I met Tim when I started a new school for the fourth grade. That was usually how it happened for me; I would show up at a new school and the kid most likely to get me in trouble would be driving the welcome wagon. My mom attracts weirdos so I probably get it from her. Hers just want to talk though; mine want to go egg a house together or something. Tim was a series of bad kid clichés; his mom had run off, and he was being raised by his plumber dad who was too busy trying to pay bills to give his hyper-active kid the attention he needed. So naturally, we became best friends immediately.
One day thanks to D.A.R.E., the powers that be decide that what fourth graders really need is a presentation by a cop on drugs. Enter “Officer Friendly” who even brings a suitcase that, behind plexiglass, contains every illegal drug on the market in little compartments. It was like the drug collection Hunter S. Thompson describes in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. As a side note, I bet Officer Friendly is a great party guest.
Sometime during the presentation, Tim and I get in trouble. I don’t even remember what we did, probably just a smartass comment, but we get sentenced to pick up trash around the school at lunch.
I’m walking around with a trash bag dutifully picking up garbage, sure that we’re being watched. Tim picks up a half full Pepsi and pours it out on a teacher’s car. Then I find a discarded Magic Mushroom air freshener (Thanks 70’s), and Tim gets this gleam in his eye.
“We should tell everyone we have a magic mushroom to sell. Har Har Har”
I am immediately on board. “That’s so funny!” I reply. “Totally”
When we’re allowed back into class we slink to our chairs looking appropriately shamed.
“How was yard duty?” whispers a kid sitting near Tim.
“Pretty rad… we found a magic mushroom,” Tim grins. The kid is stunned. After all, just hours earlier we had D.A.R.E. training. This moment was exactly what he’d been warned about.
“Let us know if you want to buy it,” I add, relishing how awesomely cool we are.
So of course the little bastard rats on us. We get hauled to the office, and have to sit there until our parents can pick us up. When my mom gets there (she was getting used to being dragged away from work to bail me out) she is pissed off for sure.
The principal and Officer Friendly are there, looming over us, explaining how Tim and I are in deep shit for trying to peddle magic mushrooms. They demand that we produce the contraband and confess to our sins.
Tim pulls a Magic Mushroom by Airwick out of his lunch sack.
Silence… then my mom giggles.
The other grownups shoot her a look. She goes back to being “very upset” at our misuse of a household air freshener, but she’s clearly trying not to laugh. By the time we get to the car, she’s more upset at having to leave work once again. The last time, they’d caught me selling baby garter snakes for $5 apiece.
Just one of many lessons in the limitations of the adult sense of humor.