Moral Compass

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I wasn't always a choir boy.

Well. Actually I never was a choir boy. Growning up I was a very wild kid, by suburban standards. Living in Richboro, for all the times I try to romanticize it, was somewhat boring. As a kid you would need to find things to do. Play a sport, ride our dirtbikes, go fishing at a local pond, climb trees, or get into mischief.

Mischief came in many forms. We used to get bottle rockets and would line them up, across the street, at a neighbor's front door. One of us would run up, "Knock and Run" while the others waited across the street with our matches drawn. The person would open the front door, we would light the bottle rocket and run. Yes - the rocket would launch straight into the person's house and explode. I have no idea why we never got arrested.

Other events were just criminal. We used to go to newly constructed homes and vandalize them. I'm not proud of this, in fact looking back i'm somewhat embarassed that I did this. But we did. We would go to homes that were about 50% completed. The frame was up and the builders would put fixtures in like bathtubs, sinks, toilets and mirrors. We would just be hopped up on Mountain Dew and too many Saturday afternoon Kung-Fu movies and go to town on these places. Lots of times the floor level doors would be locked, but the 2nd level windows were open. Bad, bad, idea. We would scramble up, open a window and destroy the inside of the house. Mirrors shattered, porcelain tubs smashed, paint thrown. It wasn't JUST me, there were a group of us, but it did get wild sometimes.

This was like in 1979, so I hate to say, "Things were different", but they were in a way. We weren't thinking we were destroying personal property - it was just a house and the big fat cat builders wouldn't lose money because they had so much of it. Sort of like how people download stolen music now-a-days...

The next day we would bring our red wagon filled with lemonaide to the construction guys and sell them glasses for $.50 each. The construction guys loved it and would say, "Hey kids. Do you know any kids that vandalize our homes?" We would just look all innocent like, "No sir! We don't know anyone who would do that!". Some of the construction guys would know it was us and some didn't. But they had no proof and i'm sure their insurance costs would just cover the vandalism. We never got in trouble over that.

We used to take fireworks and blow up mailboxes. We would use M80s. Now I don't know if they are "true" M80s or not - but they were powerful enough to blow up a mailbox. We could even fish with them, toss it into the water, the fuse would still work underwater and BANG - the dazed fish would float to the surface. They have a slow fuse and you would have to be a backwater idiot to be holding one when it goes off. They were fairly powerful and i'm still amazed that I was 8-10 years old running around with these things in 1980's. Again, different time, folks.

We would have fun blowing up mailboxes, which we did in other developments to avoid getting in trouble. But one day one of us read how it was a FEDERAL CRIME to destroy a mailbox. We never knew. We stopped destroying mailboxes because as much as we were a bunch of petty criminal kids - we weren't about to start felonies. What would my parents think?

I mean my mother was strict. I remember one day, the first day I stole anything, it was a metal jet airplane. The wings could extend or collapse, and it was painted blue. I don't remember stealing it. But I do remember Mom asking where I got it. I tried to make something up, but I think I was 6 at the time and my lying skills aren't as honed as they are today.

She marched me down to the store and make me confess to the owner that I stole the airplane! Then I returned the airplane and she grounded me. It was a lesson learned and to this day I haven't forgotten the lesson learned: Learn how to lie better to your parents.

Just kidding.

But I think even with my faults and mischef that my parents both did a good job at making me a good kid. You read stories about kids in Hoboken who steal things & break the mirrors off cars. My first reaction is always like many I read...you think about the Jersey City or Projects kids. You know what...I did that when I was a kid and I grew up in the suburbs.

I get the feeling that other people did, too. But everyone likes to paint a rosey picture on their lives and themselves and don't admit to that very often. Hey, i'll admit it - I fucked up as a kid a few times. Just gotta hope the kids get caught and they have parents who straighten them out to become responsible adults. Not like this idiot.

My moral compass was off from time to time, but it was because of my parents that I got it set straight before I got into big trouble. I'm not perfect today, not by any means, but I think if it wasn't for them I could have ended up a less than responsible adult.

Thanks Mom & Dad.

1 Comment

Why furey, you little badass!

I have to say that my parents made sure I didn't do that early on in life... when I was 4, I took a quarter out of the tip my dad left for the waitress at the Ground Round. I wanted to play a video game, my parents had said no, so I grabbed the quarter and ran ahead of them. They saw it, left another quarter and then my father told me that I was to return the quarter to the table, and if I ever did anything like that again, he'd burn my hands on the barbecue. Since he was strict, I believed him. Maybe he would have done it.

From the time I was 10 till I left for college my neighborhood was being built, so I used to play in half-built houses, but we never broke stuff. We used to like to see who was tougher/braver and would climb into the attic without the attic having a floor/stairs into it. And we liked to jump out of the windows into snow in the winter. I should probably have broken my neck!

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on May 18, 2006 12:56 AM.

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