Ph.D. in Stupid

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Some rather stupid stuff has been done over the years. Trust me, I know. I was there doing it.

It’s amazing that I’ve made it this long without some serious injury. Like the time Big Brother James encouraged me to throw a rock at a hornet’s nest in the old dead oak tree up at the lake. That’s how Mom found out I was allergic to bee stings and how I learned that the head of an 8-year-old could swell up to the size of a basketball if stung by a bazillion angry hornets.

Yep, when you do stupid stuff, you sure do learn a lot of lessons. Let’s just say growing up with three brothers, I have a Ph.D. in Stupid.

One of the first lessons I learned? Just because your big brother says it’ll be funny, it’s not a good idea to throw a 6-foot rubber snake called Fang on your dad when he’s sleeping on the couch, especially if he’s deathly afraid of snakes. Fat old men can move really fast. I also learned that when he’s finished tearing your prized rubber snake to shreds, you’re next.

Over the years I’ve learned that doing stupid stuff can lead to a whole lot of work. For instance, don’t sneak out the bedroom window at night and roll the cheerleader’s house down the street with 50 rolls of toilet paper, then brag about it the next day in school. What you did in a few hours that night will take the entire next month to clean up.

At the young age of 6 I learned that falling asleep in church and then falling into the aisle is a sure way of getting the preacher’s attention.

Getting between Bubba Hanks and food is not a good idea.

Hitting Down the Street Bully Brad with water balloons isn’t a good way to give him a bath, after all.

When your big brother says, “Here, hold this,” don’t.

Five minutes is the longest time you can stand on your head before you pass out. After you’ve passed out, your brothers will happily steal all the good stuff in your room.

When your older brother says, “Hey, watch this,” someone’s going to the hospital.

No matter what he says, don’t ever pull Dad’s finger.

An “F” in English can easily be turned into an “A.” A permanent record really does follow you, and so will the “F” you turned into an “A.”

When you do something you shouldn’t have, don’t lie to your parents about it; they’re really smart people. What you thought you just got away with, they did when they were kids, like turning an “F” into an “A.”

Lessons learned can be painful, some more painful to others than to me. At age 9 I found out that a pitchfork will not only go through dirt easily, but also a tennis shoe and Twin Brother Mark’s foot.

If you want to keep all of your toes, don’t ride bicycles barefooted.

You can’t steer a bike using just your feet, but you can do a decent job steering it with your knees – that is, until one of your brother runs into you playing tag. Playing “tag — you’re it” on bikes is a bad idea, especially if you’re barefooted.

Giving The Sister a cherry belly for five minutes will make her throw-up and make Dad really mad.

Ice doesn’t help to get gum out of The Sister’s long hair. Neither does gasoline, dirt, ice cream or peanut butter. Scissors not only cut out the gum nicely but also large portions of hair not affected by the gum mishap, much to the horror of The Sister.

There is an old saying that if you eat a small bit of poison ivy in the spring, you can roll around in it without itching. This is not true. Rolling around in poison ivy in the spring will make you swell up like a big pink marshmallow.

Girls don’t really have cooties, but they do have older brothers who get really mad when you call their little sisters cootie faces.

An egg can be fried on an asphalt street in the middle of August, but it doesn’t taste very good.

A ball of aluminum in the microwave will indeed cause a fire — one with bright orange and blue flames.

Cooking a hot dog in three seconds can be accomplished by sticking a nail in each end with a wire wrapped around it, but you’ll short out the entire house when it’s plugged into the wall.

Moms don’t like dirty clothes, dirty bedrooms, dirty little boys or dirty bathrooms.

Dirty kids with dirty clothes and messy rooms don’t bother dads, though; they were little boys once.

Giving Mom a candle on Mother’s Day is a good idea. Gathering up and melting every candle in the house to make it, even the nice white ones from Germany that she never lights, is a bad idea.

When you have a Ph.D. in Stupid like me, the lessons don’t stop just because you grow up. Oh, no. Like The Wife always says, “No matter how smart a person is, they can always get a little smarter.”

Just last week I learned it’s not a good idea when, trying to impress your boss, you write a memo on how attention to details can save the company money and you misspell his name.

Don’t write a newspaper article about all the stupid stuff you did and got away with while growing up, especially if your dad reads your weekly column. He’ll want to have a nice long talk with you when he’s done.

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