Michael Stusser is like the MacGyver of dad writers: along with penning a very funny book, The Dead Guy Interviews, his work appears in magazines, newspapers, on stage, and on screen. Dude even writes board games. Like many of us, Michael was once a child, and here he owns up to some of his past sins.
*I lit animals on fire. Mainly ants and mosquito-catchers, but still…
*Me and Charles Piatok drew horribly ugly cartoons of girls and taped them to their lockers. He married one of them.
*When my sister, Pam, didn’t let me watch “Dark Shadows” with her and her friends, I went upstairs and scratched her copy of Madman Across the Water.
*When I was 7, Danielle Brown and I were sitting in her dad’s brand new Corvette and I put the car into reverse, undid the emergency brake and we rolled down the hill into the ditch, a few feet from the lake. When I ran crying to my parents, they thought I was talking about a toy car and told me that we’d “get a new one.”
*Playing with matches, I didn’t get burned, but torched half of Lopez Island. They eventually put the fire out (but it took some helicopters…).
*Me and Ben Guterson and Kermie Rosen (The Terrible Trio) tipped over a Port-a-Potty– with a kid in it.
*I put love notes in Heather Gray’s desk and said they were from Dale Tanaka because I liked her and didn’t know what to do about it.
*At Camp Benbow, David Goldfarb and I spent the entire summer making this kid who was following us around named Robert recite lines from “The Exorcist” and promise to repeat them to his parents when he got home. (Robert has never been heard from again).
*Over the years, I stole dozens of my Uncle Pat’s Playboys. He probably left them out as a favor.
*I told Caroline Gutmann she could only hang out with me and Mark Tarica if she pretended she was a boy. She still dresses like one.
*I ate a slug. Half of one, actually, but it won the bet. (MaryAnne – you still owe me ten cents.)
*Richard Eason and I would put gum on this kid Erin’s seat in school. Because his name was Erin.
*I played “Spin the Bottle” with some older kids and got my first French kiss, and never told Linda Rogers, who I was apparently going steady with.
*Me and a new kid named Keith TP-d our principle’s house. Six or seven times.
*Tyler Morgan and I took a bird’s nest out of a tree in his courtyard to see what the cat would do. We came back the next day, and it wasn’t pretty.
*I told my mom I had a sore throat about 357 times on school days when I really didn’t. She may have known, but made me chicken noodle soup anyway.
*Todd Shepard decided it would be a good idea to take a baseball bat and smack a bunch of rocks with it. We smashed his mom’s kitchen window, but it was so fun, we kept going, dented the wagon pretty good, plus I hit him in the head once, and that didn’t help things.
*I told my parents I had a job at Music West Rentals, when I was really playing Donkey Kong and Galaga at the video arcade.
*On a camping trip with the Andersons, Jenny was pinned against the side of the tent, and I kept dry-humping against her sleeping bag. At least she didn’t get eaten by a bear…
*I stole Wacky Packs and baseball cards and Dots and Razzles and Red Vines and Bazooka and Lemonheads from Looks Pharmacy. I told myself the owners knew and were putting it on my parents’ account, but I’m not sure they did.
*More often than not, rather than take a hit, I moved the ships on my side of the Battleship board.
*I flushed a goldfish “before its time.”
*Senior year, I drank Welch’s grape juice and Jack Daniels out of a tennis can at the Mercer Country Club with Andy Winterbauer and threw up all over Court #4.
*My older brother, Alan, stole a mannequin, dressed it up, put fake blood all over the shirt, and dragged us both to a free-way overpass where he was going to toss it onto rush hour traffic. Luckily the cops rolled up. Boy was he in trouble.
*Jason Lind and I smoked cigarette butts in his treehouse and talked badly about girls. Really badly.
*Me and Mike Schiller used to drive around with our lights out in the pitch dark. A lot.
*When my brother got kicked out of the house in high school for selling weed, I swiped his comic book collection. I still have it.
*Whenever my sister had a sleepover, I spied through the keyhole and had impure, though naïve, thoughts.
*I winged a rock as hard as I could at the Brown’s mean dog Rooter, hit him in the mouth and sent him whimpering home like a baby. This one I don’t feel bad about.
*I passed a note to Monica Migus that had a life-sized drawing of my boner. (I traced it.)
*I plagiarized wildly from our old encyclopedia and looked over Mary Zisette’s shoulder during tests. But so did everyone.
*Whenever we visited my Dad at the office, I’d go through all the desks and swipe Lifesavers and Doublemint gum.
*I took a whiz at my bus stop every morning between the ages 8-11.
And I turned out OK.