And Another Thing About That

About me being a fucking trainwreck as a kid. I say over and over and over again that if I did half the shit I did from 1978-1988 these days, particularly as a non-white kid, I would be in jail. For at least until I was 45.

We broke into frat houses and stole porn and booze, I used to drive all the time without a license (and not very well), I smoked pot, we had rifles in the trunks of cars, riding around in a Ford LTD on windy roads with four kids and a case of MD 20/20 (before and after Ramones concerts, etc.). If anyone did half the shit I did as a kid these days, they would be in juvenile detention or in the big house. And those are the white kids. I was just lucky to be white and smart enough and born at the right time.

Also, fuck Michelle Rhee spewing her crap on HBO.

93 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    Also, fuck Michelle Rhee spewing her crap on HBO

    This. Just this.

  2. 2
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Also, fuck Michelle Rhee spewing her crap on HBO.

    Shit, and I set the DVR for that. I find Maher makes good background noise for weekend chores, but I can’t sit through it. And with Rhee I figure there’s a good shot Maher is doing his “this is where I part company with liberals…” thing

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    So how are those segue lessons going, John?

  4. 4
    cyntax says:

    True dat about what you get away with when you’re white, but where you did it probably mattered too. Guns in the trunk would have been a big deal here in NorCal, white or not. Though certainly worse if you weren’t white.

    And Michelle Rhee can GDIAF.

  5. 5
    22over7 says:

    Yeah, the theft and guns were bad, but as I recall, pot and booze were everywhere then, and the drunk-driving thing wasn’t a big deal until MADD.

    I remember the DA in our college town announcing in the paper that he wouldn’t prosecute anyone for possession of less than four ounces. Said he didn’t have the time.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    Why do I have the feeling I’m going to wake up tomorrow and read about how a bunch of middle-aged bloggers were arrested trying to relive their youths?

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Such rambuctiousness in West Virginia?

    Heaven forfend.

    /broad-brush stereotype

  8. 8
    cyntax says:


    Better the blotter report than the emergency room.

  9. 9
    the Conster says:

    Everything was different for everyone though, years ago. I just sat on a jury for a 22 year old white kid who got popped for DUI – no one saw him driving, it was 3 in the morning, he’d run out of gas (for real), and he was 100 yards from his car walking back towards civilization when he flagged a cop down who was chasing a speeder in the other direction, who pulled over, checked the car, gave him a field sobriety test which he passed, but busted him because he just didn’t like the vibe and said he smelled booze. In my day, the cop would take you back to the station, have someone come get you, tell you he never wants to see you again, and it’s over. Now, every cop is a legend in their own mind.

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    I hate Michelle Rhee.

    More smiting please, God.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BGinCHI: I would even settle for some smiting. Or am I pre-compromising?

  12. 12
    kindness says:

    Couldn’t stand md 20/20. In high school we used to drink Colt 45, Old English 800 or some such crap instead. John, I hate to tell this to you but when you were a kid. You were normal. You were of your people and your environment. I for one am glad you did not get tossed in jail when you were a kid.

    Tell us Dead show stories sometimes.

  13. 13
    FlyingToaster says:

    John, guns in the trunk in West Missouri/Eastern Kansas in the late 70s woulda been, “didya actually kill anyone?” — well, unless you were browner than we.

    My parents, OTOH, would have killed us and dumped our bodies in the Missouri for someone to find down about Florissant.

    I did my (80’s) uni time at BobbyKnightU; it’s a bike town, but I remember all too well some of the weird shit that went on up on North Jordan. I did get pulled over once at 5am for drunk biking (I turned left on red in front of a cruiser, and I must have smelled like a distillery, having chugged a half-yard of Guiness then about a quarter of a bottle of Bushmills), but thankfully not ticketed.

    These years of “zero tolerance policies” is why I’m trying to get my 5-year-old into private school. One day of showing up to public school dressed as a ninja and she’d be expelled anyway.

