“When a child first catches adults out—when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just—his world falls into panic desolation […] And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.”―John Steinbeck, East of Eden.
We all have secrets. From the wild times had growing up, to the trauma and tragedy of the past. Some of these secrets make it out there into the world, and other are kept near and dear to the people who hold them, never to be uttered to those they love. Here are some of those secrets, told on the internet, but never to be uttered to the children of their bearers.
46. You Look Weird
When my daughter was born I thought she was the weirdest looking thing I’ve ever seen. In my defense, newborns are usually pretty weird looking for a little while.
45. Daddy Got it On
How promiscuous I was after my divorce. I will be open about my drinking and substance use, but I think that part of my life is better kept a secret.
44. Becoming Legend
I went to MANY High schools. And have an obscene amount of stories of stupid stuff. I don’t have kids but probably would leave this out: I was at a boarding school in the (fairly rural) south. I had taken a psychedelic substance with friends in the dorm. We were all suddenly hungry. It was like 2 AM and I knew that the local Waffle House was open. We called in an order for the food and then I realized we had no transportation.
So I stole a maintenance truck (think an F150) with the school’s logo on the side—the keys were in the visor… so typical—and drove the handful of miles to the Waffle House, picked up the food and drove back.
I passed a cop who followed me back to school but didn’t pull me over. I was probably driving like a crazy person.
The school never found out.
It was unbelievably stupid but I was a legend at the school.
43. Trauma from the Past
Two things… my daughter had an identical twin who didn’t survive, and the man she knows as her father is not her father.
I was in an abusive relationship and the biological father decided he would rather us both be dead if I didn’t want to be with him, so he started driving into oncoming traffic. I reacted by fleeing the vehicle at 45 mph because I saw a cop car parked a block away. I opened the door and grabbed my knees and tucked my head and rolled out and ended up really bruised and sore and killed one of the babies. But I made it to the police and never saw him again.
42. Being a Sneak
Sneaking out of the house regularly while my parents slept. Now that I’m a parent, I know why they slept so soundly: kids are exhausting.
41. Vowing to Never Sniff Again
Went through a brief spell of huffing lighter gas from the can. A monumentally stupid thing to do. The mere thought of my own child doing this terrifies me.
40. What Happens in the ‘80s…
I was a mouth breather in the ‘80s cause my nose was too busy.
39. Learning Drunk Lessons
I got drunk and lay down in the middle of the road humping a tree branch while my equally drunk friend rode a pink tricycle around me until the cops showed up. My dad knew the cop so they sent me home with a “lesson learned.”
38. Stage Fright
I was doing a skit in ninth grade about not using substances.
Classmate 1: “So guys, do you want some blow?”
Classmate 2: “No, I’ve got… football practice.”
Classmate 1: “Oh, c’mon. It’ll help take the edge off.”
Classmate 2: “No thanks, it’ll screw up my life.”
Classmate 1: “What about you, bud? You want a taste?”
Me: “No thanks. I only do weed.”
Class starts cracking up. A couple of well-known kids offer me high fives. The DARE officer and the teacher look at each other and back to me.
I had gotten stage fright and forgotten my lines.
I used to chug Robitussin and trip with my friends. Probably did it around 20 times. It was a lot of fun, to be honest. My only excuse is that I went to boarding school in the middle of the wilderness, and there was nothing at all to do.
36. Painting Pigs
Probably the drunk fest I had one night that ended up with me spray painting a pig blue.
35. Flying Fireballs
Made and threw several Molotov cocktails… not at anything in particular, just liked to see fireballs.
34. Uh… Good Choice Not to Tell
That I could bend in a particular way until I hit a growth spurt during sophomore year. Everything else I’d gladly own up to, but I don’t want to scar my future children with a mental image of their father bent over in a computer chair going down (up? around?) on himself.
33. Acquiring a French Nickname
I had a menage-a-trois with two popular boys. They ended up telling the entire school about it. In class, the kids would play hangman on the board and spell out stuff like, “Paris,” or “Eiffel Tower.” People would sing “Frere Jacques” to me in the hallway and clap their hands over their heads. When I got my diploma, a good 50 people from my graduating class stood up and clapped their hands over their heads, it was ridiculous.
32. Life as a Bully
When I was in high school I was the mean kid. I bullied and I hit people. One day I was smacking a kid just for fun. I paralyzed his face for three days. I have never forgiven myself and I don’t think I ever will. He’s my best friend now and I still apologize to this day
31. Cuffed on Campus
That I was escorted off campus in handcuffs in my junior year for possession of a controlled substance and had to do a “rehab/probation” for two years to avoid a felony at 17 years old.
30. Soiling McDonald’s
I’m not a parent yet, but I’m definitely not telling my kids about the time I pooped on the McDonald’s play place for ten bucks.
I thought I was funny at the time, and then I realized that someone was gonna have to clean it up. I still feel bad about it sometimes…
29. Creating a Special Website
I created a website with the URL slimjimboner.com. Although I wasn’t in high school when I made it, I would still prefer that my future kids don’t know it exists or that I was involved in its creation.
