Thursday, February 2, 2012

This Is Why My Body Is Falling Apart Today

Tonight, my daughter told me she needed my help with a school assignment. Being the incredible, uber-cool dad and spectacular all-around person that I am, I was more than happy to assist. She told me to have a seat and pulled out a notebook. She then reminded me that I had once told her I wanted to be a stuntman when I grew up. This is true and I would have been awesome.

I was the oldest of three boys living in the country. My mother has lots of entertaining stories about the horrors that we put her through. We weren't bad kids; we just loved adventure and the more dangerous the activity, the bigger the thrill. I have blogged about some of these adventures before. Living where we did, we had access to motorcycles, tractors, barn lofts, train tracks and all sorts of things to climb on. We were always climbing and jumping and pushing things a little bit further than most kids.

The crazy things we were doing were difficult enough for my mother to handle, but in 1981 things got much worse (or more fun, depending on how you look at it). That was the year The Fall Guy premiered on ABC.


The Fall Guy starred Lee Majors (3 years after $6 Million Man) as a top Hollywood stuntman who got caught up in all sorts of crazy capers. In addition to foiling crimes and hanging out with beautiful women, he did spectacular stunts for movies in every episode. He would jump off buildings, crash cars, get set on fire and tons of other cool stuff I couldn't wait to try out. Add this show to the fact that I had already been watching Bo and Luke speeding along in the General Lee on The Dukes of Hazzard for 2 years and I was hooked. When my dad rented Burt Reynold's stuntman movie Hooper that same year, there was no stopping me.

YEE-HAW!!!
As the oldest, my younger brothers followed along, which I didn't mind because when one of us got hurt, it was quite handy to have someone available to run and get Mom. Luckily, the injuries were rarely serious. I will cover some of the more grievous injuries in a future post. We had always been daring, but now it was time to actually do things that most people would get injured doing. Before the dream of being a stuntman, I would climb to the top of the barn and stand on the peak just for the fear in my mother's eyes thrill. After I knew what my future had in store for me, I would jump off. Of course, I had to build up to that.

We started jumping off the pig barns. One of the barns was about 6 feet tall on one end and a little over 10 feet on the other. We jumped off the low end until we felt that we had the roll technique down and would move our way up to higher and higher parts of the roof. We eventually graduated to the roof of our house and even started jumping out the second story windows of our bedrooms.

Once we were old enough to drive, we practiced getting hit by cars. We started with cars that sat lower to the ground so we could roll over the hood easier. When we decided we had it down to our satisfaction, we would take the hit at 5 mph faster. We increased the speed higher and higher until we knew we could really freak people out by getting run down in a public place (which we did whenever we saw the opportunity).

One day after school, I was taking my friend John home and as we drove around the corner of the building, he said, "Hey, isn't that your brother, Trevor?" I looked, agreed that it was him and hit the gas. I sped across the parking lot and hit him with the passenger corner of my bumper. His legs got swept up, he went over the hood and his back crashed into my windshield. I locked up the brakes and he slid off the front in a heap.

John was freaking out while I got the subtle nod from Trevor that he was okay. As John was trying to help him up, I was screaming about the damage to my broken windshield. I kicked Trevor, drug John back into the car and sped off. The reaction we got from John was worth the months of practice and cost of a new windshield.

As I am telling story after story, my daughter was writing as fast as she could. By this time, her friend Taylor had shown up at our house and she interjected to question the truth to some of the stories, but Kirsten assured her that she had heard them before from both my brothers and our mother. They were true.

Fire Stunt Tip: Diesel burns slower
than gasoline, but it is much hotter.
Taylor made the comment that her dad would never tell her some of the stories I had just shared, even if they were true. It then occurred to me that she had a point. I wasn't just telling old stories of my younger days, I was talking to my daughter, who I am supposed to protect. I had just told her about how we would set each other on fire and run for the nearest body of water. She now knows that we hopped moving trains and jumped from car to car. I told her how we rode our bicycles off the roofs of houses and climbed underneath moving vehicles. These are not the kinds of stories my kids need to hear.