    [For those of you who can add, yes, I was a 46-year-old primipara. It just means I can afford to tell some people to fuck-off.]

    FlyingToaster +2 (and counting)

  14. 14
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Seems to me the old man has become quite lacksadaisical in his smiting, lo these past few centuries.

  15. 15
    Mnemosyne says:

    Early one morning, I got a phone call from my brother M — he had been picked up for violating curfew but they would only let him go if an adult picked him up at the police station. My older brother J was home from college, so I went and woke him up and make him go pick M up at the station.

    The middle brother, S, had the business card of every cop in the area because he had encountered every one of them at some point.

    Good times, good times.

  16. 16
    kay says:

    It’s crazy for juveniles now, because it goes on and on and on. The first (minor) offense isn’t the thing. Most of them can comply with for a short period of monitoring. It’s that they make the sanctions so long and complicated. They eventually violate some term of probation, and that starts this spiral. They don’t even remember what the original charge was after 18 months of monitoring (and violating the “case plan”, almost inevitably)

    To look at the stats you would think these kids are on a weekly crime spree, but it all comes out of the original order.

    I’m to the point where I’d rather see some straight punishment that ENDS, so they don’t just deal with this system for years, and think it’s their ordinary life.

  17. 17
    ant says:

    @the Conster:

    no one saw him driving

    why didn’t that qualify as reasonable doubt?

    I got in trouble when I was 17 years old. We got drunk, broke into a restaurant, trashed the place and stole crap load o booze.

    I was charged as a minor. today, I’d be a felon.

  18. 18
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Maybe it was lead, John. You are a little slow-witted.

  19. 19
    the Conster says:


    To say nothing about every teenage indiscretion caught on a phone or camera posted to the internet, shadowing you the rest of your days. Not good times to be a teenage renegade if you want to grow up to be president.

  20. 20
    beltane says:

    You mean to say: the malevolent fraud, Michelle Rhee. In any sane society, this lying snake oil saleswoman would be permanently disgraced and relegated to obscurity. In America, however, grifting does no harm to one’s reputation or credibility. Rhee, like so many of our other corrupt hacks, is a floater, You can try to flush them all you want, but they’ll still be there bobbing away for all eternity.

  21. 21
    YellowJournalism says:

    First time I ever got drunk was on MD 20/20 mixed with grape soda, then we mixed it with cheap cola. In my sloppy state, I spilt it all over the phone and it got deep into the receiver, so the damn thing smelled like cheap wine for an entire year.

  22. 22
    the Conster says:


    He blew the breathalyzer and in Mass. they have two theories of DUI to get you on – we found him innocent of DUI by reasonable doubt, but his breathalyzer result was just over the legal limit and in the absence of any evidence that the machine was broken or the operator of the machine was a raging incompetent, we had to convict. We were all pissed off at the cop, but he was one of those little town big tough guys. Asshole.

  23. 23
    ant says:

    @the Conster:

    over the legal limit and in the absence of any evidence that the machine was broken or the operator of the machine was a raging incompetent, we had to convict.

    How did you know that he was driving?

  24. 24
    kay says:

    @the Conster:


    “I am going to read you this and ask you if you wrote it..”

    I’m DYING. I could strangle them. KICK them under the table. I’m contemplating child abuse, right there :)

  25. 25
    the Conster says:


    He admitted on the stand that he’d been driving the car, and told the cop it was his car and he’d been driving. It was stipulated.

  26. 26
    James E. Powell says:

    @the Conster:

    Now, every cop is a legend in their own mind.

    Now, every cop knows that he or she will be featured on the news if the drunk driver he or she gave a break to ends up killing some one.

  27. 27
    the Conster says:

    @James E. Powell:

    I considered that, but this wasn’t one of those times. The car was out of gas, it was 3 in the morning, and the kid was just trying to get home – bring him back to the station and let him call someone to come get him, tow the car somewhere and make him come back to get it later. He was not going to be a threat to anyone. The cop was just being a fucking asshole because he could.

