Really Dumb Stuff

We were talking the other night about dumb stuff our teenagers get up to and then, of course started talking about dumb stuff we did when we were younger (and even more recently). So, I thought I’d share with you the top 3 dumbest things I’ve ever done. Not that there weren’t plenty, plenty more, but these are probably the biggest in scope:

1.  At seventeen I ran away from home and joined the circus…okay, it wasn’t exactly the circus; more of a travelling road show and I was along to sell tapes (Note: Tapes were musical recording devices used in the dark ages days before we were clever enough to invent CDs). I went on tour with 6 total strangers for five months.

2.  One summer, a couple of years later, I went to Europe with a friend and neither of us had any money. We’d scraped together enough for a standby airfare and just under $100 each spending money.  We had a very small tent, sleeping bags and our backpacks.  Between us we also had 3 foreign languages and about 4 sets of distant European relatives each of whom we hit up for a meal and a night indoors.

3.  When my daughter was five, the two of us moved from southern Ontario to Halifax. I’d never been to the Maritimes in my life and I didn’t know a soul there. I sold and/or got rid of almost everything I owned and while I still had a substantive position with the government, I didn’t have an actual job in Halifax.

And, these things are relatively mild compared to some of the stories I’ve heard from friends.  It always amazes me how some of us have managed to survive more or less intact. The thing is though that these dumb things also sometimes turn out to be among the best things you’ve ever done. On the other hand, they could very easily have turned out really, really bad.  Is it worth the risk? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?


22 responses to “Really Dumb Stuff

  1. I can only think of 2 things in my entire life. Both of them were considered dangerous by grown ups but I ‘m not sure.

    1/ Two of us who were throwing javelin for our high school team decided to warm up before real practice started by playing catch,with the javelin. A teacher saw us about 20 yds apart tossing the spear back and forth and had a bit of of the vapours yelling at us to stop. We had done it several times and nevr got hurt so I can’t see what the problem was.

    2/ Several of us nice Canadian teenage boys decided in the summer of 1968 that a really cool thing to do would be to go over to Buffalo and watch the riots. Our reasoning was that since we were Canadian the rioters would know we meant no harm and would leave us alone. We were almost right we were chased back to our car and fired at by shotgun. One of us got a few pellets in his ass which we thought was pretty funny, after we had made good our escape. My parents found out about 2 weeks later after the hospital had told the cops who talked to his parents who talked to all the parents. This caused my father to question my real parentage, but again no one got hurt. Well except for the one who ot shot but what the heck.

    Well there was also the time I got stabbed for mouthing off to a classmate but I still say that was his fault not mine.

  2. The dumbest thing I ever did was, in retrospect one of the smartest. After getting my BA in Quebec, I applied at McGill and was accepted and promptly moved to Montreal. With no money to support myself and no backup plan.

    I dropped out of McGill, found a job and never looked back.

    Basically I was fleeing Quebec city I think.

  3. I once ate a pudding cup that was three days beyond its best-before date. Who says I’m not crazy and impulsive? Oh, yeah, it was a chocolate fudge pudding cup! So there! But I did NOT lick the metal lid. That would just be stupid.

  4. There are too many to mention; stupid things we did involved guns, live ammunition, fireworks, tree forts, homemade numchucks, barbecue spit sword fights, rock climbing sans ropes or any other tools, playing on the roof, etc. And then as teenagers car surfing and other stupid and dangerous car tricks.

    Scarily, I think my experiences were pretty typical of boys of my generation (or at least of my immediate peers). It’s really amazing that any of us survived to adulthood.

  5. gee XUP, those things sound more like life enriching experiences to me, experiences that make you who you are today. i sorta envy people who have the cahones to do stuff like that (don’t know how pleased I would be if my own kids did it though!)

    Stupid things I’ve done? I gotta say, hitchiking by myself, from ages 12 to 15 from Manotick to downtown Ottawa, any given time of day/night. I mean, really, I’m so lucky nothing bad happened. I’m sure there are others, but that one makes my stomach do flips thinking about how stupid it was.

  6. If I was smart enough to know which one of the hundreds of dumb things I’ve done was indeed the dumbest among them, I’m sure I’d be far wealthier and more successful right now.

  7. Bandobras – “summer of 1968”? Man, how old ARE you?

    Jazz- Funny how sometimes the stuff you don’t think about too much turns out to be really good, isn’t it?

    Bob – I think I saw you on the A-Channel News when that happened. A Channel never fails to deliver the goods, nosiree

    Dave – Well it’s a good thing today’s youth are mollycoddled out of all that sort of nonsense. They’ve been wearing helmets and other protective gear since infancy and yet have only been allowed to play with sponges and things made from sponges… but only sponges that weren’t manufactured in China.

