Can It Be All So Simple?
My last post has really got me thinking about ‘the good old days’. The shenanigans of pre-teens having fun. Things kids these days don’t seem to do. I guess every generation has this…thing. The nostalgia and the element of, “Back in my day…”
Mobile phones weren’t really a thing when we were kids. Computers were fairly basic and most of us didn’t have one. Our fun consisted of playing with toys and/or going out and just running around or riding our bikes or building dens and stuff. Reading ‘Good Omens‘ reminded me a lot of my childhood when the story switched to Adam and his pals. ‘Stranger Things‘ has the same effect. Kids being kids. Talking shit and concerning themselves of fantastic concepts such as, “Who would win? Batman or The Hulk?”
I even started a short story/novel which centres around a group of boys just being kids. I’m not sure where I’m going with the story and I haven’t visited the crew in a while but it’s a story I feel I have to write to truly capture the essence of childhood (well, my perception of it, from what I can remember). It’s strange how a small thing can remind you of a past you had previously forgotten and once you pull at the thread, more and more unravels.
Our fun was had in many ways; knock-door-run, “budding windows” (we would pick these seed things from stingy bushes and throw them at people’s windows), the seed things could be split open and there would be tons of tiny seeds inside which we would put down each others’ backs and it would itch like mad (we called these round seed pod things “itchies”), climbing trees, building dens, play-fighting with homemade wooden swords and shields, football, riding our bikes around and tons of things I have probably forgotten.
As we aged, I would pretend to smoke a fag (a real cigarette but I didn’t inhale I’d just suck the smoke into my mouth and puff it back out) and do an impersonation of the ‘Cigarettte Smoking Man’ from ‘The X-Files‘ or we would make prank calls to 192. We would often phone companies from adverts in magazines and newspapers and make enquiries regarding their products. One night, I spent ten minutes arguing that the water would fall out of the walk-in bath or that I had bought a mobility scooter but it didn’t come with the man in the picture. Other nights, we would order takeaways for home delivery to neighbours we didn’t like and run over to watch the delivery guy going nuts at them.
As we aged more, we began under-age drinking. I didn’t. Not to begin with. I guess I was straight-edge before I even knew what that meant or heard the term. I would look after my mates and get them home. There’d be a few nights we would run and hide from the police like it was a live-action game of ‘Pac-Man‘. I started drinking at around fifteen – my first experience was at a mates house where we drank whisky straight and I stumbled home. My Mum wasn’t in at the time so I decided to make myself a cup of coffee (I never really drank coffee at that age) to cover the smell on my breath and try to sober up. Not sure why I chose coffee…I guess it’s because I’d seen people in movies and TV shows drinking coffee the morning after their heavy night. I could have just gone to bed and go to sleep and she would never have known I was drunk.
Then came the “mix” days. We would take empty two litre bottles of ‘Coke’ and fill them up with any alcohol we could steal without our parents noticing. Despite the bizarre concoctions, we discovered that a load of ‘Bailey’s’ in with it would mask the taste and, if consumed quick enough, wouldn’t separate and look like it had curdled. I don’t really remember enjoying drinking, as such, but it was something we could do as a group and it was funny watching everyone getting rat-arsed.
Despite our antics, we never really got into trouble. Nothing major anyway – no scary life-threatening situations or trouble with the police. Not until we were fourteen. It seems daft now but at the time we were pretty shook up.
At age fourteen I was arrested. The first and, to date, only time. But we shall save that unsavoury tale for another post.