  28. 28
    ant says:

    @the Conster:

    He admitted on the stand that he’d been driving the car


  29. 29
    JWL says:

    [The parking lot at Sloat & the Great Highway in San Francisco 1972; 3PM on an rare Indian Summer day]…

    SFPD: “You guys are pretty stupid getting busted smoking grass here in the parking lot, aren’t you”? [Wide eyed white teenagers]: “Uh-huh”. “If we cut you loose, you won’t be back–right”? “Uh uh”. “OK, then get lost”.

  30. 30
    the Conster says:


    He was 21 at the time. Kind of goes with the territory.

  31. 31
    geg6 says:

    Hell, the only times in my life I’ve spent time in jail, it was in juvie. Your teenage years were nothing next to mine. I hung in bars from the age of 14 (my boyfriend was in a band). We did acid during the school day at least once a week during my sophomore and senior years and when we weren’t tripping, we were smoking pot and taking THC. Took off without telling the parents and went to concerts all over the east coast, Ohio and Michigan from age 14 and it was that which landed me in juvie. My mom always turned me in as a runaway (which was not really true, I always intended to come home). As soon as I got home from whatever trip I was on (usually following the Stones tours that often missed Pittsburgh), she call the cops and they’d haul me off for 2 or 3 days. She couldn’t stop me and it drove her nuts. Which made me want to get away all the more.

    It always strikes me as weird now that I did every drug you put in front of me back then (excepting heroin or anything injectable), but I didn’t drink much back then. Actually, I didn’t drink at all after age 13 (and not much before, really). My love affair with beer and wine didn’t really start until my 30s.

  32. 32
    Maude says:

    If he had lied, he would have been in more trouble.

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    @Maude: That’s why you don’t have to answer.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Maude: One can refuse to answer the question. Fifth Amendment and all that.

  35. 35
    kay says:


    IMO, it’s turning. She got her book out too late and the pundits don’t know it yet.
    I think there’s a lot of anti-privatization energy out there. She’s smart, and I think the smarter reformers know it. They’re expressing doubts and calling for better regulation. Voluntary, of course, because they’d rather make the rules. That’s a pretty good indication they know there’s popukar pushback, in any industry, and school reform is an industry.
    Now we have to “reform” reform! Re-regulate what we recklessly deregulated!

  36. 36
    the Conster says:

    The real lesson is, refuse the breathalyzer and fight the license suspension. Convincing a jury that there’s been a massive conspiracy against you with the machine is a loser, and the DUI becomes a criminal conviction and not an administrative matter between you and the DMV, at least in Massachusetts.

  37. 37
    worn says:


    Amen, brother.

    I often find myself thinking of all the things I got away with / didn’t get caught for during essentially the same stretch, if not even up an into 1990.

    For example, at about 13 my best friend Steve got his hands on a gallon of gunpowder. Told me at the time that his parents bought it for him out at the Stone Mountain Armory. How we didn’t get caught for this mischief that canister alone generated is beyond me. By way of example, he figured out a way to take a $5 cap pistol (they came in musket & rifle models), drill out the end block into the cap tray, and end up with a working powder weapon. Melted fishing lures cast into plaster molds provided the bullets. I still see these same guns in the store from time to time. There were of course pipe bombs, too. Mostly to drop dead trees in the deep creek ravine that wandered between our two streets, blow um stumps & the like. This all took place in solidly suburban, ranch house Atlanta, inside the perimeter.

    Unfortunately these childhood hellraiser memories are on my mind for I received word this week that my oldest childhood friend Steve has died. Drank himself to death, alone, on the floor of his mother’s (my “2nd momma”) floor.

    Man, it’s been a tough week.

    Hold on tight to thems what love you is all I can seem to take from this sad & stupid thing.

