I’ve done my fair share of stupid things over my life.
When I was 5, my father told me to stop jumping around the bathtub, but I ignored him. I slipped and hit my head on a ceramic soap dish, which busted into a dozen pieces. I should have been hurt, but my hard, dense noggin didn’t even sustain a bruise.
Over the years, I clogged a toilet with an apple core, shattered a picture window with a baseball and hit a golf ball through a neighbor’s window (I fled, was later apprehended, and had to mow a lot of lawns to pay my father back for the cost of a new window).
In my teen years, with my testosterone raging, I did many more stupid things — mostly with my father’s cars. I delighted in smoking the wheels off our 1979 Ford Pinto — it was one of the few equipped with a powerful six-cylinder motor — as I mimicked Jim Rockford maneuvers. And I nearly had a head-on collision with our parish priest while cutting through the church parking lot to avoid a red light.
As I sped onto Baptist Road, I was horrified to see, in my rear-view mirror, that Father Kram had turned around and was in hot pursuit. He caught up with me a few miles later, recorded my license plate number, tracked down my name at the police department, then let me have it on the way into Mass the following Sunday.
To be sure, much of my stupidity revolved around cars — such as the time, in my late 20s, when I was duped by what I later learned was a convicted con man. I was broke and had to sell an MGB convertible I had recently restored. The fellow looked it over and told me he would buy it if it checked out with his mechanic.
He looked 40-ish and had arrived in a brand-new Infiniti. His clothes were impeccable. He was masterful at telling me exactly what I wanted to hear. I handed him the keys without hesitation.
The next day, when I arrived home from work, however, my garage door was open, my British sports car gone. As it turns out, the fellow didn’t drive my car to his mechanic. He drove it to a hardware store, where he had a key made.
If only that had been the peak of my stupidity — but I was just getting warmed up.
Shortly after buying my first house in my early 30s, I built a planter in front of the house. I tore out some old shrubs and came across a nest of very aggressive ground bees.
The fellow at the hardware store told me to pour a half-cup of gasoline into the hole. I figured if a half-cup was good, two full cups would be better. And what good is gasoline if you don’t ignite it?
I lit a match, but before I could throw it into the nest, I heard “Wooooooooooof!”
You see, “Wooooooooooof!” is the sound gasoline makes when it ignites. It ignites because gasoline gives off fumes and gasoline fumes ARE FLAMMABLE! I barely managed to douse the incredible flame before it caught my house on fire.
To be sure, I have done my fair share of stupid things over the years: poor financial decisions, bad career moves, pursuing women who were bad for me.
So why would I publicly share some of the many stupid things I have done?
Because as stupid as I have been, I never once fell for the many promises, deceptions and outright lies of ObamaCare before it was foisted on the nation.
I have been stupid, but not THAT stupid.
©2014 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and “Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!” is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column in your publication or website, contact Sales@cagle.com or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.