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Stupid Stunts I pulled as a Kid

When I was about 16 years old, my buddy and I found a mannequin that had been thrown away. It had a broken hand or something which made it unusable. It was made of really tough plastic, had metal joints and weighed about 15 or 20 kilos. One Saturday night we got to being bored and thought it would be laugh to 'hang' it from the freeway overpass. We chose a footbridge overpass as there would be less chance of being caught by passing cars. We gathered together some old rope which we tied around its upper body, just under the arms. After all, when we dumped it over the side, we didn't want its head pulling off. The drop down to car height was about 50 feet, so we tied about 40 feet of rope to the mannequin. We didn't want it to hit the cars, just swing over their heads. We also thought it would be kind of cool to have the mannequin 'swing' into view of the cars, instead of dropping straight down, so we tied one end of the rope to the bridge, measured out the 40 foot distance and walked the mannequin down from the middle to the end of the bridge. From here, we were going to drop the mannequin over the side and it would swing back into the middle. What we didn't plan for was a cop car to be the first car through, so as we ducked (so the car wouldn't see us), I stabbed myself on the top of the chain link fence, causing blood to gush and the mannequin to fall. Oh, no, we weren't supposed to be doing this to a cop! Fortunately the cop didn't see the mannequin fall, and we also failed to notice a dirty great big truck coming the other way. Now we had allowed for enough rope to allow the mannequin to dangle over the top of the cars, but we definitely did not consider that a truck would be much higher than a car, and as the mannequin swung into the road and over the cop car, on the back-swing the mannequin hit the truck right between the truck and trailer and exploded in a storm of plastic and metal. The truck driver slammed on his brakes just as the mannequin hit (he must have seen it coming) and he came to a smoky, tyre screaming halt. The rope broke away from the bridge and as the rest of the rope followed the mannequin down the freeway, my mate and I very hurriedly made our way back down the bridge and into the night. We didn't get caught, but we did go back a week or so later and there was not sign that anything untoward had happened at all.

This particular stunt occurred at Anglesea (which is on the surf coast of Victoria) when I was about 10 (I think). There was a road. Not just any road. A road that had an incline so steep, it gave you vertigo just walking down it. Being on holidays there and being bored, my brother (13) and I got the bright idea to get a few skateboards, lie on our stomachs and ride down the road face first. Now at 38 I think of what I would do to my kids should they try this, and I shudder to think. At the time though, it was tons of fun, but how neither of us managed to get squashed by an oncoming car is beyond me. I still bear the scars on my hands from the many times I fell off.

When I was around 14, my friends and I were at the local shopping centre (shopping mall) which at the very centre had a huge water fountain. Being summer, being young and being bored (gee I get bored a lot don't I) we came up with the idea to dump some shampoo in the fountain to make some bubbles (yeah, we were full of original thoughts too). We went to Coles bought half a dozen bottles of the cheapest shampoo we could and when not too many people were watching (especially security people) we dumped it into the fountain. We came back 30 minutes later and nothing. I suppose the shampoo was too cheap to foam much at all, so being still bored and even more adventurous given we got away with it the first time, we thought ... BUBBLEBATH. So off to Coles again for half a dozen bottle of bubble bath. Oh, yeah. We dumped it in and ran and by the time we had made it to the end of the concourse, we could see the snow scene forming. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen. Kids were playing in it, suds were flying all over the place and it smelled like bubblegum. We walked back up to the fountain and tried so hard not to look guilty. There was a maintenance guy swimming around looking for the drain. That was the best day. I nearly pissed my pants laughing.

This one is quick and stupid. My next door neighbor and I decided it would be cool to make flame throwers, so we each collared an aerosol can of something (I think mine was fly spray) and while we were spraying, we applied the flame from a lighter. At the beginning all we did was blow the flame out, but after we'd practiced a little, we were getting real good, until we suddenly (and without warning) we got real good and nearly burnt down his fathers chicken coop. I'm surprised I'm still alive after that one.

All of the neighborhood kids were in on this one, but only once. We had one of those plastic army guys with parachute pack. You know, you would thrown him up in the air and as he fell the parachute would fill with air and he would slowly float to the ground. Well we all thought it would be more fun if as he's floating down he was also being bombarded with 'enemy fire'. Not being know for our intelligence (read we were stupid kids) we gathered around in a circle surrounding the figure's downward path. You can see this coming, can't you, well at the time we couldn't. When the first few kids threw their rocks at the guy, they continued past and over the heads of the kids on the other side of the circle. Me, I waited for a better angle (i.e. lower angle) so when I threw my fist-sized rock as hard as I could, it smacked right into my brother's face six or seven feet away on the opposite side of the circle. Six or seven stitches on the cheekbone later and we stopped playing that game.

And the last stunt for this episode. When my father first came to Australia he worked on a dairy farm and after I was born, for years we would go holidaying back to the farm. Well, being in the country there was not really a lot to do so one night my the farmers boys, my brother and I thought it would be cool to take some of the farmers spray paint (non toxic and washes off after a few months) and paint slogans on the neighbors cows. Come the next morning, there was a field of cows with witticisms like 'Mmm Yummy!', 'Come and get it' and 'All you can eat' spray painted on their sides.
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