    [/recloaks for +whatever the night holds]

  38. 38
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    This reminds of this great bit by Edroso:

    Makes me nostalgic for a time I didn’t even live through. Sheesh, I already get weepy enough about the 90’s and that’s a time I actually do remember. It’s funny because I’d hate living that way-I’m a complete wuss who can barely handle weaker brands of hot sauce, let alone a diet of booze and pot night after night-but I like hearing about it. Makes for good stories.

    I think it’s a macro-micro problem. There was a lot of dangerous and stupid shit that went on in the 70’s/80’s, and people who got hurt buy it don’t want to hear nostalgic odes to it, and they’re totally justified. But I think it’s also true that in the aggregrate too much Giuliani-fication of daily life, if you will, makes things more boring and predictable in the aggregate.

    ETA: And the internet, for all its charms, is a godsend for snoops, gossips, brown-nosers, and other species who ought to mind their own damn business. There’s a certain type of petty tyrant who loves reminding teenagers that ‘whatever you do will be online forever’: probably hoping he can be the one to shoot them down for it. And of course the kids don’t have any sense to maybe not put all those drunk/naked photos online. Sheesh.

  39. 39
    James E. Powell says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    One can refuse to answer the question. Fifth Amendment and all that.

    I did not do a lot of criminal defense work back in my lawyer days, but I represented defendants in quite a few 3rd and 4th degree felony cases as appointed counsel. Drugs & thefts mostly. In every single case. Every one. My client made some kind of statement to the police. I would ask them, “Don’t you watch TV? Don’t you know about the right to remain silent?” Their excuses & explanations were without reason or purpose. What I learned was that, while on TV and in movies the bad guys are always possessed of some kind of malicious intelligence, in real life most defendants are dumber than a sack of hammers.

  40. 40
    NotMax says:


    Anyone seen any comments from ulee (whose comments here on 1/31 were decidedly suicidal)?

  41. 41
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    The one time I served on a criminal jury, the most interesting, and slightly frightening thing, was that two jurors just could not accept the notion of burden of proof being on the state. We were stuck at 10-2 for acquittal, and two jurors kept saying over and over that they didn’t think the defense had proved the accused was innocent. They finally gave in, but they weren’t happy about it.

  42. 42
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: Saw ulee earlier this week. had commented overnight in a decidedly suicidal way. I saw it hours later and have no idea what happened subsequently.

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Aaarrrgggghhh! I hate idiots.

  43. 43
    James E. Powell says:


    I almost threw up just from reading that combination. Ack!

  44. 44
    the Conster says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Me and another guy kept saying to the other all white middle aged jurors that you can’t just trust the cops to tell the truth, and they were having a hard time with that. I kept saying that the cop’s story was just as self-serving as the kid’s story, but it was an afternoon long process. Frankly, the whole thing was depressing and exhausting and I just wished the cop hadn’t been such an asshole, and that I could have taken the kid behind the court house and tell him to stop being an idiot because when you’re not lucky, you have to be smart. Now, he’s got a record because big tough guy asshole cop had to be a tough guy.

  45. 45
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    Thanks. Glad to hear that there was no dire follow-through from the severe state at the end of January.

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @James E. Powell: My first good solid drunk was MD as well. My cousin and I got a couple of bottles of it and crashed the Future Business Leaders of America convention that was in town. I found a name tag that said I was Tom, but introduced myself to girls as [Omnes]; it caused confusion. Once back with family, my dad had to stop 4 times on a 30 mile drive for me to yak. The parents got me up at about 7:30 the next morning.

  47. 47
    Nicole says:

    I thought Bill Maher came across as not a fanof Michelle Rhee, but holy cow, that man is thick. He brought up tenure, and that it was necessary to protect teachers who “have to tell parents their kid is dumb.” No, you moron. It’s to protect 50-year-old teachers as the top of the pay scale from getting dumped by the schools so the school can hire a 20-something for half the salary.

    And then when he started whining later about having to pay 50% of his income in taxes… oh, go cry on the huge bag of money you still have left, you feckin idjit.

