I had big dreams as a kid.
Being an Olympic swimmer would have been ideal. Having the strength to pin my older brother to create a turn of events in our wrestling matches was always a goal. Getting chased by a herd of boys on the playground was a nice thought. And I could never stop thinking about “accidentally” getting locked in a grocery store overnight.
Ahhh, yes. Having access to an unlimited supply of goodies in a situation where stealing isn’t considered theft, it’s basic survival – especially when pertaining to a growing child.
It was all planned out. The top of the freezers in our small-town grocery store would provide the perfect hideout until the store closed. At that time my siblings and I would climb down and begin our evening, which would consist of fruit snacks, chocolate milk, beef jerky and Doritos. Nobody would complain when I’d sift through the boxes of Lucky Charms and only eat the charms because they’d have their own. No fights would start over mining through a half gallon of cookie dough ice cream and only eating “the good stuff” because each of my siblings would be doing the same thing. Best of all, our mother wouldn’t be able to give us a buzz-kill reminder that we’d get a “gut ache” if we ate four king-sized Snickers in a row.
Once we were full, we’d form teams and put on our gear: mixing bowl helmets, cake pan guards and sponge kneepads. We’d set up an obstacle course with pop case hurdles, toilet paper pyramids and a milk jug weaving course. After coating the floor with dish soap, the games would begin. First on the agenda would be an egg fight, followed by licorice-whipping wars, muskmelon bowling and finally a contest to see who could stand barefoot in the freezer the longest. The winning team would get the trophy – the giant cookie left in the bakery window that night.
After the games ended, we’d pass out in a pile of marshmallows and wait for someone to rescue us.
Then, when morning came, everyone in our little town would be relieved that the Stoneburner kids were okay and sympathetic that we “had” to spend an entire night in the grocery store. The store owner would align a community-wide pizza party with inflatable games, magicians and Shirley Temple drinks to make up for his mishap of locking four young children in the store for a night and the entire event would go down in history.
Sadly, despite explaining my splendid plan to my mother, she never agreed to leave the store without us.
Shootin’ the Wit is a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.