We all have a past. We have all done things that we regret…or that we should regret…or that were so damned ridiculous that all we can do is laugh, even if we didn’t laugh at the time such an event happened. I was recently reminded of such an event in my life – and what better way to share it then with the world wide web?
It all happened in the fall of my junior year of high school. I am sure of this for many reasons; I could drive; I was still a minor; it was tennis season; I was stupid. Before I go further I’ll go ahead and tell you the charges. Trespassing, violation of curfew, possession of illegal fireworks and resisting law enforcement. Now this should have immediately conjured up some imagery in your head…but I fear it is better than you are imagining. Just for posterity I am going to change the names of the other parties involved…I don’t feel right ratting them out.
Some friends and I headed up to Carmel for a little evening ruckus. No vandalism, nothing too dangerous, just four friends goofing around with some bottle rockets. We located a nice open field in Cool Creek Park. Since there were four of us, we split into teams of two for a bottle rocket war. A bottle rocket war is as stupid as it sounds…standing on opposite ends of a field you shoot bottle rockets across the field at the other people. I should note – that we were much further apart than the range of our bottle rockets – but for some reason it still seemed exciting.
Anyway – it’s sometime after midnight and we are having a glorious time with our little bottle rocket war. Unfortunately it seems that we did not really know our surroundings. Apparently on one end of this field that we were using as out Waterloo is a fire station. Firemen typically stay up all night – not that a bunch of bottle rockets wouldn’t have stirred them awake. So, it was no long before we had company in the form of law enforcement.
I should say – in my defense – I was on the far side of the field. So if somebody yelled “FREEZE” or anything of that nature – I did not hear it. Rather I saw some people running – so my partner “Brad” and I took off running. In a matter of seconds we were laying on our backs in a creek with just our mouths and noses above the water so we could breathe. It was like predator – we covered our bodies in mud and just laid as still as we could until the coast was clear. Elapsed time was roughly 30 minutes.
“Brad” and I slowly but surely made it back to the meeting point – which doubled as his parents house. We had done it – we had successfully escaped whatever travesty was out there – and potentially had our two unfortunate friends, “Scott” and “Matt”. The plan was to take a shower, go to bed and hope to not have to explain it later – at least until we knew what happened to our friends.
Who in the hell would be calling Brad’s parents at this hour? Brad decided to answer – so as not to disturb his parents. It was the police. They were calling because they had two of our friends and they were wondering where we were. All this commotion got Brad’s parents moving – and before long we were on our way to the station. My parents had been called – and they were also making their way up north to save me from “Bubba” and the other inmates.
I would like to take a brief moment to point out that I am not using my accomplices’ names – but it would appear that two of them had no problems giving up my name to the police – AND – telling the police that I had provided the fireworks. Some friends.
My father – acting as my lawyer – sat in on my interrogation while my mother cried in the lobby and wondered where she went wrong as a parent. The interrogation was about what you would expect. I was in a chair, covered in mud, looking down at my feet and thinking about what I had done. My father – barely awake – was next to me. He was clearly upset but not showing it. The police office (not in a uniform) was acting like the tough cop. Good thing – we all know my size and stature and at the ripe age of 16 – I am sure that I was a force and quite threatening to the cop.
He asked me where I had gotten the fireworks. I lied – so as not to incriminate anybody else…
“Sir, I bought them myself at a stand in Broad Ripple. No sir, they did not ask me for identification.”
He asked what I was thinking and if I thought it was a good idea to have a bottle rocket war. I pointed out the obvious fact that it wasn’t a good idea. In retrospect, had we not gotten caught it wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
Then he got in my face and said, “Son, do you know how stupid you are? What if you had blow of your hand, or lost an eye? Then what? What kind of job can you have with one hand or one eye?”
With him in my face and without missing a beat I said, “Sir, I could be a pirate.”
At this point my father smacked me in the back of my head, the cop slammed his hands on his desk and I still sat in my chair. I went home that night – not having to spend any time in jail. I think we had got home at roughly 6 am – and my parents made me go to tennis practice at 8 am. My parents also told the coach of the night’s activities and he made me do sprints for the entire practice.
I did have to see a probation office one time – and then all the charges were dropped. I am sure that my parents grounded me for some amount of time. I think ultimately they realized the ridiculousness of the situation and couldn’t be that mad at me.
The other night I was enjoying dinner with my parents and we were reminiscing about this event. I finally told them where I had gotten the fireworks. But more importantly, I got my father to admit he wanted to laugh. When I said, “Sir, I could be a pirate,” he wanted to laugh. But he had to refrain because of the situation.
I never regretted the situation. I never regretted what I said to the officer. Now that I know my father appreciated the comment – I am proud to have said it. And…if I have a son and he is in the same ridiculous circumstance…I hope that he makes me proud, too.
NOTE: All fireworks are now legal in Indiana on PRIVATE property and I believe they have gotten rid of the curfew law (though that is not confirmed).