    I liked the panel pretty well, though. And the food guy.

  48. 48
    rb says:

    @worn: Christ, man, I’m sorry.

  49. 49
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Hell, a friend of mine and I ‘bombed’ a courthouse. ‘Bombed” being defined as using four 8 oz. bottle rockets with an M80 attached to the top as the payload. We used cigarettes as time delays and were able to deliver bombs on target from four different points surrounding the courthouse. We made the local paper and news. Well, we didn’t (never caught) but what we did sure as hell did.

    We were aiming for the police department and nailed it with three of them, the fourth blew by the jail and all of them were airbursts.


  50. 50
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Nicole: IIRC, Maher’s contract with whatever Vegas hotel he performs at regularly includes a private jet to shuttle him back and forth to LA. I wonder if that’s counted as income.

  51. 51
    Todd says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    @James E. Powell: My first good solid drunk was MD as well. My cousin and I got a couple of bottles of it and crashed the Future Business Leaders of America convention that was in town. I found a name tag that said I was Tom, but introduced myself to girls as [Omnes]; it caused confusion. Once back with family, my dad had to stop 4 times on a 30 mile drive for me to yak. The parents got me up at about 7:30 the next morning.

    This post made me gag; I had some unfortunate rides on the Night Train Express as a wayward youth.

  52. 52
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I don’t know who Tom Colicchio is but I want to have liberal babies with him.

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Todd: Sorry, dude.

  54. 54
    Ash Can says:

    @worn: My sympathies for your friend Steve.

  55. 55
    kay says:


    I have trouble with her whole theory.

    If teachers are so crucial, why does she want them less and hire temps with 5 weeks of training?

    I don’t know why she doesn’t get asked ordinary questions. I understand this is “policy” but why don’t any of them ever get asked ordinary questions one would ask any unelected Director of US Education?

    Let’s talk about the money. Who gets it.

  56. 56
    The Moar You Know says:

    I thought Bill Maher came across as not a fanofMichelle Rhee, but holy cow, that man is thick. He brought up tenure, and that it was necessary to protect teachers who “have to tell parents their kid is dumb.” No, you moron. It’s to protect 50-year-old teachers as the top of the pay scale from getting dumped by the schools so the school can hire a 20-something for half the salary.

    Wife’s a teacher. Tenure serves for both, believe me. Luckily, her district doesn’t mind spending money to keep good teachers with years of experience. That is rare.

    Maher kind of had a point. The number one problem with education in America today is the parents. Teachers, administrators, school boards and districts are justifiably terrified to admit it, but it’s true.

    Glad Maher didn’t lick Michelle’s boots, I was fairly certain he would and avoided watching it to save the integrity of our television. That woman is a disgusting fraud.

  57. 57
    Ash Can says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: That’s awesome.

  58. 58
    James E. Powell says:

    Michelle Rhee is a beneficiary of America’s screwed up ideas about race/ethnicity and sex. She gets a pass on the cruelty and callous disregard for human beings in the policies that she advocates because she is a non-WASP female. Cf. Condoleeza Rice. Consider too how Dr Ben Carson gets major press for whatever right-wing crap he’s selling. Are there no liberal African-American surgeons? Ever see one jump to the front of the news cycle with his or her ideas about America?

    Just imagine if the spokes-creature for the corporate takeover of public education looked like Mitt Romney or Tucker Carlson. What kind of questions would Bill Maher ask? What would the tote-baggers think of him?

    What’s sad is that the only person who regularly shows up to counter the corporate schools movement is Diane Ravitch. Her credibility is damaged by her prior enthusiasm for most of it and it just seems that the corporate press/media does not like her.

  59. 59
    danielx says:

    If anyone did half the shit I did as a kid these days, they would be in juvenile detention or in the big house. And those are the white kids.

    Well, shit, John, something has to be done to keep America’s prison-industrial complex rolling.