It is rather difficult to tell my daughter that she shouldn't drive her car up steep embankments (just to see how far it can go before it flips), when I had just told her how much fun it was. I had not been paying attention as I told my stories and forgot who my audience was, but now that I was aware of the situation I changed gears.

Me: "If you even think about doing any of the things I just talked about, you will never leave this house again!"

Kirsten: "Oh, don't worry about that, Dad. I am much smarter than you."


Dude Write

75 comments:

  1. Haha, awesome. My dad had five brothers and they put my Nan through hell. Country boys will be country boys.

    I won't have as many stories to tell my children, not because of want, but I have a sister who would not partake in daring. I need to borrow a brother...

    And a car...

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    1. All boys was great. We rarely crashed our own cars since we had a friend who was always willing to let me drive his through a barn wall or into a dried creek bed.

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    2. How very accommodating of him lol

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    3. For a few years he had a large 4 wheel drive. We knew the truck would be okay, he just couldn't get up the nerve to do what we had in mind. He would eventually jump out and let one of us do it.

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  2. Very nice done preach once again.....I can't help but laugh at your blogs!!! Seems like I'm not the only one in pain during your blogs!!!!

    Very well written and I can't wait for another one....

    Train

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    1. Thank you. Enough people have been injured in my presence that I could dedicate this blog to that specific topic.

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  3. Oh god I LOVED Fall Guy! Between that, A-Team, McGyver, and Airwolf, I'm surprised any of us young lads ever lived to adulthood.

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    1. A-Team was incredible. If you hadn't watched it the night before, there was nothing to talk about with the boys at school

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  4. Oh, I could add plenty. As a witness, and participant in these and many, many more activities. They are true and I have the scars to prove it. We could fill a book with the fun we had.
    I get the same feeling when I tell my kids about our adventures. I can see it in there eyes, being boys, they want to try all of these things. But, as a parent, I don't want to see them get hurt. Which is why I do most of there big adventures with them. I want them to experence the thrill, and have the confidence that goes along with knowing that you can and have done things that others would freak out at the thought of. But, I am there for those times when, and they always do, get a little too stupid. Gage and Isaac are very adventurous, but no where near as crazy as we were. I am thankful for that.

    One of "The Minor Boys"
    Kyle

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    1. I couldn't have those types of adventures with my kids. Kirsten is just not that adventurous and Christian is scared of heights. However, he never gets embarrassed and is willing to any humiliating thing if it might get a laugh.

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  5. Ahhh yes, The Fall Guy.... and your story is exactly why I plan on only letting my boys watch PBS. lmao. Yeah right.
    Seriously though, I am making them wear helmets and fire retardant clothing.

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    1. We would have probably used the helmets to crash through walls or see how hard of a hit they can take with a ball bat. I know I have brain damage.

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  6. As i tell stories of things my brother and I did, I have to wonder if girls feel like they missed out or do they think we are just plain nuts and/or stupid.

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    1. My sister got me into plenty of trouble because I wanted to be like her, but it was definitely more tame than brothers get.

      Although she definitely pounded on me regularly, and I got to draw blood from her on occasion. Sibling rivalry, go figure.

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    2. I guess it really depends on the girl. We had one girl that would jump right in there with us, but most just stood on the sidelines.

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  7. That is AWESOME!
    My mom would stop my dad from telling me his growing up stories (youngest of six - 4 boys - in farm country) or his high school stories (jock, lots of hazing ideas) because she didn't think he'd be a good influence on me! Finally when I grew up, he could share them. I guess when she realized I was a "good kid".

    Secondly, you should read "We the Animals" by Justin Torres. it's about 3 brothers growing up together causing trouble for their parents.

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    1. Oh no! I have thought about putting some of the stories into book form. I hope he didn't take my idea. I will check it out.

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  8. And you wonder why your parents have retreated to Florida!

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    1. I hadn't thought of it that way. Mom says she misses us, but maybe she has less stress.

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  9. Very entertaining and well written, as always! I appreciate how you include video and photo references.

