When I was a youth (I love when people refer to themselves as “youth”) I caused a lot of trouble. Not like making messes or bullying other kids. Instead I would think of a scenario and say to myself, “What if I actually did that?” and then I would do it. And
almost every time I upset someone.
I remember going into my next door neighbor’s yard to play after school one day. My brother came with me. I recall telling him to tell our neighbor, a girl his age, that giants were going to come and take her parents away. We both took her into her garage and concocted a story that would scare any 6 year old girl. She cried. We immediately said how sorry we were and how we were only joking. I didn’t realize that it would be so scary for her. Even though if someone did that to me, I would’ve freaked out.
In fourth grade, I knew my family was planning on moving. I didn’t really know how to tell my best friend, Kelly, that I was leaving. So I simply said, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.” Looking back, I probably could’ve worded it better. Instead, she cried and I just avoided her until I moved. I really wanted to find her on Facebook and apologize for my 10 year old behavior. I haven’t been able to find her. What if she died of depression because her best friend in elementary school stopped talking to her?
Being young and stupid, I learned that cheating was the quickest and easiest way to get anything done. I remember asking a kid in my class what his answers were and he said “You’ll never learn anything if you cheat.” Actually, I learned a lot of things, like how to avoid doing homework. Well, one day, on our state capitals test, I forgot the capital of Vermont. I knew I couldn’t let that kid prove that I didn’t learn anything. So I thought fast. No, I didn’t think of the capital. But I did ask the teacher if I could go to the bathroom and then proceeded to ask a couple of girls in the bathroom what the capital of Vermont was. “Isn’t it Montpelier?” they said. “Ohhh yeah. Yes, it is!” I said, beaming. I went back to class, scribbled down Montpelier, and finished my test. All that work to prove that kid wrong, and he didn’t even notice my good grade.
From ages 12-17 I went to Girl’s Camp through my church during the summer. It was only a week long, but my friends and I would always end up getting into some sort of trouble. When I was 16, my friend and I decided it would be a good idea to play pranks on some of the camp leaders. We would sneak into their lodges (Why did they get lodges but we had to sleep outside?) and steal their stuff and hold it for ransom. We especially gave this one woman, Amanda, a hard time. Mostly because she was young and cute and had a way about her that seemed to say, “I know I’m young and cute.” She was a good sport about all the tricks we played on her. However, we knew there would be payback in store, so we bought a lock to keep our tent safe while we were away doing campy things. One day we came back and our lock had been cut right in half. We opened our tent to find it filled with popcorn. I have to admit that it was clever. It probably took a lot of time and money to concoct such a plan. The thing is, the tent was my friend’s dad’s tent. His one rule was: ABSOLUTELY NO FOOD IN THE TENT. My friend and I panicked. But then we realized we could put all of the blame on someone else.
When we got home, my friend’s dad called Amanda and scolded her for ruining his tent. I mean, it was pretty buttery after that prank. The tent would no doubt attract every bear in the vicinity. Amanda got put in her place. Apparently she cried. That’s what she gets for stooping down to our level.
I think I’ve mostly grown out of my mean streak. It was bad when I was younger, and started to disappear as the years went on. Every now and then I’ll reminisce of the days when I liked causing trouble. I was much cooler back then.