I used to throw rocks at windows
I used to break things until I found something I was good at.
Angry Boys (Part 1)
When I was a kid, I used to break things. Most of the things I broke were made of glass. The noise of shattering glass proved to be a good reward for my efforts. Whether I was putting my fist through a window because I got locked in the bathroom after pee-wee football practice (pee-wee football has nothing to do with urine, I promise), taking a piece of glass out of the my babysitter’s living room table and throwing it in the driveway (probably explains some flat tires), or breaking my older brother’s Transformers (sorry, Jeremy) - I had a knack for destruction. I was a blonde-hair, blue-eyed version of Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction, but I instead had two arms, two feet and a mouth that spewed vulgarity like an ever-erupting volcano spews red hot molten magma.
That one time
Perhaps the most memorable (and incredibly stupid) time I broke something was when I, at the young age of 9-ish, was on another do-no-good-mission at the village park with my younger brother and the town twins.
For purposes beyond the realm of reasoning, we thought it would be a good idea to randomly start throwing small parking lot stones about, trying to mimic the throwing speed of Nolan Ryan - the great Texan-American Major League Baseball pitcher. Somehow, the game Throw the stones at the window didn't seem like a bad idea.
Photo of Nolan Ryan, 1980s
We started by throwing the stones into an empty parking lot, but after a few minutes this proved too boring. Chucking gravel rocks into a large empty space with no physical impact or destructive purpose is a fruitless task. We needed a target; we wanted a challenge.
Next, we pivoted to face a nearby row of trees and threw in their direction. This again proved too easy as the trees were too close to us and we didn’t feel like moving from our perch. Besides, we were never going to fell a tree with tiny stones. They barely even made a dent.
We turned again to what would be our final target of the morning…
The only other remaining nearby target was the village sports hall. This was initially off-limits as we felt building destruction was a pastime enjoyed by the kids from the
other side of the train tracks. Surely, the four of us whose parents were considered to be so upstanding in the community could never engage in activities so detrimental to the welfare and reputation of the village (and to our parents). Surely not. Right?
It was time to join 'em!
We wanted a target. We wanted one NOW, and the convenient proximal location of the sports hall meant it would become the next object for our stone-throwing pitching practice.
The sports hall was a small, functional little purpose-built building used to store sporting equipment for local youth sports teams. It sat nestled between the tennis courts, a parking lot, and the baseball diamonds. It also featured the bathroom window I punched through a couple years earlier. I had sliced my hand on the glass and always wanted payback. The building had windows of various sizes – some big, some small. We thought by throwing stones at the small window we would be safe. After all, we were about 60 feet away.
We took turns throwing, shouting out announcements every time we stepped up to throw (picture a bunch of kids doing Harry Caray and Bob Uecker impressions). We’d all missed our first few throws and it was my turn once again.
“Step aside, guys. I’m gonna get it this time.” I said, spoken with genuine bravado.
I picked up a stone,
set my feet in position and eyed up the target.
“Goodbye, window.” I whispered.
One of the twins narrated my actions:
“Nolan Ryan steps up to the mound.
Here’s the wind-up...