    Aaron

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    1. Well, thank you. I wasn't sure who would remember the Fall Guy. I LOVED that show, obviously.

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  10. hahaha kirsten's response is great

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    1. She says something to that effect at least once a week. She truly believes it.

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  11. Oh wow, is this all true? This is the best thing I've ever heard. I have to be honest; now I really want to go practice falling off things. I did not realize that was a learned skill. I've always wanted to be able to fall down a flight of stairs...

    What about taking punches? Did you ever get around to that?

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    1. After everything I have shared, for some reason this one makes me feel silly. Yes, we would trade punches. However, we actually hit each other. This wasn't just my brothers, we had a group of friends and we would punch each other in the face.

      The jumping was definitely learned. You want to make sure your legs are bent, hit the ground at an angle (not straight forward, and allow your body to go all the way to the ground as you tuck into a roll. It made the landing much softer. Although, still expect to get the occasional sprained ankle or busted elbow.

      Last rule, make sure you are a young person that can handle the impact. I would never attempt this today. I don't even step off of curbs too fast now.

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    2. Wow, so like a real live fight club? But, but . . . You weren't supposed to talk about that!

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    3. We didn't beat the crap out of each other or even fight. We would just stand face to face and trade punches back and forth. One of those stupid teenage games where you see who will bow out first.

      Looking back on it, I realize just how stupid we were.

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    4. Not so stupid...More of the human experience, really. Gentleman's fisticuffs. Besides, our society is generally so non-physical that it's good sometimes to take a beating. I remember how alive (and bruised) I felt after getting the stuffing kicked out of me each week in tae kwon do. Loved the adrenaline.

      When I asked about trading punches I was, for some reason, thinking about Houdini on that one. Of course, he died from it, so there you go.

      (Edit: had to fix a typo! Can't stand 'em.)

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    5. We did feel alive. I am so glad you understand. I was in Tae Kwon Do also and loved the days we sparred. They were the most painful days, but I loved it. Even if I had to nurse an injury for a few days afterwards, it was great.

      Houdini was the man. I don't think I would ever get a high from a punch in the stomach.

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  12. Your daughter sounds like the bomb-dot-com. I was telling my son about some of the shenanigans I pulled during my Electric Youth and he just shook his nine-year-old head and said "Mommy, you should be DEAD." True statement, little man.

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    1. Sounds like they are both good kids. They need to keep thinking that way.

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    2. P.S. My daughter says you must be cool because you said bomb-dot-com. She uses that phrase.

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  13. That's amazing. Why did you never persue that as a career?

    I remember the Fall Guy. And Dukes of course. It didn't make me want to jump off buildings, though.

    I can just see that guy's face when you ran over your brother. Freaky!

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    1. By the time I hit high school, my focus had changed. We still found new ways to cheat death every weekend, but I just forgot about the stuntman thing. I majored in computer programming.

      My mother grounded us from the Dukes of Hazzard for a while when my 7 year old brother dove out the car window one afternoon. She might not have made the connection with the show if he hadn't shouted YEE-HAW before jumping. He wasn't old enough to understand that the forward momentum added a whole new element to a securing a safe landing.

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    2. Lol... sounds familiar. Love that he gave it away with the YEE-HAW!

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  14. I don't think you should stop telling your daughter fun stories from your youth. I love hearing my dad's, even the ones I've heard over and over again. Although, none of them involved running people over.

    Besides, she's smarter than you.

    Oh, and also? Dukes of Hazzard was my favorite tv show when I was a kid. I was in love with Luke Duke.

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    1. Nothing against Luke, but I kept my eye on Daisy.

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    2. I'm sure it was all about those shorts, right? ;)

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    3. No. I liked the Jeep she drove.

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  15. I have to admit, of all of your posts, this is my favorite. Love it! I think you have me beat on childhood stunts by a LONGSHOT!

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    1. None of us ever broke our nose, but my brother ended up in a wheelchair for about 6 months. I would have loved to see your balcony dive.

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    2. I'm curious about why he ended up in the wheelchair for six months - but maybe it will be in the next post you left for me to read.

