The Dumbest Way in the World to Impress a Girl

RMlogo The Dumbest Way in the World to Impress a Girl

I was sitting in the library reading a newspaper, minding my business. No, for real, I was not doing anything wrong. No smoke bombs, no pranks, nothing illegal. And then, “she” walked through those doors. Teri came right up to me to let me know that someone wanted to see me in the office. It was kismet, though not how I had hoped!

My First Love

Teri worked in our high school office, and she was in my 10th grade class. I saw Teri the first time when I was in the fifth grade. She went to Marshville Elementary, and I went to Wingate Elementary. Our classes met at our school for an event that I do not remember. But I do remember when I saw her standing there. It was brief, from a distance, that beautiful blond hair. And then she was gone.

I never forgot her and couldn’t wait until middle school in two years, when we would be together, to begin my pursuit in earnest. We did date briefly in the 7th grade, but she broke up with me because I was too weird, I think. Undaunted, I maintained my crush throughout high school, so when she came to visit me in the library, all my dreams were rushing back.

The walk to the office with her was my moment for fate realized. But for some reason, she kept a few steps in front me.

Hard to get, I figured. I like coy.

My Worst Nightmare

When I arrived at the office, two or three sheriff deputies were waiting to take me downtown. It was one of those surreal moments in life where you feel like a Dali painting on the inside. I was humiliated from head to toe and full of fear. The rules of engagement vanished, as I forgot all about the love of my life.

They had found the stuff that we had stolen from the high school. The police were looking for something my older brothers had taken. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but in their search, they found what we ripped off from the school. We had hidden it at my grandmother’s property.

They soon arrested Gary and Dwayne as well. I think they let Dwayne go because he was underage. I don’t believe they kept Gary overnight, and I don’t remember what punishment he received. They searched me, took my belongings, including the leather strings to my knee-high moccasins. I was a cool kid, though my coolness was a thin layer that could not shield my stupidity.

Five Days That Changed Everything

I didn’t understand why they took my boot strings. Then, after five days in jail, it made sense: I wanted to kill myself. Suicidal thoughts mounted as the days dragged by like a disoriented sloth in a straitjacket. They put me in a 10’x10′ concrete walled room. I had a cot, sink, and a toilet. It was an open floor plan. There was a small window in the door and a narrow rectangular window that faced Charlotte.

Three times a day, a mysterious person shoved yellow grits and other foods through the small slot at the bottom of the door. Think: doggie door. Other than the mystery food-shover, I had no contact with anyone for five days. Of course, the worst part was that I had a ticket to the Bachman Turner Overdrive concert in Charlotte that weekend. My frustration was pretty high, knowing that my brothers got to go and not me.

It’s all about priorities.

I learned later that my dad decided to leave me in jail, thinking it would change my life. How ironic: the man that I hated with every breath in me made the right decision. The Lord used those five days to change my life forever. I’m grateful for dad’s decision.

I got a couple of years probation, but the impact on my life lasted much longer, even to this day. I determined that my experiences with crime, drugs, and bad people were over. It was time for a change.

As for Teri? Not sure what happened to her, but I knew whatever her plans were going to be, it would be without me.

Regretfully Thinking About Mrs. Bolden, Smoke Bombs, and Sea Monsters

RMlogo Regrettfullly Thinking About Mrs. Bolden, Smoke Bombs, and Sea Monsters

Mrs. Bolden was a lovely 10th grade English teacher at Forest Hills High School in Marshville, NC. I don’t think she ever did anything wrong. She was sweet, enjoyed her job, did it well, and probably never caused anyone an ounce of trouble. Her wonderfulness makes what I did to her classroom so much worse.

Making Smoke Bombs

Someone taught me how to make “timed, smoke bombs.” It’s a simple thing to learn, and I trust that I don’t regret teaching this prank to my son. It’s a “time-release” smoke bomb—the critical key—that goes off about ten minutes after you light it.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.

You put a lit cigarette without its filter over the fuse. Eventually, the cig will burn down to the wick, and, well, you know the rest.

Just before the start of Mrs. Bolden’s English class, I placed a smoke bomb outside the door’s entrance to the classroom. After the proper placement of my prank, I entered the room, took my chair, and began paying attention to Mrs. Bolden. Paying attention should have been a clue that I was up to something.

About ten minutes into the class period, smoke began to pour into the room. The alarms went off, the class emptied, and chaos took over. After the smoke cleared, being the good student that I was, I wanted to help Mrs. Bolden get to the bottom of this prank.

She never realized the culprit, I think.

The Regretful Christian

About 20 years later.

I went back to Forest Hills High School, looking for Mrs. Bolden to apologize to her. After I became a Christian and began to reflect on some of the antics of my youth, I wanted to make things right with a few unsuspecting folks. She was one of them.

She never meant harm to anyone. She was doing her job, and I was a jerk. Sadly, I could not find her. She was “old” in my day, so I imagine she had passed away by the time remorse arrived.

Killing Sea Monsters

On another day, a few of us skipped school and went to the ABC Store to get a case of beer. And we were doing acid. The crew this day was my brother Gary, plus Ricky and Randy Traywick (aka, Randy Travis).

We went to Lake Lee, rented a boat, and spent the afternoon peacefully rowing. And then, all of a sudden and out of the deep blue lake, Ricky stood up and began screaming, “Sea Monster, Sea Monster!” at the top of his lungs.

He took an oar and began swinging it wildly toward the sea monster that was approaching the boat. I was grateful for his leadership initiative. Upon closer inspection, we noticed the sea monster was a limb floating across the lake near the boat. Ricky was tripping.

He broke the oar.

The weird part was trying to explain to the guy who rented us the boat that we broke the oar over the back of a sea monster. I don’t think he believed us. As I was standing there talking to him, a beer rolled down my pant leg and down the dock ramp. We had to hide our remaining beers because we didn’t want him calling the law on underage kids drinking on the lake.

As the beer hit the pavement and rolled down the dock toward the lake, we both stood there in silence, staring at the rolling beer can. It seemed like it was moving in slow motion.

I remember thinking how we snookered the attendant with the sea monster story, but there was no way he was going to believe we weren’t drinking.

We briskly walked to our car and got out of there.