I’m assuming there’s going to be an inauguration today, or another incident that’ll receive way too much coverage and have way too little an effect. Either way, they’ll undoubtedly be attended by people wearing what they consider their Inauguration Best – be that top hat and tails, “I’m a Real Patriot” t-shirt from Flying J, or just your run of the mill guy dressed like a cartoon buffalo about to strip at a bachelorette party, today’s events will hopefully wipe your midday memories of the following column…
That’s why this seems the perfect morning to finish off last week’s tale of teenage mischief that was about to become a misdemeanor in the County of San Joaquin.
The setup to these nostalgic stories are always more enjoyable than actually spinning yarn around a tale, in which you acted like a foolish monster 30 years ago…but here we go.
(My note: This is probably the point in which the Manteca Bulletin would appreciate a disclaimer. That they don’t condone such activities, and discourage any 16-17 year old from following suit…Let’s be clear though. If your 16-year-old is reading Manteca to a T on a Wednesday morning, they are more than likely a nerd — and would never be able to hit a moving school bus with an egg.)
Cue the time machine to January of ’91 . . .
When we last left our 16-year-old Manteca anti-heroes, they were leaving Sonora with egg their faces, car, and souls in January of 1990.
Fast forward one year into the future, and the tension between MHS and their rivals up the hill had increased tenfold. We had just played them 3 times in football. There was respect between the programs, but absolutely no love lost. We considered them mountain hillbillies, and they thought us valley farming bumpkins.
Both were right. It’s what made the rivalry beautiful.
Our plans for sweet, yolky revenge had long disappeared into the ether of being teens. I had planned on playing basketball my senior year so my goal of revenge had faded. However, I’d broken my wrist the night of the EU football game and would be in a cast for 3 months (I wish I could say I’d broken it stiff arming Mark Kackley or Dan Younger but it happened a few hours after the game.)
Jeep. Party. Wrist. Idiot.
We’d taken the roadie up the hill for the first league game and boy did we get drubbed. For lack of a better word: we stank that year. And that really loosened and livened the expectations of loyal green followers.
Side bets on how many players Rick Asbell would elbow during a game; yelling out “Last basket wins” when down 26 with 0:20 left. Your basic crowd jerk behavior.
We left the gym celebrating as if we’d won. Something not lost on the much larger group of “wildkids” in attendance.
In no short time it turned into your garden variety rooster dance – 17-year-olds with feathers puffed and plumed are the lamest, yet most volatile poultry on the farm, and we were out of our hen house.
A Manteca High faculty member attempted to intervene and ushered us to our car while a crowd grew to ensure we knew the score. It was time to get out of Dodge, and quick!!
Except for one small problem we’d forgotten in the heat of the moment.
Our buddy Brian’s early 80s Honda had a starter that was going out and sometimes you’d have to get out, slide under the engine, and tap it.
This was one of those times. I was riding shotgun, angry mob a foot from my window when Brian said “I have to tap the starter” as he reached under his seat for the tire iron that he used to do the trick.
“Are you insane?!”
But we had no choice. Time stood still as this skinny, mulleted 17-year-old stepped from the car and took the few steps around to the front — tire iron in fist.
This crowd had to have thought he was a pure psycho. And he was. But he just wanted to start the car. He disappeared from sight and a muffled “Turn it over!” could be heard.
The car started, and we left amidst a chorus of expletives. Skin of your teeth survival…
As Vince Romito rolled his window down and yelled “See you *insert bad word* in 3 weeks!!”
Well, three weeks came and went. There was an entire fourth quarter left as Sonora went up by 20. Their crowd acted as if Winter Gym were their domain and took the time to chant “VOL!”, a clear and present homage to what they had done during football season…
The air was sucked out of the balloon.
Until one brave teen named Tony Coit said “Let’s leave – I have a plan.”
“Dude, it’s Wednesday night, we have school in the morning. Where are we going?” – was the prevailing thought.
“We’re going to New Deal Market to get eggs. It’s revenge time…it’ll be quick and painless” was his retort.
Those fatal words would resonate through the next several months of Saturday School and court-appointed Community Service.
We exited in a line of 5 – A literal perp walk before the eyes of schoolmates and faculty. They had to know something was afoot to leave so early…
Two flats of eggs were purchased, and we returned to the gym. Notifying a few trusted arms of our plan as they exited.
The Sonora bus loaded up, and we moved ahead. Deciding on a spot east of town on 120. We gathered across from the old “Welcome to Manteca” Kiwanis Club sign prepared to deliver what should’ve been the backside of that sign — “Thanks for coming, now get out!”
But as we stood around like idiots giddy with anticipation, a hum and a wush flew past us. We had missed the bus!
“Oh well” seemed to be the sentiment amongst the non-devoted.
Their grandparent’s Buick Limited had not been egged the year before! They hadn’t just been run out of Sonora on a rail three weeks previous! They didn’t feel the sting of a “VOL” chant inside our home gym!
My crew of 5 did.
I said “Get in my car, we’re driving to Escalon!”
This committed crew of Buffaloes leapt into my four-door 1983 Mercury Cougar, affectionately named Freddy.
Freddy Cougar sped down 120 to pass the Sonora bus…
“I don’t care if we have to drive all the way to Sonora, and egg that bus as it pulls into the school. This is happening!”
A line had been drawn in the sand. That line would be the slow turn as 120 meandered through the streets of Escalon.
As will you.
The Finale of “The Legend of Green (and White) eggs and kitty ham” will be in my next column..
“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do”