By Joe Rector
Not long ago, a group of teens traveled to the Smoky Mountains for a retreat. While they were lounging in the cabin, the boys in the group noticed an unusual item is one of the bathrooms. A bidet sat prominently in the room, and the boys were quickly fascinated with its operations. They pronounced the name of the things as “BO-DAY.” Before long, the chaperones locked the bathroom and refused to allow the boys to continue playing with the thing and making up stories about it. This story is just another example of the goofy stunts boys pull.
Many times, a group of boys decides the time is right for a camping trip. Most of the journeys take the gang to the backyard of one of its members. In the country, the trip might be much farther from the house. They set up tents, collect wood for a fire (hoping that they can actually get the stuff to burn), and spend some time laughing at jokes or telling ghost stories. These guys like nothing better than catching a participant asleep. Shaving cream is placed in the unconscious boy’s hand and tickles with a weed or feather are administered to his nose. With any luck, the sleeping boy will take his hand to rub his nose, thereby smearing his face with said shaving cream. If the trick works, the rest of the crew drops to the ground in stomach-aching laughter.
For some unknown reason, boys are hell-bent on daring each other to do ridiculous things. A foul odor emitted from rotten source always inspires young males to offer dares. One of them will eventually stick his nose to the fouls stuff and inhale deeply. At other times, the dare to eat something that is spoiled or disgusting is proffered. Again, one in the crowd steps forward and ingest the nasty item. Heroic stature is assigned if the boy can swallow the stuff and manage to not throw up.
Older boys make dares that are more perilous. They urge friends to see how fast the cars they drive will go. Sometimes they push drivers to “burn the tires.” Of course, that can lead to a loss of control so that a vehicle fishtails and runs off the road and into a ditch. Back in the day, boys gathered late into the night at the one red light in Karns. There, they took both sides of the road, and when the light changed from red to green, they punched the gas and raced to the community center building, a quarter of a mile down the road.
Drinking alcohol is another area where boys commit boneheaded acts. So many times, a male’s first drink comes amidst a dare just to taste the stuff. Next comes the chugging game, and before a guy knows it, he’s commode-hugging drunk. On occasion, a boy is suckered into a drinking game where he consumes too much alcohol. The resulting spinning room, dry heaves, and hangover come thanks to his daring band of friends.
Some boys are fascinated with stunts involving personal acts. How unbelievably dumb is it for a boy to have someone strike a match and hold it toward his behind as he passes gas? Ooh’s and aah’s and wows follow as a blowtorch flame appears. Never mind the possibilities that the flame might run the other way. Or what about the old knife game called “chicken.” One person throws a pocketknife into the ground as close to another’s foot as possible without stabbing it. The loser is the boy who hits his competitor’s shoe. Actually, the one with the knife sticking in his foot is the loser.
Boys just don’t have the brain development to make rational decisions. Perhaps the first flows of testosterone drown reason in younger males. At any rate, part of the rites of passage for males is committing a handful of dumb stunts. With luck, those boys survive the acts to become adults who have more ability to think reasonably. At least we can hope that is the case.