Confessions of a Senior Delinquent

When I Was 17
Pastel by Je’

So I live in this senior Christian village. I’m technically a senior and am a generic Christian, so no problem, right? My kids said they would throw me out. Why? I know how to act; I eat with a fork and say “please” and “thank you.”

Today at lunch I pulled out a candy cigarette and pretended to smoke it. “What are you doing?” my companions asked, “Can you imagine the gossip?”

“I want to see how long it takes the gossipers to fink on me. Then I’ll whip out my candy cigarettes and laugh.” My lunch mates just shook their heads. I said, “Imagine we were all seventeen, how much trouble I’d lead you all in to.”

This made me think of being seventeen. I stop anyone who says, “These kids these days…” with “Were you ever seventeen?” I mentioned that I got in a lot of trouble when I was about seventeen. “Oh, did you get in with a bad crowd?” “No, I WAS the bad crowd.” But I seem so nice and high class even until you get to know me.

When I was seventeen I was in a Catholic high school. I suggested four of us get some booze and ride around. Can you believe those nice girls were down with that? I was the designated driver and would not drink. I didn’t want to kill my friends and I drove bad enough sober. I rolled through a stop sign and the blue lights started flashing. “Crap! Throw the booze out the window,” I yelled as I pulled into a hospital parking lot. Crash, smash, crash. I drove out the other side of the parking lot and pulled into a residential driveway, turned off the lights and we all hunkered down. Close call. I took them home.

The girl’s school was seven miles from the Catholic boy’s school. But they wanted us to marry each other, so they held dances. Nuns and monks wandered through these dances so we didn’t get too hormonal. During a slow dance, a nun thought we were too close. “Leave room for the Holy Spirit,” she said. “Sister”, I said, “He’s a spirit, he doesn’t take up any room.”

I improved a tad by eighteen, but didn’t gain any solid sense until I was about twenty-two, when my parents suddenly got so much smarter than they were a few years before. I mention this in case anyone is parenting a seventeen year-old. Your job is to keep them alive until they get some sense. Good luck and God Bless.

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