The other day I happened upon a group of junior-high-aged boys blissfully stomping on a large wooden crate that someone had left in the street. Their exuberant destruction was enough to get me to stop and watch for a moment. They were really into it. Then I spotted an impossibly hot girl approaching; the kind of skinny and curvy in all the right places girl that only seems to exist in LA and dreams. Oh man, I thought, these dirty punk kids are going to explode when they see this girl. But when the girl passed them, they merely gave her a passing glance and then immediately returned to kicking the shit out of the wooden crate. At first I thought, Jesus, these kids' priorities are out of whack. But then as I stood there a slow tide of envious nostalgia washed over me. It's a cliché stereotype, but the simple truth is that boys love breaking things. At least my friends and I sure did. I’m not talking about vandalism. That’s a more dubious kind of thrill. I’m talking about simply destroying something that had no reason not to be destroyed. It sounds kinda psychopathic to say out loud, but there was a serenity in our wanton destruction.
Finding a dead tree in the woods was always a treat; pretending you had super strength, pushing it over and snapping its branches. I’d often break my GI Joe’s to give the tragedy of my faux battlefields some dramatic permanence. There was one day a year in my hometown when people could leave whatever they wanted on the curb for the trashmen, so my friends and I would go around and collect all the discarded televisions… then smash them with hammers and bats in a parking lot. Hot damn, that was the real xmas. To this day one of my happiest childhood memories was when my friends and I broke into an elementary school (that was closed and scheduled for demolition, mind you), and went on the most glorious smashing spree imaginable. Ah, the memories. Memories of smashing. Now I couldn’t help but think that maybe these greasy punks actually had better priorities than me. Had I let women, work and responsibilities come between me and smashing? So I waited until the punk kids left, and then I stomped upon the remaining piece of that wooden crate. It was beautiful.
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