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  16. I remember those days. Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, Dukes of Hazzard etc.

    They helped "encourage" us to ride our bikes into and off of things, jump off the roof into swimming pools and get into all sorts of other mischief.

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    1. I agree. TV does have 'some' effect on behavior. Kids today have Jackass. We had The Duke boys.

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  17. Your daughter is hilarious but your childhood was certainly a lot more lively than mine was.

    I know my mother would have killed me for even jumping off the short barn.

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    1. We just thought it was normal. I rough house with kids as a adult and the parents freak out, despite the fun their kid is having. My mother eventually learned to just look the other way.

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  18. My older brother wanted to be a wrestler. He practiced all his moves on me. Twice, he almost broke my vagina bone by throwing me around our living room.

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    1. OW!! I guess if you are going to wrestle then you have to practice.

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  19. "Once we were old enough to drive, we practiced getting hit by cars..."

    I'm not kidding, this might be the best sentence I've ever read.

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    1. Awesome. I am putting that on my resume.

      Feb. 1, 2012 - Wrote the best sentence ever.

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  20. Hahahaha...Great story. OMG, The Fall Guy! What a hoot. My late husband told my son all his horror stories but my son didn't say he was smarter than him. He tried a few himself. Got his but whooped a few times too! Very cool story.

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    1. It was the only way we knew to live at the time.

      Thanks for finding me. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  21. This is one of my favourite posts ever. It made me cringing throughout! I can't believe all the stuff you guys did.

    Aside from jumping out of that rickshaw, I've never done anything very courageous (unless you count travelling on the roads here.)

    Your daughter sounds like so much fun - and I love how insightful she is lol...

    Great post! Thanks for pointing me towards it.

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    1. You are welcome. The links I sent you will give you the background to be up to speed when I tackle future stories.

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  22. Replies
    1. Thank you. My knees often disagree, but I had fun.

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  23. Oh my GOD you sound like the coolest Dad EVER. Tell her the stories. For god's sake. You would have already realized she didn't need to know them if that happened to be the case!! (Visiting from Write on Edge)

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    1. She has heard most of them. I remember a new one every now and then.

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  24. I think your daughter summed it up perfectly! ;)

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    1. She think so as well. She consistently reminds me how smart she is.

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  25. And then you took up the most dangerous stunt work of them all - writing for the Internet!

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  26. Obviously you must be younger than me...I watched Dukes for Catherine Bach. Later, I watched Fall Guy for Heather Thomas, heck even Markie Post had her moments.

    Sadly, or thankfully I did not feel the need to act out the stunts. (though I would love to be able to slide across the hood of my car!)

    WG

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    1. I never could get the hood slide down. I always fell off the other side.

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  27. Holy crap! I thought I did stupid things growing up, the worst I did, by myself anyway, was tape styrofoam wings to my arms and jump off a water tower to see if it could fly or at least glide...I did mention I was by myself right?

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    1. We had an endless list of stupid things to do. I think I prematurely aged myself with all my injuries.

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  28. "Oh, don't worry about that, Dad. I am much smarter than you."

    I am afraid this just may translate to "I can do that better than you did"

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    1. Hopefully not. She gets scared if the car is moving and someone doesn't have their seat belt on.

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    2. Yes Sir that works for now, Just wait till she is a bit older and smiles at you while she says "Hey Dad, You better put your seat belt on"

      Seriously this is why I always drive when my kids are around rather than ride with them Ha Ha

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  29. Haha, awesome post! You should've taken up parkour or something if your able to survive falls from such heights. I can now say with confidence that you made my childhood look like an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

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    1. It was a great childhood, but it is true that my body is paying for it.

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  30. We jumped off of our share of roofs as well as kids. These days, I sometimes worry if I step wrongly off the last step of my combine, I'll put mu back out.

    Hooper? Now there's a movie that I never would have thought of if you hadn't mentioned it. Burt and Jan-Michael Vincent.

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    1. I showed Hooper to my kids a couple of years ago. They loved it as well. Great movie.

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