Confessions a 20th century ne'er do well: Drinking, fighting, stealing and other things one generally ought not do

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I tried to steal a car

The summer ‘92, a bunch of us were at a friends house, drinking and playing Risk. It was late, and only two of us were left in the game plus a spectator because I have some photos from that night.
“Want to go steal a car?” my friend said.
“Yeah!” I answered.
Stealing a car sounded not only cool, but impossible. A situation like this is kind of a game of Criminal Chicken – who’s going to blink first?
We were both a little too ballsy for this game.
We walked out onto the street. My friend held his hand in his sleeve and tried the doors of cars (always lock your doors – there may be future college graduates in the neighborhood). We walked for a few blocks. In the younger days of drinking, I didn’t miss the beer soon enough to want to turn around. Today, I can’t imagine wandering the streets looking for trouble without at least a bottle in each pocket and one in my hand.
Finally, the door opened. It was a chevy nova from the early eighties.
I slipped into the passenger side, and my friend into the driver's seat.
“Now what?” I asked, my heart beating.
“I’m going to hotwire it,” he said.
“Do you know how to do that?” I asked, heartbeat kicking it up a notch.
“Sure. You cut the wires,” he cut the wires. “and touch them together like this.”
He touched them together. Nothing happened.
Today, I’m fairly certain that that’s not how you hotwire a car. I think you’re supposed to use a screwdriver to break the top off of the ignition and then twist it with your hand.
After a few minutes of trying, a light went on in the house. We leapt out of the car and ran back to my friend’s house.
Our risk game was still on the table. We had to finish. I don’t remember who took over the world before we went to sleep on the couches in the other room.

The next morning, as we pulled away, I was fairly certain that there was a car in the cul-de-sac where my friend lived with a young guy and an older guy, the young guy pointing at my car. I drove without looking back.

Technically, cutting some kid’s wires doesn’t count as stealing, just vandalism – kind of lame, not really funny, gives the impression of some personal vendetta. I can’t help but think that if we were to have gotten caught, “We didn’t mean to ruin the starter, we were just trying to steal the car for laughs,” might have gotten us out of it, if the kid were cool (very VERY cool)

Which makes me wonder: Are there many detestable crimes that we hear about that would have been kind of cool if they hadn’t been interrupted before completion?


Blogger Walt said...

I was going to steal a tank once, but could not think of a place to hide it. One time during a football game at school, some boys and I carried a teachers old Volkswagen into the high school lobby. There were some very pissed adults that night. For some reason they had to remove the lobby doors to get the car out. They really wanted some heads to roll, for our little prank. I remember they called in the police. Thank God nobody ratted on us.

12:42 AM, July 25, 2008

Blogger T.A.B. said...

I would respond, but I don't talk to car vandals / wannabe car thieves.

8:06 AM, July 28, 2008

Blogger AddledWriter said...

that wouldn't have been cool, and it could have wound up with you in serious trouble! you're lucky they didn't catch you. what if the kid needed the car for an emergency or to get to work? i know you wouldn't do it today, but you're darn lucky you didn't get caught.

10:33 AM, July 30, 2008

Blogger NJWT said...

Of course it could have gotten me in serious trouble - that's what was cool about it.

1:28 PM, July 30, 2008

Blogger AddledWriter said...

but it's cliched! stealing the vice principal's car or something...that'd be cool.

8:53 PM, August 09, 2008

Blogger NJWT said...

Sure, it's cliched now, but in 1992 this was some original material.

5:41 AM, August 10, 2008


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