Well, that was the end of my plan to watch something mind-numbing. I was mad. Who do these people think they are? They can’t tell me what to do in my own home. They can insist all they want. If I want to do something in the privacy of my own home I will.
I believe the entire reason that these guys even have their own show and are good at what they are doing is because they tried it at home. Then, at some point, they started the video camera. Eventually, after watching their antics numerous times and showing it to their friends, someone decided to put it on television.
The only way to get good at something it to try it at home and then keep doing it. Why is it that the people telling us not to try these things at home are the ones doing it at home? Why do they get to tell us not to do it when they have been doing it? Do they think they have the monopoly on doing stupid things because they thought of it first?
This warning screen is not unique to this show. I have seen similar screens pop up before countless magic shows, stunt programs, and generally any show that depicts young people having fun doing exciting things. Why can’t we do these things?
Growing up my mother always warned us to stop doing some of the things we were doing because we might get hurt. However, we were boys and that was one of the biggest parts of the thrill. We knew we could get hurt and that was one of the reasons we did it. Living that close to danger or possible death is one of the necessary parts of becoming a man.
My brother Kyle once knocked the wind out of himself trying to do a back flip out of the barn loft. My brother Trevor once sunk a knife (on purpose) into Kyle’s foot while playing a game of Chicken. A week before my 12th birthday I flipped my bike off the top of a picnic table, landing on my head and knocking myself unconscious. The three of us have all been attacked by wild animals despite the repeated warnings to not get too close. Trevor, specifically, lost a wrestling match with a full-grown bull while trying to impress a girl.
The antics never stopped just because we got injured. It was part of being a boy. My brothers and myself have various scars all over our bodies and tales of good times to go with every one. We can tell stories of riding underneath a galloping horse (Kyle), riding a couch being drug down the road at 50 mph (Trevor), misjudging a jump from one moving vehicle to another (me), jumping onto moving trains (all of us), being hung by the neck 10 feet off the ground (Kyle), and falling off numerous roofs. Trevor has broken so many ribs his chest pops when he breathes.
Why did we do these things? Sometimes it was for science. When we doused Trevor’s jeans in diesel fuel and lit him on fire, we were curious to see if he could run 300 feet to the creek to put himself out before getting crispy. How were we to know other than to do an experiment? He did make it the first two times. After the third attempt we decided to stop. It didn’t go as well. When diesel fumes and flames are shooting over your head, apparently it is difficult to see. He ran the wrong direction.
Other times it was to get attention. My mom’s friend, Linda, would get so nervous when we did this stuff that we didn’t have much of a choice. You can't walk away from the opportunity to make a grown woman cry. We would hang upside-down off the roof and look in the window to scare her. Once we had her attention, one of us would scream and throw a jacket in front of the window so she would think we fell. It was great.
There were a variety of reasons that seemed good at the time, but the main reason was that we were boys looking for a thrill. Why else would we dare each other to jump off higher and higher parts of the roof?
We didn’t need Travis Pastrana or Johnny Knoxville to show us dangerous stunts and then tell us that we couldn’t do them. We just did them on our own. If we would have had a video camera back then, maybe we would have created JACKASS.
Today, my back problems and aching knees remind me of all the fun I had when I was younger. My mother’s early touches of gray reminded her even sooner. Last year, when my daughter got on a four-wheeler for the first time, she gunned it before I was able to explain how the brakes work. She plowed into a tree and was thrown into the air. As I watched her sail past me, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for my younger days when I bounced better. No TV show is going to tell me how to raise my kids.