As a kid, I was lucky enough to be riding on the coattails of the days when kids were still forced by their parents to play outside, riding bikes and scraping their knees on the pavement like kids should, not sitting on their asses with cheesy fingers, playing Grand Theft Auto. (I still love me some GTA, though.) But when five hours of sidewalk chalk and street hockey started to get boring, we’d begin to sniff out other cheap thrills like crossing the streets we were told never to cross, playing in dangerous construction zones, or our very favorite: Knock, Knock, Zoom, Zoom.
Little jerks. I love it.
Maybe my love of running has its roots in banging obnoxiously on my neighbors’ screen doors at eight years old, then diving behind cars or trash cans before they managed to see me. The look on that lady’s face when she answers and sees NO ONE on her stoop?! The excitement of it all just tore us to pieces. We were rebels, magicians, the stealthiest of ninjas. We’d do this until the sun went down, or until we were caught and someone told our moms. Then it was inside, where my best friend and I would send Morse Code messages to each other via knocks on the wall between our row-home bedrooms. There was always tomorrow.
A few houses down lived my best friend’s grandmother. She was a bitter old biddy, and I don’t recall ever seeing her anywhere but in the space she allowed for herself to pop her head out of the screen door on her front step, yelling at the neighborhood children for who knows what. Every word always sounded like it’d be her last. I won’t mention her real name here, but a nickname I favored instead:
That’s right, everyone. I lived on the same small street as the Crypt Keeper‘s twin sister. And while equally terrifying in appearance, she wasn’t nearly as funny as he was. Nor did she tell any good scary stories. Once, when our cat got into her yard, she shouted angrily down the alleyway:
“If your cat gets into my yard again, I’ll kill it!”
Another time she popped her bony bobble head out of that door and yelled:
So while every other house was gifted with simple knocks from the sticky fists of annoying children, Crypt Keeper’s twin sister got the special treatment – rocks thrown at her home. Ten points if you make a dent! (When her own grandchildren are helping you throw mini boulders at her house, what does that say about her exactly?)
I’m not necessarily proud of the fact that I was a snot-nosed little brat, but I still stand by two things:
1.) Knock, Knock, Zoom, Zoom was fun.
2.) Crypt Keeper’s sis deserved those rocks on her doorstep.
What obnoxious things did you do as a child? Were there any mean neighbors you chose to terrorize in a special way?