Monday, February 8, 2010

Passing The Time In The 'Burbs

Growing up in the suburbs in the 1980s was quite an adventure. Wait, no, I take that back, it was totally freakin BORING. There really wasn't anything to do in my hometown, especially if you were an angst filled punk rocker like myself and my friend Brad. This led us to explore the ever popular "bad" kid pastimes like drugs, skateboarding, shoplifting, and our all time favorite; vandalism.

I wasn't much of a juvenile myself, but Brad used to take punk rock's destructive tendencies to outrageous new heights. He was always getting into some kind of trouble, be it with the law, his parents or the teachers and principal of our high school. Hanging out with Brad was one of the most exciting things I could think of doing, as he was a veritable human whirlwind of criminal excitement.

Brad was tough too. He'd walk up to people and punch them in the face if he didn't like the way the were looking at him. People usually were looking at him too, as his shaven head with stupid spiky bangs made him stand out like a sore thumb anytime he went out in public. More often than not though, anyone who taunted him, calling him either a "freak" or a "skate fag" would get knocked out cold on the spot. Brad wasn't someone you wanted to mess with, which many people soon learned the hard way.

What Brad lacked in brains he made up for in sheer enthusiasm. You could always guarantee he'd stage dive higher and more often than anyone else at punk rock gigs, and in the mosh pit he was unstoppable. Brad's pent up aggression was a good match for my devious schemes, and he and I would quite often work as a team when we launched some of our greatest pranks. Surprisingly though, one of Brad's finest moments would happen without any assistance from me whatsoever.

At our high school we never had an actual paved running track until about 1986. Previous to that it was always packed down gravel, so when the town finally scraped together enough money to pave the track, our jock loving principal McWalters was on cloud nine. He'd made numerous announcements about the track impending paving, and you could sense the childlike excitement in his voice. Knowing that this was our principal's achilles heel, Brad decided to vandalize what our principal cherished the most.

I knew that something was up one Monday when I came into school. Right when I walked in the main lobby, one of the vice principals grabbed me by the arm and escorted me to the office. I was told to sit down, as the principal got right in my face and started screaming at me. He was red in the face, and screaming "I know it was you or your punk friends who ruined my track!" over and over again. Since I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, I suggested that he call my mother so she could confirm that I hadn't left my house at all the entire weekend.

Principal McWalters took me up on my request and called my mother. After my mother confirmed that I was indeed a "good boy", principal McWalters actually apologized to me. He said "I don't know who did that to my track, but mark my words, I'll have his head on a platter!" Since I still had no idea what he was talking about, I asked if I could go outside and take a look.

There was a sizable crew out by the track, making a vain attempt to clean it off with some pressure washers. When I finally got close enough to see what it was they were trying to wash off, I could see it was a drawing of a HUGE penis ejaculating onto a smiling face. The thing was, whomever had painted it didn't use regular spray paint. They used white house paint and a brush, so on top of the brand new black asphalt, this white visage of juvenile perversity shined like a beacon into the cosmos.

It was also so big, you couldn't really see the entire image unless you got up onto the bleachers and looked at it from an elevated vantage point. It reminded me of a more perverted version of the giant intaglio figures found on the plains of Nazca Peru. You know, the ones written about by author Erick Von Danicken in his controversial book Chariots Of The Gods?

I knew right away that this HAD the be the handy work of Brad, and as soon as he came into school I could tell by his expression that he was the one who had decorated principal McWalters' precious new track. Brad was scared to death of getting caught, but none of us ever ratted him out. It was pretty funny though when the morning announcements came, and McWalters did his his best Dirty Harry impersonation, saying "Do you hear me you little punk... I'm gonna nail you..." in a low menacing tone. Brad's cut up and scabby hands were a dead give away that he'd gotten into something over the weekend He'd apparently soaked his hands in turpentine to get all the paint off so no one would suspect him of destroying principle McDouche's track.

The funniest thing too was that because he had used so much exterior house paint on the track, they eventually had to pave over where he'd painted and you could still see a 3D impression of the giant penis he'd drawn. This penis's visage remained on our track for many years afterwards.