietly as her eyes announce to the entire place that she fully expects a police raid at any second. No matter what happens at the party, even if nothing happens, me, she will go home, kneel beside her bed, and promise Jesus never to divert from the straight and narrow again.   She is the one that is always going to get roped into such situations because she is sweet, nice and caring. All the things a bunch of teenage boys are not. She is the kind of daughter every father wishes his daughter will become.  So, of course, she will be talked into being the designated judge, and when confronted by the full force of teenage male stupidity you fully expect this young woman to return from this scarring examination a complete lunatic, especially when your friend is leaning into the refrigerator with a couple of bags of frozen peas in his shorts. (I should mention that I sent her a Facebook friend request a few years back. She declined my offer. I completely understood.)   Thankfully, it was decided that medical attention was not needed. And that is where the story should end, except my friend stopped by my place the next day. Then I heard my dad bellow, “Trevor, your car keys, please!”