I’ve decided to share my latest book (The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man) with my followers here, free of charge, one chapter at a time. So… Where were we on this read-along… Oh, yes…
Chapter 18: Driving Around Town Breaking Windows
I always considered myself to be an overly rebellious kid. But a single event during that same semester of college made me realize that I actually wasn’t that rebellious at all.
I believe I was actually a defiant kid. I learned this when I found myself stuck in the back seat of a pickup truck, with a group of friends who decided we were going to spend our evening driving around town, vandalizing other people’s property.
Defiant kids just don’t like authority, and they don’t like being told things have to be a certain way. They argue. They go do the things that authority figures tell them they shouldn’t be doing because they know when the authority figures have it wrong.
A defiant kid disagrees with many things, but he also agrees with other things. He uses logic and reasoning to decide what he is going to do or not do.
An example of a defiant kid is one whose parents tell him he can’t stay out past curfew, but he does anyway because it’s prom, dammit, and every kid should be able to stay out later on prom night.
Rebellious kids, they just like to go against anything and everything that anyone tells them to do. They like to push their limits with social norms, drugs and alcohol, and even more weighty things like the law.
A rebellious kid disagrees with pretty much everything that anyone in an authority position tells him is right or that he must do or not do. He doesn’t use a whole lot of logic or reasoning to decide what his next actions are once authority has dictated. He just does the opposite, and often thrives on the attention that derives from it.
An example of a rebellious kid is one whose parents tell him he can’t stay out past curfew on prom night, but he does anyway, and he gets shit-faced drunk, has crazy sex, and tells his parents the next day that he doesn’t have to listen to such crazy prudes who are stuck in the mindset of previous generations. Then he posts pictures online of his debaucheries, just to get under his parents’ skin all the more.
I was definitely defiant. Not rebellious.
On my prom night, I sat in the car talking to my prom date, pressed against the opposite door, overly careful not to let anything happen that would make my parents right. I kept looking at the clock just to make sure I was staying out later than I was supposed to. I had a point to prove. Mom and Dad were insistent that staying out past curfew led to problems and sin. Drinking. Sex. Drugs. Those were the big ones. My defiant nature pushed me to prove that I could stay out late, and it certainly wouldn’t lead to anything like that. I know, I was a badass.
It also helped immensely that I was still scared to death of girls in high school.
And the night I learned the difference between rebellion and defiance was one of the scariest of my life.
Not too long after my glorious shortcoming (pun definitely intended), a few guys from B Hall invited me to go on a midnight run to McDonald’s.
The driver of the pickup truck was Justin. He was a big ass beefcake of a man, even compared to me. He came from some small town outside of Cedar City where the vast majority of every man’s vocabulary was made up of short one-word phrases such as “sunuvabitch,” “mutherfucker,” or “mmmmhmm.” He wore cowboy hats, and even at 18 he chewed tobacco. Justin’s very existence always made me uneasy but over the short time I was a student there we had struck up the starts of a potential friendship.
Riding shotgun that night was Indian Jimmy. He was in the same boat I was. A little shy. New to the dorms. Fibbed to everyone about his sexual exploits. And happy to be invited anywhere.
I volunteered to be in the back of the extended cab alongside Big Jimmy, who was well known for his DVD mail fraud scams, pimpled face, and as you may remember, his larger than life manhood.
We went through the McDonald’s drive-through and ordered our grease-filled bags of college-appropriate food, and we all dug in as Justin started back toward the dorms.
Suddenly, just as I stuffed a handful of over-salted fries into my mouth, he pulled the truck over. “Should we do one?” he said to Big Jimmy who was in the back seat cramming a Big Mac into the hole above his scrawny long neck.
Big Jimmy shoved his burger back into the bag and grinned. “Hell yes,” he said and he immediately reached deep into his front jeans pocket.
He pulled out a prescription bottle and started shaking it up and down, listening to the contents rattle.
“What the hell is that?” I demanded in a passively aggressive jovial tone. I’d never done drugs or popped pills before, and I wasn’t about to start. Even at a young age I overly valued my brain cells.
Big Jimmy laughed. “It’s porcelain.”
Justin grunted. “Mmmmhmmm.”
Indian Jimmy didn’t say anything.
“Porcelain?” I said. “What do you mean?”
Big Jimmy went on to explain that they had gone to some field outside of town where people like to dump their junk. They found an old abandoned toilet, and had smashed that sucker to bits with a sledgehammer. I just shook my head. I had no idea what he was getting at.
He popped the lid off the orange bottle and shook a few small jagged white pieces of toilet into his hand, then held one out to me.
I took it from him, becoming more confused by the moment. “Why do you want porcelain?” I asked as I studied it. It weighed almost nothing, and seemed rather lacking in any purpose I could think of.
“Because,” he continued as he suddenly whipped out a wrist rocket slingshot from seemingly nowhere. “When you shoot one at a car window, it shatters into a million pieces instantly.”
That was when I got scared. Shit like that surely got you thrown in jail. I didn’t say anything. I just swallowed and continued rolling the piece of porcelain back and forth between my thumb and index finger. I didn’t see how something so tiny and almost weightless could shatter a window, but I had learned long before not to doubt the foolish antics other teenagers discover and promulgate.
“Watch this,” he said. I shook my head again with a scowl growing on my face. Justin grunted something in the front seat and placed his hands on the steering wheel.
Big Jimmy rolled his window down, loaded his wrist rocket with a single tiny piece of porcelain, and pulled it back. “This is the coolest fucking thing you’ll ever see.”
The only words I really got out were mumbled and squeaky. “Guy’s, I think I want to get out.” Nobody heard me. If they did, they pretended they didn’t.