Hanging With the Big Boys

By , Ormond Beach, FL

Like Play-Doh, a young boy's mind is easily molded and swayed. Add an older brother into the picture that this boy would do anything to be like and you have yourself a perfect little minion to follow you around and do whatever you want. This little boy is me, and growing up all I wanted to do was be like my brother. If he got into something new I eventually was going to try and follow him along for the ride. My brother is four years older than me, so when he got into middle school I was only in 3rd grade. I had no idea that my brother would soon be hanging out with kids that weren't so like the ones I was used too. One’s that cursed, vandalized, and flunked school along with other things. These boys introduced my brother to skateboarding, and when word got back to me I begged my mom and dad to let me try out the sport as well. Soon enough my brother was getting better and skating around the neighborhood with his friends. Although I was younger, I did the same activities and usually followed along with them when they went out to skate. My house is right next to a big shopping plaza, one with a Publix and Bealls and other stores.

 

At the time my brother and I were working on our own little skatepark in the front driveway, building ramps and rails for all the neighborhood to use. The only problem was, wood and supplies were expensive, and being so young we only had what we could find on the road or what our parents bought us. Things around the neighborhood started to get interesting when a store in the shopping mall closed down and inside the windows was a plethora of wood planks and sheet metal. This to us was like a dream. The only problem was, it was locked and of course… not ours. For me this meant it wasn’t useful, as the only thing I had stolen before was a pack of gum, which my mom made me return to the store with a face full of tears. For my brother and his gang on the other hand it meant finding a way in and taking all we could carry, which did eventually happen. I remember skating by everyday and watching them pull on the doors and look through the dusty windows. I do not know why, but one day the door was unlocked. As simple as that, we were inside this heavensent room. Wide eyed and imaging every new ramp that could be built my brother and his crew took planks upon planks and rolled their now weighed down skateboards down the street with a newborn determination. I had a friend named Will at the time who was along with me through this whole experience. I remember how badly we also wanted the ramps, and if we helped steal some of the wood the older boys couldn’t tell us we can not skate their ramps because we had helped. As if our lives depended on it we grabbed as much as we could, and with our heads on a swivel we ran back to my house. When we got there we bragged to the older kids how we helped and it felt great. Of course I knew that stealing was wrong, but under the circumstances I felt that it was alright. The next day rolls around and I have shoved the guilt back in my head. The only problem was, every time I rode past the empty store I felt that someone was watching me, waiting to put me in handcuffs for what I had done.

 

My driveway became a constant reminder of what I had done, with all these new ramps. Every time an authority figure rolled down the road, which is a lot in Ormond By the Sea, my heart would stop as I pictured explaining to my parents what I had done and getting sent off to jail. Thinking back, this fear was irrational, but what I had done was undoubtedly wrong. There was an Ace hardware store right up the street that I could have easily begged my dad to go to and buy us the wood we needed. It was something about that unlocked door that just begged me to follow along and sin, as if an invitation had been handwritten and sent to my address. My life went on, and I eventually forgot about what I had done. What stuck with me is that feeling of guilt I had after I stole all that wood. That feeling of knowing what you are doing is wrong, and going ahead and doing it anyway. At the time all that felt important was staying in the group with my brother and his friends, but when that takes doing something you know is wrong, you have to bail out. It takes a strong person to be able to keep your brain in the Play Doh can and not let anyone mold it, but it takes an even stronger person to take a molded brain and return it back to it’s original form.






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