    For certain things are a lot tougher these days, and there are lots of people whose rice bowls are bound up in making sure it stays that way. After all, if – for example – the legalization legislation in Colorado and Washington spreads it could end up in corrections officers getting laid off and we certainly can’t have that.

  60. 60
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Ash Can:

    It was. :)

    We got the idea from our experiments with the items and setting up three of them to go off prior to the start of a real fireworks show. We had them set up to launch straight up and go off immediately (short fused M80’s) and used cigs for time delays. We were standing in the crowd when they went off. Most people thought it was the start of the show and applauded and then groaned when they figured out that it was a prank.

    I’ll have to talk about our bottle rocket wars some time and my firing off a ‘cruise missle’ (starburst, ground level, professional stuff!).

    We won that war. :)

    Having an Indian reservation close by was a blessing.

  61. 61
    Schlemizel says:

    We used to make a contact explosive out of iodine and ammonia. We would ‘paint’ it on the feet of school desks. When it dried & someone sat down in the chair it would make a bang and purple smoke. Today that is probably 40 years to life!

    As a senior prank we had about 200 alarm clocks set to go off at the same time & put them in 200 lockers around the school. Today we would be sent to Gitmo as terrorists.

    Smoking pot wouldn’t have been a as much jail time as it is now in most places. We had it pretty easy in comparison.

  62. 62
    kay says:

    @James E. Powell:

    The local media are a lot better, thank god. They don’t have lofty discussions about “policy” they ask who owns what and who’s profiting.

    There’s an entirely privatized district in MI now.
    Public schools are gone there. It’s privatized charter or move.

    How’s that for some “choice”?

    MI public radio has a continuing series on it. They’re following it.

  63. 63
    Schlemizel says:


    Growing up is hell & some people never recover from it. Sorry dude.

    A friend of mine had a piece of iron water pipe. the end cap had a hole drilled in it. we would unscrew the cap & put a cherry bomb in with the fuse sticking out the hole. Drop a marble or a steelie down the pipe, light the fuse & pointed it at stuff. Shot a steelie through a solid oak door one time.

    His name was Steve too. He went to Viet Nam twice & asked to go a third time. We stayed drunk for more than a week the last time he came home & it was a horrible experience for me to see what had happened to him. He never recovered and one night just went for a very long drive while in his garage.

  64. 64
    pokeyblow says:

    One time, I dressed as a cop and got a phony flashing light from someplace, and started harassing people for the hell of it. It was a grand time.

    Another time, my friends and I grabbed this weak little kid and slapped him a few times, then cut his hair (which was intolerably long) more to our liking.

    One last recollection is how my college friends and I kidnapped this pretty girl we knew, tied her up, and forced her to worship the God Aqua Buddha (personified by our bong).

    Anyway, I think I was the one who did those things.

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pokeyblow: You are the GOP?

  66. 66
    pokeyblow says:

    This other time, when my mom was a governor and I was a female, I was horny as hell and got knocked up by my knucklehead boyfriend a couple of times. That was maybe two years before I became a leading abstinence advocate.

  67. 67
    Ash Can says:

    @pokeyblow: If you just turn yourself in to Interpol now you’ll save this world a whole hell of a lot of grief. Either that or find a good dry-out tank.

  68. 68
    pokeyblow says:

    Omnes, I hope my youthful indiscretions don’t cause you to judge me negatively. Like 41-year-old Henry Hyde, I was too young to have any sense of right behavior.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pokeyblow: Too late.

  70. 70
    James E. Powell says:


    Maybe you just need to take some time off, get away from the job, clear your head. I recommend hiking the Appalachian Trail.

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @James E. Powell: Well played.

  72. 72
    pokeyblow says:

    Dang it!

    I guess you won’t rappreciate my story about the stop sign I blew when totally wasted on Lone Stars… and what happened to my boyfriend, who happened to be in another car going the other way through the intersection…

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pokeyblow: Tell us anyway. As liberals, we are likely to be more tolerant and accepting of flaws than those on the right.

