In light of bullying allegations against presumptive GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney when he was a high school student, I feel it necessary to come clean before being outed by the Washington Post or the Van Buren Press-Argus Courier or the Farmington Post or those reckless, unprincipled and democracy-destroying nitwits who do that so-called “online journalism.”
Lives of candidates are now scanned back to much earlier periods. There is little doubt a future political ad will note that Jimmy Bill Gornschneider has a two-month advantage over his opponent in terms of how long it took to finish potty training. And the opponent will respond with a picture of Jimmy eating his boogers. Democracy is not pretty.
It’s not that I plan on pursuing any elected post, but, just in case, want to be up front about any stupid and/or fun experiences during my formative years and beyond. And if I’m going to ask a future candidate about glue eating or pony-tail pulling or armpit farting contests during those early elementary years, I should be willing to fess up.
Also, public relations experts say one should get ahead of potential negatives. Let’s get ahead.
• I once walked out of Wal-Mart with a four-pack of AA batteries. Just clean forgot to pay for them. Didn’t notice the accidental shoplift until the next winter when I found the pack of batteries in a coat pocket.
• As an elementary student, I rarely paid to enter a Lamar High School home football game thanks to a gap in the fence between a creek and my parent’s property.
• Once joined with others to encourage an inebriated cousin to jump across a large bonfire. He came through with only singed hair and singed blue jeans, but, well, damn, that was stupid.
• Smoked marijuana. Inhaled. Deeply.
• Was one part of a two-part team to cause a punches-thrown, bleacher-clearing riot during a high school basketball game. What’s worse, have these many years later been unable to muster any remorse for the incident.
• Did the hunting and fishing thing, but secretly detested both activities. Time wasters.
• Drank booze before the legal age.
• Removed and relocated a “No Parking” sign from the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville.
• Speaking of signs, have launched from the back of a moving pickup truck a few empty whiskey bottles at highway signs.
• In less than 60 minutes, blew about a week’s worth of military pay on lap dances at a hole-in-the-wall strip club in Tijuana.
• Removed spark plug wires from the distributor cap on an official government vehicle. (Back in the days before hood locks and electronic ignition.)
• Snorted cocaine in college. Kept me up for two days and my heart raced the whole time. Scared the hell out of me. Ain’t touched the stuff since.
• Once shot a kid in the arm with a BB gun. (Swear to God, never thought it would ricochet that far off the asphalt.)
• Violated any number of military regulations in using sugar water (IV bag) to rehydrate Marines who were hung over after a hard night of drinking.
• Under the light of a full moon and clear starry sky, drove fast around the winding country roads in north Johnson County with the headlights off.
• Have been to five AC/DC concerts. Remember about three of them.
• Was punished with extra physical fitness work during bootcamp after failing to correctly roll my underwear and neatly place it in the locker.
• Dropped eggs off interstate overpasses. (Gotta be careful with this, cause hitting the wrong spot on an 18-wheeler will return to sender pieces of shell and yolk.)
• Slept one night in a Chicago train station after missing the last train back to the Navy base. Yes, there was hell to pay the next day.
• Have lied and/or ever so slightly altered the facts about my medical conditions and history on numerous insurance applications.
• Frequently drive 80 miles per hour on the interstate.
• Speaking of the interstate, have on several occasions given a good hard tap on the brakes when some jerk was riding my rear bumper. Probably haven’t done that for the last time.
There you have it. This old farm boy from Johnson County has had too many experiences in life to be fit for public service, and would never entertain the hope of political office.
Am hoping, however, the various statutes of limitations are on my side.