    Meanie – Ya, I used to do a lot of hitching, too and had a couple of close calls. And, I’m very happy that my daughter inherited none of my insanity genes.

  8. xup ~ I echo what another poster has said, what you’ve done seem like a life enriching experience to me more than a stupid move!

    As for my stupid moves, oh plenty from my closet 🙂 but I will say that the most stupid and irresponsible one was to hitchike when I was young and foolish enough not to know how to defend myself. I never got into trouble but boy, yeah, a few close calls as well.

    Another one was to drive while inhebriated when I was in my early 20s and putting someone’s life in danger, as well as mine. I have never done it again.

  9. So old I can remember a time when young sprites such as yourself treated old people with respect and dignity and, and, what was I just talking about?

  10. UA – Enriching yes, but the potential in each case was very strong for disaster or worse. Too bad getting older and smarter also means getting a little more boring.

    Bandobras – Aw, get away with ya, ya useless old fart.

  11. Obviously, I’m concerned my imminent move to Vancouver might be turn out being my dumbest move …

    I’ve been too up-tight my whole life to have done too many dumb things … perhaps I’m reversing the trend and becoming more exciting with age? I’d like to think so! 😛

  12. Hunter – How about just the very dumbest one ever?

    Tania – Try not to overthink it. And don’t let other people put you off with well-intended advice on taking the safe route. In retrospect the things I listed were dumb and so much could have gone wrong, but I never regretted doing any of them for one instant. When my daughter is afraid of something I always get her to tell what she thinks the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen would be and then what she thinks the chances of that bad thing happening are — especially compare with all the stuff she’ll miss out on if she doesn’t take the risk.

  13. You’re such a brazen lassie, XUP. Are any of these adventures in the book you wrote? (you did mention writing a book, right? or has my last marble rolled out of my head, across the floor, and wedged itself under the closet door?)

    Dumbest things I’ve ever done? You know, I read this post yesterday and still haven’t come up with anything, although I’m sure there must be a dozen numskull moments buried in my mind. A few poor choices in men? Kissing girls for show? Walking through the French Quarter of New Orleans alone with a girlfriend at 3 a.m.?

    You win for most exciting adventures.

  14. OTC- It wasn’t meant to be a contest. But, did you vote for Bush? That would pretty much make you a shoe-in.

  15. I was chatting with a friend last night about some of the dumb things I did as a teenager as well. *sigh* I really can’t believe I made it through some of them. Teenagers are so invincible, aren’t they? I was game for anything.

    Now I find I overthink everything, and my spontaneity seems to have gone. I need to become more daring. And then again, when I do something a bit daring, it comes back and smacks me in the face.

  16. I admire your sense of adventure.

    Dumbest thing I’ve ever done? It’s a tough one because there are SO MANY. I left my car in drive, on a hill, to get out and check the mail. The car drove up hill, turned the corner, and headed down my property while dragging me with it.

    I’m smart that way dontcha know.

  17. Pingback: Dinner and a Dilemma « XUP

  18. Josie – I’ve read that the last part of the human being to develop and reach maturity is the part of the brain that understands the consequences of actions. THAT’s why we’re more boring now. We know exactly what could happen when we engage in risky behaviour.

    OTC – Yes, I guess that would explain your middle-of-the-road, normal, sedate lifestyle, right? Ha ha ha ha ha

    Grandy – that’s hilarious. And adventure is another way of saying dumb sometimes. Look at how all those “adventurers “end up — eaten by things, falling off or out of stuff, impaled by sharp things.

  19. Well, there was the time in ’68 my buddy and I crossed back from Detroit to Windsor with two girls we’d met over the weekend – a underaged runaway from Chicago and a Hamilton hottie with fake ID – along with a quarter ounce of hash and a coupla hundred bucks worth of acid hits. Chicago gal carried all the drugs and we taught her to drawl Trawna when the customs guy asked where we were all from. We only avoided getting nailed because the driver in front of us thought he was getting waved over for further inquiries instead of us. We hit the street at a clip and drove the backroads all the way to TO, putting away most of the hash along the way. The acid belonged to Hanya from Hamilton and they went off to sell it at a Doors concert the next night. Never saw them again.

    Back around the same time I pretty much always got by on a lot less sleep than I needed. Two or three times I caught up on my shut-eye while driving Highway 7. Bit of a rush to wake up when your car hits the shoulder on the far side of the road.

    It’s mostly been pretty tame over the years since then, until last year when I found myself over-refreshed at 3:00 in the morning with the constable’s party lights flashing in my rearview mirror. Won’t do that again either.