  74. 74
    pokeyblow says:

    Wanna hear about what happened to this a-rab dude in Iraq who made my daddy look like a wimp?

  75. 75
    Spike says:

    Sounds very much like my younger days in the hills of eastern Kentucky. My best friend and I used to joke about having a guardian angel who would drive us home when we were too plastered to see straight.

  76. 76
    pokeyblow says:

    Kidding aside, growing up outside Chicago in the late 70s, my friends and I used to regularly split a case of beer among whoever was in the car (4, 3, or 2 persons). And I know a whole bunch of the other kids in my school were doing exactly the same thing — just ran into a guy who told me that he and his buddy stole a keg from a party, heaved it into their back seat, and went from there.

    So every fifth or sixth car in those days, after 9 PM or so, was probably being operated by someone half-blind.

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pokeyblow: You fuckers drove up to Wisconsin for the 18 y/o beers, didn’t you?

  78. 78
    pokeyblow says:

    Omnes, only once or twice. I grew up in the south suburbs, so Wisconsin was a solid 90-minutes+ trip. We figured out (quite) a few local liquor stores which were willing to sell without ID. Bars were another story, but if you were with someone obviously “of age,” you could have drinks there too.

  79. 79
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pokeyblow: I am a central WI boy. Bars would serve people if they looked like they were at least 16 (during the 18 years). I still had trouble. I got seriously carded until I was about 30. As I approach 50, this look is cool, but, god, what a pain back then.

  80. 80
    pokeyblow says:

    Omnes, my recollected 17-year-old self envies you, because the few times I was legally in bars in Wisconsin back then seem so amazing, so wonderful! Your comment makes me think about the delicate span between, say, 16 and 20. Whether you can-or-can’t do certain things matters a whole hell of a lot at that stage…

  81. 81
    dance around in your bones says:

    Gads, I’m sorry I missed this thread! I could tell y’all some stories, indeed.

    Unfortunately I was already kinda passed out and just woke up to read it. Bummer, man.

    Ok! Back to sleep!

    ETA: Watching a very young Jack Nicholson and Harvey Keitel in a 1982 movie “The Border” (nummy!) I really should go the fuck to sleep (again).

  82. 82
    worn says:

    @Ash Can

    Hey ya’ll, many thanks for the good wishes. They are most appreciated. Been a fukkered up week mentally, it has…

    I didn’t mean to drop a bomb on the thread, but I got home from work and John’s post caught me right at that perfect moment of thinking about now vs then. And so I typed…

    worn +7

  83. 83
    worn says:

    @Schlemizel: My dad was none to happy with our experiments and creations in the black powder days. He grew up next to Ft. Benning (indeed, my great grandmother’s farm & family homestead in Upatoi was, um, in essence confiscated for the formation of the base). He used to tell me a tale of a friend who found some sort of large caliber shell at the edge of Benning. Took it home and shot it. Shrapnel cut his carotid artery and his folks found him dead at the back door, blood all over the place, having been unable to work the knob.

    Typical southern gothic. But meant to express his concern at our reckless experiments in $5 gun making. To our defense, the couple of times the rifles blew apart it was in a fairly felicitous fashion.

  84. 84
    chopper says:


    once in high school my creative writing teacher noticed i was openly reading the anarchist’s cookbook in class. now, i’ll admit that book is mostly worthless, but she leafed through it (wide-eyed) and gave it back to me with a shrug.

  85. 85
    Cermet says:

    But 9-11 and that tiny pin-prick* of an attack change EVERTHING!!! We NEED the police State to protect us from de arab threat and please put us, our children and dogs into prison for trivial matters like enjoying drugs – no, not the drug that kills almost HALF A MILLION PEOPLE every god damn year like tobacco; nor tens of thousands from traffic accidents (and many tens of thousands more by addiction) like alcohol but a harmless drug that makes people safer, more at ease, and mellow like pot. Yes, police state with ass wipe fuckers that offer zero tolerance for the most petty crimes and lock up and ruin HUNDREDS of thousands of teen lives every year!

