What Is the Most Mischief You Got into as a Kid?

mclovinIf I wanted to be topical, tonight’s entry would be about the Academy Awards. But I don’t care about the Academy Awards.* So I’m writing about something that is more interesting to me: you.

The other day at work, a coworker asked some of our students (I work on a college campus) about the greatest mischief they had gotten into as a kid. To his surprise, none of the students had really done anything. No senior prank, no houses covered in toilet paper, no stolen sips of their parent’s brandy in the basement. My coworker, who is rather mild-mannered himself, declared this “lame.”

Lame it is. But I think that might make me lame, because I didn’t do anything like this growing up (maybe my mom can remind me of something). Sure, I was far from the perfect kid, but I can’t think of a single hairbrained scheme…

Oh. There it is. Got it.

This blog is so cathartic.

This barely counts, but I almost got in big trouble for it. It was spring of my senior year, and I was trying to find the perfect beach house for Beach Week. Do you have beach week where you come from? It happens a week or two after high school graduation–you rent a beach house with a bunch of your friends and hang out for a week before going your separate ways.

Typically this week involves a lot of drinking, and many beach rental companies are hesitant to rent to minors. For those that do, they require an adult to sign off on the application. That way, if the kids throw a keg through the window and scamper off at the end of the week, there is an adult with a real line of credit to pay for the damages.

The thing is, none of my friends drank alcohol. We were the type of kids who followed all the rules, so I knew that we were going to leave the house in better condition than when we arrived. We even had an adult chaperone, but the chaperone didn’t want to be the one to sign off on the application.

So innocent young Jamey figured that it wouldn’t be a problem at all if I put my dad’s name and phone number down on the application. If we weren’t going to damage the property, why did it matter? I did, however, volunteer to take care of the applications for one other nearby house with a more party-focused group of seniors–although my house wasn’t occupied by party-goers, we wanted to be near our fellow seniors.

This was 14 years ago, so the details are a bit foggy, but I remember getting called into the office at school about a week after I submitted the application. It was the rental agency on the phone, and they were livid. They had called my dad’s office to verify the application. Of course, my dad didn’t know I had put his name on the application.

To make matters worse, my dad’s name is Jay (James), and because of the similarity of our names, the rental company thought that I was posing as my father on the application (which, apparently, is a felony). They threatened to press charges, but my dad talked them down. My dad can talk anyone down.

Somehow word got around that afternoon that I had almost gotten charged with a felony. I have to say, when you’re doing something for other people and you almost get charged for a felony instead of them, you get a lot of street cred. Especially at a magnet school.

It was like the scene in Superbad when the cops drag McLovin out of the party house. I was McLovin for one day.

What about you? What was the most mischief you ever got into when you were growing up?

*Just in case you’re curious why I, a movie lover, doesn’t care about the Oscars: In an age where I can get movie reviews the day the movie comes out–if not sooner–I don’t need an “academy” of voters to tell me which movies are going to be the most fun, entertaining, or thought-provoking to watch. So it just ends up looking like a lot of people getting together to pat each other on the back. I have a ton of respect for everyone in the film industry who strive to make amazing movies, and I will continue to watch those movies on opening weekend. That’s all.

10 thoughts on “What Is the Most Mischief You Got into as a Kid?”

  1. My shenanigans also involved the authorities.

    This is a true story. Names have not been changed because none of us are innocent.

    JD (who at that time was functioning as an “intern” for the JR High part of the youth group), Carlee, Rory and I were hanging out one night, having a grand ol’ time. We were all fine, upstanding members of our church and youth group and had a very good relationship with the youth pastor. One Friday night, the day before Chris (the youth pastor) took a bunch of us to the lake for the day, we decided it would be funny to put peanut butter butt prints on the church van windows*. We stopped at a grocery store to stock up on peanut butter and then headed to the church.

    When we arrived, we quickly realized that Chris and another intern were still in the Youth House (a separate building right next to the church). JD got us into the actual church building using his intern keys. We crept through the [supposedly] empty church and peered out through one of the nursery room windows. We though that Chris and Other Intern had left by this point, so we exited the church building through the door facing the Youth House.

