Sunday, February 27, 2011

Don't Try This At Home

Last night I came home after a long, exhausting weekend and decided to watch some television before collapsing into my bed.  I knew my mind was weary so I didn’t want anything that would require much attention or brain activity.  I just wanted something entertaining as I fell asleep.  After scanning the channels I found a show getting ready to start and settled in to be entertained.  The show starts and I am met with the following screen.

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.


  1. Lol. I used to love (still would if I heard more) sitting around listening to you and Kyle rehash your crazy youth. Makes me really scared to ever have boys. haha.

  2. This is "Kyle",
    There are so many more stories to be told.
    I have used a countless # of these stories in sermons, leasons, and Communion meditations. If we hadn't done these things, I wouldn't be nearly as interesting of a speaker.

  3. I can remember those days, and also some of you and your brothers' stunts. Hilarious post!

  4. Laughing too hard! The essence of your post is contained within this sentence:

    "As I watched her sail past me, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for my younger days when I bounced better."

    Love to think that your family tradition, of being out there and ready to try anything, has been passed on to your daughter lol...

    1. She has SOME sense of adventure, but it is not nearly where ours was.

      I worry about her less this way.

  5. You are not serious about the diesel and the fire!! You are, aren't you? I have two boys! Oh, no!!!

    (Thanks for linking this up over at #findingthefunny last week!)

    1. I am completely serious. I wrote about that specific incident here.

  6. It is amazing you are still alive! hahaha
    funny post. I agree with you (somewhat) about letting kids explore. I often think today's kids are too soft. And it's probably because of parents being too protective, and not letting kids do the things we all did when we were kids.

    1. Parents freak out too easily these days. Of course, I don't want any real injuries to occur, but these explorations and testing of their limits are part of the learning process.

  7. (I clicked "older post" on the Rainbow one, to see if I missed two days. Oops.)

    Does Trevor's chest really pop when he breathes? Hilarious. I think I enjoyed this one more than the rainbow.

    1. Trevor's chest does pop when he breathes.

      These posts are almost 2 years old. I am surprised you missed them.


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