    So thanks to all the cowards that shit their underwear because of the 9-11 pin-prick and helped to launch a massive war of aggression to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people – eat shit and die all you ass wipes.

    * far more people die from medical mistakes by doctors every fucking month then all who dies in 9-11 and this country makes little effort to correct that killer issue.

  86. 86
    chris says:


    I’m a Bloomington guy, in fact late eighties into the nineties, and even started up on North Jordan…………I know what of you speak

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cermet: Things like zero tolerance policies and three strikes rules that have found their way into the legal system have nothing to do with the 9/11 attack.

  88. 88
    Redleg says:

    You white, privileged enema-bag. I can totally relate! We are roughly the same age and did much of the same shit. Most of the dumb stuff I did involved two things: booze and my white friends. Lucky for us, the cops were white and treated us white college boys from decent neighborhoods with kid gloves.

    The hijinks continued a few years after I was commissioned into the great big boys club (the U.S. Army). Jeezus- the shit we young lieutenants did and got away with. We were invincible and bullet-proof, or so we thought.

    Then came the little brushfire wars of the late 80s and early 90s. Central American peacekeeping and aid missions morphed into combat missions against narco-leftists (but never narco-conservatives!). The first Gulf War. The Balkans peace-keeping missions. We all emerged from those a little more mature, more professional, and less innocent.

    When I look back and can’t even remember that dumb ass kid I was. Then some asshole writes a blog post and the images come flooding back. Thanks for the memories!

  89. 89
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yeah, it was Nixon who started The War on *some* Drugs back in ’71 because he hated the dirty fucking hippies who criticized him for his execrable policies and actions in Vietnam and here in “The Homeland” (oh, how I hate that term – it’s like, The Fatherland, oh my Godwin).

    Zero tolerance has the same roots, some politicians trying to up their cred – “Tough on crime! That’s me!”


  90. 90
    Laur says:

    Breaking into frat houses to steal porn just sounds so…….ridiculously stupid. What goes on in those male brains of yours?

  91. 91

    My friends and I grew up along SEPTA’s R-3 line to West Chester. Along said line, there’s a 1000 foot long, 100 foot high trestle over Crum Creek, the border between Swarthmore borough and nether Providence Township, within which two jurisdictions I and all my friends lived.

    Needless to say, in those same years, we went out there as often as we could and threw things off the top: watermelons, shopping carts, old washing machines, bowling balls, televisions, logs, tree limbs, stones, railroad ties, railroad spikes, a mannequin we found once, anything we found lying around in the woods or under the trestle. Once a friend and I almost killed a guy who walked into view under the trestle just as we let go of a railroad spike from the top. It missed him by about three feet.

    Once we found a beer ball some college kids had left tethered in the creek. I think it’s safe to say they were sorely let down when they got to their party and found an empty beer ball shell lying under the bridge, which reeked of the beer dripping from the steel girders. Sometimes we’d climb up and down the stanchions, all the way up and back down. Sometimes we’d climb halfway up and throw empty beer bottles at each other.

    And we weren’t the only hooligans who did this kind of thing, either. I think we were the only gravity performance artists, but lots of other kids whould climb up and down the thing and get drunk atop it in the middle of the night, or get drunk underneath it any time of the day or night. And nobody ever got killed falling off the thing until after we were all away at college. I’m amazed that nobody ever got killed or even arrested while we were in high school. Ah, memories…

  92. 92
    James E. Powell says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Back in the Nixon years “tough on crime” was newspeak for suppression of black militants and anti-war protesters.

  93. 93
    dance around in your bones says:

    @James E. Powell: I think that is what I just said.

    Nixon getting back at the DFH’s and any other ‘subversive’ people he perceived as causing trouble in our ‘free society’.

    Fucker. I’d like to kick him around a little more except for the fact that he is dead.

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