Posts Tagged ‘mels’
When you’re an adult in a kid’s body you see things differently. So when our gang of little rascals got caught doorbell ditching, I knew I wasn’t on a highway to hell – maybe a highway to hijinks, but certainly not the road to ruin. And not to sound too streetwise, but while some say that being brought home in a police squad car at the age of 11 may have been a precursor to a life of crime, to me it was the smallest of small potatoes. Bogart in Casablanca had it right in another context when he pointed out that these problems, “don’t amount to a hill of beans.” Potatoes, beans…it’s all food for thought.
And as I air this cleanest of dirty laundry, I knew back in 1972 I was far, far removed from ever being churned, put through the wringer and then hung out to dry by the criminal justice system. And not to sound cleanlier than thou, I knew I’d not be taken to the cleaners by the authorities. Nope, I’d just be a little agitated. But by virtue of this “wrong of passage” (as opposed to a “rite of passage”), I’d get to be the coolest “bad boy” in Mr. Campbell’s 6th Grade class for a couple of weeks. Since I was 11 at the time of the “incident” allow me to kidsplain the story to you.
I understood limits – how far to push against something before it snapped back at you. Even as an 11-year-old stripling I was mightily aware of boundary lines and the importance of staying within them. Life was like a giant coloring book that way and I was savvy enough to stay inside the lines so my life wouldn’t become messy. In advertising my “brush with the law” to my schoolmates I was hoping for a measure of street cred to give the 11-year-old Hardiman brand a whiff of danger and a quantum of Bondian cachet (so much for kidsplainin’).
Yes, at the tender age of 11 in 1972 I was trying to create a buzz in the pre-social media influencer age. Maybe I could have it all at 11. I could be clever, tall, handsome and dangerous. That was the calculus anyway, even if this ego-driven fantasy was built on a sandcastle of collapsing truths. I wanted to be a bad ass, but in the easy, non-confrontational way – to be regarded as a bad ass, not by fighting or stealing, but by reputation so I wouldn’t have to do the heavy lifting required to be an actual bad ass. Read the rest of this entry »