Boys’ Life

I spent an hour at work yesterday watching YouTube videos of kids blowing things up. It was great! And no, I was not goofing off, I was doing research! It reminded me of when I was a wee lad, burning and exploding things with my friends.  We’d build model airplanes and blow them up. We’d build model cars and set them on fire. We’d build model airplanes and cars with firecrackers inside them so they’d blow up when we burned them.

Estes rocket engines were attached to anything and everything. There were rocket cars and rocket boats and once a rocket Frisbee, which was swell until it caught fire. And we didn’t bother with the Estes electronic ignition system, instead we jammed fuses into the end of the rockets and lit them with a match. It’s a miracle I’m not called lefty today.

The strangest thing I remember doing was lighting small fires with my friends and putting them out by urinating on them. A shrink would have a field day with that, don’t you think?

All you hear now is people complaining about the dumb things kids do and post on YouTube, but you know what? The only difference between now and 35 years ago is video cameras and the internet —and a society that seems bent on taking the boy out of boyhood.

2 thoughts on “Boys’ Life

  1. You know, prior to April of last year, I would have agreed with you, Rob. Kids being kids. Classic rites of passage. Ok, and I did alot of the same stuff! (No… not lighting things and whizzing them out with a pee-shooter!)

    It was a YouTube video and the “instincts” of a high school student in another town 15 miles away from mine that prevented a “Columbine” style attack from occuring in my town’s high school.

    Yes, for real.

    The kid’s videos were of him and friends shooting guns (serious ones!), and blowing things up (media referred to these a “pipe bombs”) in the woods.

    My initial reaction was “Geez. These people are overreacting in a BIG way.” Until I got the facts from someone on the “inside”.

    The local police in that town notified our PD, who investigated. They found not only weapons & bomb-making materials, in this kid’s house, but also a well outlined plot complete with the names of his 20+ intended targets, specific outlines of what he’d be wearing and where the guns and ammo would be stored on his person, the sequencing of his attacks, and plenty more.

    So… yes. Kids blowing things up is definitely creative curiousity at it’s finest. But this boy somehow slipped out of a “kids just being kids” boyhood, and an observant teen on the internet most certainly saved my community from hell.

    The reality of the above situation blows my mind.

  2. That’s a scary example. It makes you wonder when what we accept as normal mischief takes a turn for something much worse. And you know what it’s like trying to figure out what’s going on in those mysterious little heads of theirs.

    If anything, the story of what happened in your town shows why -and I’m gagging on this phrase- “It takes a village.”

    As a post-script to my story: one time a neighbor spotted me and my friend walking toward the backyard lighting matches. She called my father. That was the end of that.

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