    All of a sudden, Chris and Other Intern walked out of the darkened Youth House, heads bent and looking at something, and we freaked. We turned and bolted back into the church building, ducked into a first floor nursery bathroom (very small for 4 people, y’all) and tried to control our laughter and our bladders. We waited in there for a bit and, when we didn’t hear anything, we ventured out, thinking Chris and Other Intern hadn’t seen us. We figured we could get a better view of the Youth House from the second floor, so we headed up there. When we got up there, however, we could see flickering red and blue lights…..and we knew the cops were there.

    We heard them coming up the stairs and, as the room we were in was the only one with lights on, head straight for us. Then we hear the scariest words I’ve ever heard.

    “COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!” (Apparently, cops really DO say that.)

    JD went out first, hands raised so high they were practically touching the ceiling.

    “We are SO SORRY, Officer….I work here….I’m not a criminal….I’M NOT ARMED!” His voice shook with actual fear.

    The rest of us filed out after him, hands also raised. All I could see was a darkened hallway and 4 cops with guns pulled and aimed straight at us. JD kept talking about how he was an intern, but I was too busy trying not to pee myself to say anything.

    Eventually, the cops holstered their weapons and escorted us out of the building. Apparently, Chris and Other Intern HAD seen us bolting back into the church building but didn’t recognize us. All they knew was that someone was in there when no one was supposed to be. Also, in an unrelated incident, a youth pastor had been shot recently while alone in a church at nigh, so Chris was on alert. Several youth houses had been burglarized too, with sound equipment and TVs stolen. Hence, his trigger finger on the phone.

    Once he realized who we were, he told the cops we were ok and everything was fine. They called back the other cops who had been surrounding the building and all 6 cop cars left.

    Needless to say, we didn’t leave peanut butter butt prints on the church van windows. We didn’t get into trouble, which is amazing considering the ruckus we caused….but we never tried to prank like that again.

    *The whole idea behind the peanut butter butt prints came from a youth mission trip to Miami the previous year when a friend of ours convinced all the boys to make toothpaste butt prints on the girls’ room windows……weird, but hey, we were teenagers!

    • Ansley–That is an amazing story. I can completely understand why Chris would be call the police. It’s impressive that the cops sent so many units to take you down.

  2. I once walked over a bridge. Not across. Ovvvver. On the beams. It was dangerous and fun, so of course someone saw us and told my mom.

    I was soooo grounded.

  3. 14 year old Erin had a strong desire to play French horn in the orchestra instead of clarinet. What does 14 year old Erin do? Ask parents for a French horn? Of course not. Use older sister’s Ebay account to purchase a $2000 French horn? At the time, it made sense. When the credit card company called five minutes later, not so much.

    Technically paid off in the end–I stare at the 9X11″ Bachelor’s Degree in Horn hanging up on the wall every day. It’s a pleasant reminder of what a little bit of adolescent fearlessness and recklessness can achieve. Perhaps if I get bored playing doctor one day I’ll put it to use again.

  4. I’m not sure if I remember this incident resulting in a whole lot of “street cred,” although I’m not sure how “street cred” is quantified at a magnet school…or really in general. I think my level of concern with getting shanked by Jamey Stegmaier at any moment was at same height before and after (very high).

    The most trouble I ever got into was in the second grade when I was called into the principal’s office for selling tickets to our PE soccer games. She made me give back the $1.50 I had made and completely undid all of the promotion I had done trying to hype the games as “good kids vs bad kids – a soccer match for the ages.” I guess even back then The Man hated on the small business owner.

    • Josh–I wasn’t one of the cool, popular kids in high school…can’t you just give me one day of street cred? 🙂

      That ticket-selling scheme is brilliant! If being a marketing genius doesn’t work out, maybe you can go back to selling tickets to PE soccer games.

  5. When I was a junior in high school, we went on an overnight retreat at a big retreat center. I was rooming with a few of my friends, but some of our other friends were down the hall. Late that first night, we dragged their mattresses down to our room so we could all bunk together – and we had a great time staying up all night talking and giggling and squishing the large mattresses in amongst the furniture – but when we tried to return the mattresses early the next morning, our campus minister caught us. We didn’t get into trouble, but we were warned that we probably shouldn’t do that again!


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