A Slice of Life
It’s amazing how much trouble young boys can get into when not supervised! I remember one very dangerous thing my friends and I came up with one summer evening. Our neighborhood was laid out with alleys behind the houses for city trash pickup. We would station one boy near the entrance of the ally to alert us when a car was coming our way down the busy side-street. We would take an old discarded automobile tire and pour some gasoline in it. We would wait until our lookout gave us the signal that he had gaged the speed of the next car coming down the street would get to our alley. We would set the gasoline on fire and, without any regard as to what hazards we could be creating, would roll the flaming circle of fire out of the ally into the path of that oncoming car.
Can you imagine the shock of the driver when that flaming circle came rolling out of nowhere, right across the street in front their car. Of course we were long gone before the driver had time to stop his car, and get out to see what was going on. In most cases the driver was able to stop before he hit the tire, and it rolled on across the street to hit the far curb and just fall over.
Sometimes the driver was going faster than we thought, and the car went past the tire missing it entirely. And then sometimes the driver was quick enough to swerve around the flaming tire without hitting it. It never dawned on us that if some driver couldn’t stop fast enough, and hit that flaming tire, that gasoline could splash onto the front of their car and cause a major incident.
Or, if a driver over-reacted, and swerved into the curb or into oncoming traffic, what a terrible accident we could have caused. We just thought it would be fun to scare the drivers and see how they reacted to that sudden horrific sight.
Of course, if we had caused one of those accidents, we could have found ourselves in jail for a long time. Luckily, nothing like that ever happened and we were never caught in that mischievous act. One of the more dangerous games some teenagers in our town played (not me) was called “Ditch’em.” This game usually consisted of at least two car loads of (sometimes drunk) teenagers chasing each other around on neighborhood streets with their lights “off.” This potentially fatal game did, in my recollection in the town where I grew up, cause the death of one young girl who was hit by one of these cars one night while crossing a street on the way to a friend’s house.
This is why, in his book “Making a Good Brain Great” Dr. Daniel Amen says our brains are still maturing as teenagers and really don’t fully mature until around age 25 or 26. This means we don’t have the decision making capability when we are teenagers, and why we do some of the crazy things we do. After we become adults, we usually can look back on our teenage years and wonder how we could have done some of the harmful and dangerous things we did.
I never knew any of the people we scared when I was taking part in those “Circle of Fire” episodes when I was a young person, but I would like to personally apologize for the part I played. I have asked God to forgive me for my part and I hope whoever those people were, that they can also forgive me, even at this late date.