Dumb things high school boys do


Recently, according to news reports, a male student at a local high school draped himself in a Confederate battle flag and donned a hood that bore a great resemblance to a Ku Klux Klan hood.

He allegedly did this deed at his high school, had his picture taken, and, in a flash of brilliance, posted the photo on social media. This action mobilized the local law enforcement and the school authorities. Discipline and consequences are pending.

Modern high school males are not the only group to do patently stupid things. When I was in middle school, a group of us guys regularly engaged in BB gun fights. This had the potential to “put out an eye,” as my mom said, but we continued the battles. Only when a BB struck me in the face, a mere half inch from my eye, did I lay down my weapon.

Back in the late 1960s, a bunch of the high school boys in my alma mater took to “streaking across the Hammond Bridge.” Simply put, this meant totally disrobing and running across the Hammond Bridge over the Holston River completely naked.

I should mention that the bridge was not a country, isolated bridge but sat on a main artery into and out of the town.

If that happened today, the guys would be arrested, charged with indecent exposure, lewd and lascivious behavior, and earn a “sexual offender” label for the remainder of the long lives.

The same would happen to those students who, in my day, “mooned” adults, usually female and elderly, as the kids drove by these poor adults who were simply out walking on the city’s sidewalks.

And, of course, there were cherry bombs and M-80s placed in mailboxes that blew the things to smithereens. That would be a federal offense, I think, should the feds choose to push it.

Speaking of fireworks, some of us used to play “army” in the nearby woods with those same BB guns that could inflict blindness and use the cherry bombs and M-80s as hand grenades. Not brilliant.

And, while I choose not to streak across the Hammond Bridge or “moon” elderly ladies (the consequences of being caught would have resulted in my father reducing me to a bloody pulp (it wasn’t the wrath of the law I feared most), I did succumb to a dare.

One hot summer afternoon, a group of us guys and girls were swimming in the lake at Warrior’s Path State Park. Now, the park had a pool but, for some reason, we opted for the lake. Not wishing for the lake water to ruin my bathing suit or my white underwear (it was always white back then), I was swimming sans underwear in a pair of cut-off blue jeans. During a time of boredom, someone mentioned jumping off the bridge into the lake. Being 17 and indestructible, I volunteered. How hard could it be?

The bridge, as I remember it, was about 40 feet above the water. So, having positioned myself on the bridge, I leaped. About 20 feet down, I realized that the potential to make a great splash was a wonderful opportunity. So, I maneuvered myself into a “can opener” position. And then I hit the water.

My first thought was that an angry mule had kicked me in the backside. The second thought was that I was going really, really far down into the lake. In fact, I hit cold water down in the depths which scared me some. I made my way painfully back to the surface and swam to the shore where I lay on my stomach exhausted from the effort.

It was then that I heard the gales of laughter from the guys and, much worse, from the girls. It seems the impact with the water had splint my jeans along the seam, so there I was, bare cheeks glistening in the afternoon sun.

So, the point of all this is that high school boys sometimes do things that thinking adults would never consider. Was it smart to drape oneself in a Rebel flag and a KKK hood at school? No. Neither was it smart to put the picture on social media.

So, this young man is about to learn a life-long but hard lesson. The bad news is that a good number of high school boys do dumb things. The good news is that most of us survive it and go on to lead productive lives. Hopefully, so will this young man.

[David Epps is the pastor of Christ the King Church, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.]