At age 17, while most of my friends were either studying at high school or studying how to get high at school, I spent leisurely days brainstorming new and creative ways of annoying our local Sheriff and his deputies.
Living in a tiny Gold Rush town tucked in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains – a quaint dot on the map named Nevada City, California – with a population of less than 3,000 people and a downtown district that could be circumnavigated in a brief jog, the only trouble a teenager could get into was trouble he made himself.
Nothing's changed. Except the colors are brighter now.
I had a partner in crime – the prettiest girl in town and my best friend, Autumn. We were soul-mates, mutual muses, and best of all, we were both enrolled in the independent studies program, which meant our actual campus time was reduced to a single 20 minute session a week, leaving the rest of our schedule open for adding to our collection of abandoned lawn ornaments, inventing new kinds of candy, and devising “experiments” to test the moods and reactions of our fellow man. Some people called us practical jokers, but we fancied ourselves social anthropologists.
It was late September and very hot. Autumn and I lounged in a swimming pool, which was conveniently located in the middle of her upstairs bedroom. In a moment of brilliance fueled by heat-stroke, we constructed the pool there so we could watch TV or toast bagels while we soaked. We drank water from margarita glasses, snacked on Joy-Pops (an unpleasant tasting but texturally exciting confection we assembled from parts of Almond Joys, Pop Rocks and wasabi), listened to polka music and played Trivial Pursuit.