Peer pressure can be a bitch. When you're a kid, it's the entire world to you. You went along with the masses, despite your better judgment. Who needs morals when you have friends? Being an "adult," I don't succumb to peer pressure anymore, which is more than I can say for most people. But I have a good reason for it. I hate being a follower, and I hate going against what feels right to appease people who clearly don't care enough about you in the first place or they would not have expected you to appease them. I also take the time to consider the possible outcomes of "going along" with others...particularly who it can hurt and how it can hurt them. I learned this the hard way.
Back in the 90s, I had a friend who lived down the street from me. Jeremy. You may remember me talking about the kid with yellowed teeth and curly hair in a previous entry (The Flood). If so, you may remember how I said we were both the best of friends and the worst of enemies, depending on when in the time line you were to inquire. In about 1994 or 1995, we were anything but friends.
You see, I was often mocked for being friends with Jeremy. He was weird, arrogant, and unattractive...and he smelled of B.O. in his younger years. The perfect formula for children to decide to hate another child. Sadly, I caved to that pressure. Everyone else said I shouldn't be friends with him, and so I stopped being friends with him. But it didn't stop there. I felt a need to PROVE I disliked Jeremy now, and actions spoke louder than words.
One day in the summer (again, 1994 or 95), me and two of my neighbours, Jason and Nick, decided it would be fun to do something to Jeremy. Something awful and epic at the same time. Groupthink is never really advantageous, and so we ended up with a plan that was so full of complications that it should have been scrapped. I suppose we were either too eager or too stupid to let it go. The plan in place, we invited Jeremy to join us to mess around in a home currently under construction.
Houses under construction were nothing short of amazing when I was a kid. Wrought with danger, they made for fantastic playgrounds and forts. In hindsight, some of the activities we would do, such as putting 2x4s over fifteen foot drops and then crossing over on the boards, was insane. But it was also fun.
Anyway, Jason, Nick, and I picked up Jeremy on the way to a house that was currently under construction down the street. We were all playing nice. Jeremy was likely very suspicious since he already knew that I no longer liked him. So why did he still come? Maybe he was hopeful he was wrong, or maybe he was desperate for friends. I will likely never know. Upon arrival at the home, we worked our way down into the "basement" of the home. There was a makeshift stairway of boards that the workers used to get up and down, which was suitable if not safe. Once in the muddy basement, we put our genius plan into action.
"Hey Jeremy," said Jason, "Want some gum?"
Jeremy said he did, of course. Who the hell says no to gum? Oh yes, the plan was coming to fruition!
"This is a new kind of gum," I explained, "It starts off as liquid and becomes a solid once you start chewing."
Jeremy, clearly concerned that we may have been trying to fool him, said he'd never heard of that kind of gum. Nick told him it was brand new, and then Nick asked if Jeremy wanted to try some or not. Jeremy seemed reluctant but said "sure."
"Okay, close your eyes and we'll give you some," I said as Jason, Nick, and I subtly unzipped our pants. Jeremy refused, and laughed at us for being so foolish as to think he would fall for such an obvious prank. The plan had fallen apart before our very eyes!!!
You'd think that might stop us, but we salvaged what we could. Whipping out our boy parts, Nick, Jason, and I fired! Piss burst free like we were three Ghostbusters (trying not to cross the streams). Jeremy tried to escape, but it was too difficult to climb up the boards from the basement. We soaked Jeremy from neck to ankle with urine. We laughed hysterically as we drenched the kid because Jeremy was struggling so hard to get away. Bladders emptied and we continued to laugh as Jeremy pulled himself up and out of the basement. Nick, Jason, and I made a new ramp up on the other side of the basement, as the makeshift stairway was now all wet and gross. While the plan had not been executed as planned, we were satisfied with the result.
A few days later, Nick and I were riding our bikes along the road. As we passed Jeremy's home, Jeremy's father came out the front door. He was a teeny little try-hard biker who did his best to look hardcore, but it was laughable. However, he was REALLY angry. He screamed at us to come over to him, his eyes bulging from his face and his hand outreached with a finger curling in a come-hither motion. Clearly, Nick and I got the fuck out of there. And now we were mad. Jeremy TOLD on us! What? That breaks the kid-code! You don't tattle. You never tattle.
The things that happened next made what we did in that house seem like a friendly handshake. We had no choice. Jeremy tattled. It was war.
To be (sort of) continued in King of the Hill.