To me, the free outlaw concept is defined strictly by actions and not a patch on the back nor membership to a club. Having said that, I respect the one-percenters and organizations like the Italian mafia. To be free, one must follow their own path rather than the route of the herd of sheep.
Choosing your own path
My Earliest recollections
Being one of the younger kids in the neighborhood, I was always trying to tag along with older kids, much to my parents’ dismay.
Within seconds the fire spread among the dry tender and we all panicked as it began climbing the trees. The older kids kept screaming at me for what I had done and said I was going to be in a lot of trouble. Within minutes, the fire trucks arrived and I ran home to my grandmother, who was babysitting my brother and me.
When people came to the house to question me, I managed to convinced everyone the older kids were lying and trying to place the blame on me. Since I was about kindergarten age nobody believed I was to blame for the fire, and the only damage was the scorched remains of pine needles and burned trees. My grandmother was a pretty smart lady but also a strong ally and always defended her grandchildren, despite the mischief my brother and I got up to.
A booby trap
Thankfully she was not angry, , but instructed us to fill the hole in before our dad got home from work to avoid getting spanked. Nobody ever learned what we had done, as my grandma never ratted us out.
Our mischief in the neighborhood continued to the point where other kids were not allowed to play with us, even if we were at the park. At an early grade school age, my brother had somehow mastered profanities to the point he would make Richard Pryor or Redd Foxx cringe and blush.
We were also good at luring others into be part of our miss deeds. I remember hog tying a neighbor’s boy by his hands and feet, then hanging him upside down in a tree. Unfortunately, we were called home for dinner and forgot the kid in the tree where he was later found by his hysterical older sister. That resulted in us never being allowed to play with that kid again, and the next time I saw him, he was an adult with a wife and kids.
My parents divorced, and we ended up living with our dad when I was about 13, and my brother was 9. He worked full time, and in those early years, my dad’s mother lived with us to help keep an eye on us and do some cooking. Our outdoor adventures and shenanigans seem to continue, and I could probably fill an entire book with stories, but I will only share a few of my life here. Maybe with good feedback or encouragement, I will write a book about what it was like growing up in Midwest USA during the 70s and 80s.
Some of our childhood highlights
- Shooting our longbow at a paper plate on the side of the garage, leaving about 200 holes in it by the time our dad got home.
- Shooting flaming arrows across the river into the woods, from a neighbor’s boat dock.
- Partying at night with teenage friends at a local campground. As we left the campsite, we noticed friends following us, so we thought best to hide in the woods. I ran as fast as I could into the darkened woods, and ran right off the cliff like Wiley E. Coyote into a dry riverbed, landing among the boulders, while my brother managed to catch hold of a branch and slid down the bank. I laid there for 10 minutes, unable to breathe as my brother tried to find me in the blackness. When we returned to the scene the next day, I was shocked at the number of rocks there and realized I had been very lucky to have not broken a bone or smashed my skull on a large boulder.
- Another time we convinced a teen neighbor to acquire a 1932 unopened bottle Phillips & Tilford Tennessee bourbon whiskey. I convinced this kid to chug as much of the bottle as he could for a mere 25 cents. He drank so much, , he ended up in the emergency room having his stomach pumped out with a .42 blood alcohol level.
- We once waited outside the house of a guy that had fooled around with my brother’s girlfriend, and ambushed him with brass knuckles, and metal nunchucks.
Years later, I transferred from the Navy Seabees to the Army, continuing my occupation as a heavy equipment operator. This led me to be stationed for a full year in Korea, where I truly lived a free outlaw lifestyle. I quickly learned that military items could be resold on the street at a profit, so the four bottles Jim Beam they rationed me each month for $20 were cashed in for $100 to $150. Likewise, the Marlboro cigarettes turned a similar profit and soon the same thing with groceries. The profits amounted to thousands of dollars, and I quickly became a popular guy in the local clubs where they knew me by the first name and treated me like a celebrity. There were endless parties and an unlimited supply of girls, much like a scene in the TV shows or movies. I lived with a stripper for several months and could fill book with stories from that year of raucous living.
It was very tough returning to the barracks at 4:00 AM only to wake at 5:00 AM to begin calisthenics in a 5 to 10-mile group run. Fortunately for me, I could turn on and off things, so when I left Korea, the drinking stopped, preventing any future health issues. My last notable military adventure occurred during a three-week visit to Puerto Rico for training. Two friends and I intervened when a black soldier punched a white female soldier in the face and knocked her off her feet. We pulled him off the lady and thePuerto Rican police hauled him to jail. When I got back to the barracks, his friends told us they were going to kick our asses when we fell asleep. Like my earlier story, I acknowledge that they could surely kick me, but when they fell asleep, the Japanese tanto I had under my pillow would be used to cut their hands off while they slept. They decided not to proceed.
The tanto was a gift from my brothers that I carried with me to many places as including Iraq. It was so sharp that I could decapitate the carcass of a white-tailed deer with one slash.. My fellow soldiers in Puerto Rico called me a fucking crazy white boy, and never bothered me again.
Respect & Manhood
There is a push in society at the moment to feminize men. We are told that being a real man is a bad thing. They call it ‘toxic masculinity’ and terms like that. Personally I will never be convinced of those silly ideas. It makes me work harder to preserve the real man mentality, and it is for that reason, I am sharing some of my stories on this website.
Over the years, I’ve worn many hats including that of son, brother, husband, father, and I’m proud of all of them. I’ve been a cook, heavy equipment operator, boxing coach, and now a writer, sharing my life experiences in the hope they are remembered. I respect other people’s opinions and ideas but I will always choose the stricter path that is avoided by most.