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Friday, February 23, 2007

Peer Pressure and Shopping Carriages


Back in the day, when I was a lad of, oh, 17 or so, my best friend, Jim and I had a peripheral friend named Gary. Gary played soccer with us in high school and occasionally we'd let him tag along on our weekend evening adventures. I think we allowed him because he was so much fun to tool on. Having said that, Gary was extremely school smart (not so much Jim and I) and graduated 3rd or so in our class of 475. I understand he went on to be a doctor even. Unfortunately, our friend wasn't necessarily blessed with the most common sense.

One night, while out cruising in Gary's dad's 1970-something, sky blue Ford Country Squire Station Wagon Jim and I decided to let Gary in on a little game we played. Gary, always looking to fit in and attempt to be cool took the bait like a starving fish.

I remember saying, "Hey Gary. You should have been with us last week when Jim and I took his dad's car out behind the Bradlees."

"Huh?"

"We had a blast man. We were putting shopping carriages in front of the car and cruising up to like 40 then slamming on the brakes as the carriages crashed over the curb and down that huge embankment near the egg farm."

Jim immediately knew what I was up to and went along. "Oh, man, Gary! It was a great! You would have loved it. Those things were flying all over the place".

Gary's curiosity immediately peeked. "Cops didn't bother you guys or anything?"

"Nah" we said in unison.

"Ummm....that sounds fun, you guys want to do it?"

Jim replied acting like we could take it or leave it, "I guess, You sure? Its not easy. You need to get the carriage perfectly square to the front of the car so that you don't scratch it or damage the grill or something". I could barely contain my laughter in the back seat.

To beat all, we weren't even drinking that night.

Next thing we know, Gary's driving a bee-line to the Bradlee's department store as Jim and I shot each other knowing looks and snickered. The whole time I wondered if it really could be done.

Apparently, it can't.

What poor Gary was unaware of was no such thing ever occurred.

We "taught" Gary about picking the right carriage. These were steel shopping carriages not the mostly plastic ones you see today. We showed him how check that all four wheels were good and that it tracked straight. I'm not sure there's such a thing in carriage-world. In any event, Gary beamed at our "expertise" about the project.

After a bit of finagalling we had the carriage artfully situated in front of the running vehicle. The three of us loaded up and we gave Gary one last instruction: "keep your speed so the carriage doesn't get ahead of you, then when you really get going, brake hard about 20 feet before the edge".

Well.....we.....never....really got that far. By the time we got to about 20 miles per hour, the carraige was shaking back and forth like a washing machine out of balance. "Just keep going Gary. Don't slow down!" we yelled over the Foreigner 4 tape that was blaring. Quite soon after, the cart disappeared altogether from the headlights and we felt the car raise just a bit as we witnessed a deafening grinding sound and the view of a spark light show coming out the sides of our vessel.

By now, Jim and I are howling and poor Gary looks like he just saw the space shuttle explode. He came to a screeching halt but there was to be no "ghost-ridden" shopping carriage. No apocalyptic soaring of stainless steel through the night and down the embankment. The cart was thoroughly wedged under the front bumper. What had once been a clean, right-angled rectangle was now a Rhombus, or a Trapezoid, or some geometric shape I'm sure I was studying at the time covered in asphalt.

Best of all, no amount of forward, backward, backward, forward, counter clockwise, or clockwise donuts would rid us of our pestilence. The carriage was now an after-market option on the Country Squire.

I'm not sure how long it took that night to get us free. At damn near midnight, we jacked up the car about four different times, put various logs and stones under the frame of the car and pried and pulled and tugged and kicked. Eventually, we somehow managed to free it. At no point did Jim and my laughter subside either or we might have freed it much sooner.

At least we didn't have to call his dad which was an option we mulled. Not Gary, but Jim and I. Suprisingly, there really wasn't any damage to the car. This was in the day of steel bumpers which were much better able to handle 17-year-old idiocy than today's vehicles.

The next day at soccer practice I heard Jim ask, "Hey Gary. Heard you had some problems shopping at Bradlee's last night. What happened?"

Man, its hard to run laps when your sides hurt so much.

2 kind commenters:

Brooklyn Frank said...

Side-pain can make most anything a trifle more difficult.

NouveauBlogger said...

ANY pain for that matter, lol....thanks for stopping by Frank