I Shot an Arrow into the Air…
Let me ask you something. Have you ever been young? Have you ever done anything stupid? Did you ever do anything stupid when you were young?
In this blog I’m going to share some things which some might consider stupid, even though they seemed pretty funny at the time. My hope is you can enjoy the moments vicariously without having to do anything stupid yourself!
They happened when I was working at Sears “where,” I remember the ads proclaimed, “America shops for value.”
This particular Sears was located in the Lewis County Mall between two small towns with a combined population of only 16,000, so most of the time there really weren’t many Americans shopping for much of anything.
I was in my mid-20s, as was my coworker Kevin. Our manager was Jim DeBruler and he was a nice guy with a big heart, but he liked to hide it under a gruff exterior, and he certainly did not suffer fools.
Unfortunately for him, Kevin and I fit pretty well into the fool category.
We were always causing mischief. For instance, back then VCRs were relatively new, expensive, unreliable, and often came in for warranty service. On one occasion a nice woman brought hers in for repair. At the same time another VCR of the exact same model was also brought in to be fixed, but it was found to be beyond repair. Instead of tossing it into the dumpster, I had another idea. I took the cover off and filled the inside with numerous bits and pieces of junked electronic devices we had laying around in the back room. I then put the cover back on but didn’t attach it.
When the woman returned I cheerfully greeted her and said her VCR was all fixed and ready to go. I went into the back room returning with what she thought was her VCR, but was, in fact, the doppelganger. As I walked toward her, I pretended to trip and flung the VCR to the ground where it exploded all over the sales floor.
She was horrified! But I only let her panic for a few moments before I burst out laughing and told her it was just a joke.
Lucky for me she had a sense of humor because if she hadn’t, Sears would have been where America shopped for value, and where I was no longer employed
Sometimes Kevin and I even played jokes on Mr. DeBruler. Once Kevin and I got a hold of one of those party poppers — the little plastic bottle-shaped things which when the string is pulled emit a loud bang and shoot out streamers. Using thumbtacks, we attached it to the inside of the desk drawer next to the cash register in such a way that when the drawer was opened, well, you know…
Sooner or later Mr. DeBruler would have to open the drawer, and we couldn’t wait.
But time went by without him needing to open the drawer, and eventually Kevin and I forgot about it. It just so happened a while later Kevin got involved in a big sale. I could tell he was excited and a bit distracted, because this sale meant a big commission.
You how when you realize something bad is about to happen things begin to move in slow motion? I remember watching Kevin reaching for the drawer to grab a pen. Sure enough, he pulled it open, and…BANG! A loud noise and lots of streamers.
I don’t know who was more shocked, Kevin or the customer, but I do remember laughing so hard I could barely stand up. It got even funnier as I watched Mr. DeBruler charging toward Kevin from the back room.
At this point I quietly wandered behind the refrigerators.
Perhaps the dumbest thing I did during my stint at the Lewis County Mall didn’t even happen in the Lewis County Mall.
Mr. DeBruler lived in my neighborhood, and that ended up being a bit of a problem.
You see, at the time I was into model rockets. One day I wondered, “hmm could I make a faster rocket?” I decided to try by attaching a rocket engine to the top of an arrow. This wasn’t some toy arrow — it was a professional archer’s arrow.
Stupid? Yeah, but at least I broke off the steel tip.
When I pushed the launch button, the amplified arrow took off like a shot and went up so high I could barely see it. Once the engine ran out of fuel, the arrow gradually arced downward. Unfortunately, I had somehow forgotten the engine was a two-stage unit. The second stage kicked in as the arrow headed earthward, and with the help of gravity probably broke the sound barrier.
I closed my eyes and clenched my teeth waiting for the inevitable crash or worse yet, scream, but there was only silence. After a few minutes I began to relax, hoping I’d dodged a bullet.
Or at least dodged an arrow.
The next day at work I was telling Kevin about my harrowing experience, and Mr. DeBruler overheard. He looked particularly annoyed and asked,
“Did I just hear you say ‘arrow?’”
“Because,” he continued, “yesterday afternoon I was gardening. What should I find halfway buried in the ground next to my flowers but an arrow. One thought, and one thought only, came to my mind: KIMBALL!”
The only thing more amazing than the fact I didn’t kill anyone with my lame-brained science experiment is that I didn’t lose my job at Sears.
Mr. DeBruler is gone now, and Sears itself is almost gone, too. Kevin and I are still friends, though, and although some might still call us mischievous, hopefully we’re a little less stupid.