28. Something Mom Should Have Kept to Herself
My mom straight up admitted to me that she dated two guys at the same time and both were okay with it. The fact they were brothers was even weirder…
27. Busy ‘n’ Busted
I got busy in the bathroom at my high school prom and got busted for possession of my wizard-shaped device for smoking.
26. Learn Yourself
I would tell them everything (minus gory details), except that my mother was the one that taught me how to roll one up… They are going to have to learn how to do that the hard way.
25. Selective Sharing
I think telling your kids about some of the trouble you got into can be a good way to keep them from getting into the same trouble. For example, my dad got a DUI when he was 17 years old for jumping a motorcycle through the grocery store window. I learned a valuable lesson about driving motorcycles under the influence—don’t drive it through the window of a grocery store.
24. The Bathroom Bandit
While I would have no issue telling my kid I smoked a lot when I was in high school, I don’t think I’ll admit that I once spent a day lighting up in every bathroom in the school… the security officer and the principal were running through the halls trying to find who was doing it, never did get caught.
23. Freaking Out with Mom
The first time I took a psychedelic substance was my senior year of high school. And the second time was a week later… At Gasparilla (a small Mardi-Gras like parade in Tampa, with about 50,000 people). I freaked out and called my mom, and she picked me up and luckily had NO IDEA. Then a week later I figured it’d be a good idea to do it again at home one night because I never learn my lesson. And I freaked out again and told my mom what I’d done and that I thought I was going to die. She was super cool about it, told me I was just flipping out on myself, that she had done it once in college, and that she was only disappointed in me because I was “doing it on a school night.”
So, when I have kids, I’d like to be a cool, understanding parent like that. As long as my kids do well in school and look like they have a good future going for them, I’ll allow these little mess ups and mistakes. Plus it’s better to, for example, have your kid get drunk and call you asking for a ride than have your kid drunk drive, as compared to trying to punish/shelter them all the time.
22. The Apathy
I did absolutely nothing. Literally. I never did homework, only took tests. Never paid attention in class, just read my books or played video games if I could get away with it.
Still have a high school diploma. Still in college.
21. Planning Ahead
That I collected my pee in paint buckets in the forest for four years of high school. On the last day of school, I mixed some with the cooking oil in the cafeteria, the vice principal’s desk drawer (he was a serious jerk), my grade nine geography teacher’s desk (she deserved it), and all down the halls.
20. Life on MySpace
I was a white knight on MySpace. I cringe every time I think about the endless poetry I wrote to convince girls that they are truly beautiful inside, plus the textual rhapsodies on their comment walls of their most wonderful qualities when I heard they were having a bad day.
I’m puckered so tight thinking about it. Seriously. I could swallow coal and pop out a diamond right now.
Oh GOD I think I wore a fedora too…
I’m praying that my kids never find out and goatees aren’t genetic.
19. The Whole Robbing Cars Thing
Running from the cops after getting chased in a stolen car that we were stunting with no drivers licenses. Or the fact that I used to steal cars at all. Never got caught, so it’s not a very good lesson.
18. Just Imagine
When I was in second grade I threw rocks onto the school roof, then I started crying because I thought I was going to get into trouble. You can pretty much guess how I was in high school.
I don’t have children, but if I do, I’ll never tell them about my summer job during junior year.
I was kind of like a private investigator working for a completely legitimate business man. It was my job to find people who he had done business with and collect assets.
16. The No Snitching Teacher
I grew up in a small town in Texas—less than 500 people—and I had a pretty close group that me and my sister were both a part of. One night we decided to try and smoke for the first time. After we smoked, we decided to go driving around town.
As we when by the high school, my friend pulled in and said that she wanted to do something but didn’t know what. We made it around to the football field and got out. We checked the gates and found one unlocked letting us onto the football field. We goofed around for a little bit doing cartwheels and stuff. That’s when one of my other friends got the bright idea to hang our underwear, both bras and panties, on the flagpole. Both me and my sister said no and protested.
After about 15 minutes of arguing back and forth, they convinced us. So we all stripped off our undergarments and hung them up as so all 10 pieces would flap in the wind under the American flag. This was a Friday. By the time Monday came pretty much everyone in town knew about it but didn’t know who had done it. But for some reason, no one took them down. Monday afternoon we had a school assembly where they pretty much grilled everyone and offered rewards to give up the people who did it. I was sure we would be found out but nobody came forth with the information.
After graduation, I was talking to an old teacher of mine and she said that she knew it was us because she was at school and had seen us walking around that night. She said that she didn’t turn us in because she didn’t want to ruin our futures since we were all bright students.
We forced a small, defenseless, eye-glassed, sensitive, smart and funny—in retrospect—boy into a biowaste (biodegradable) trash can. He was covered in spaghetti sauce and red beet salad when he got out.
I remember him taking a pause from the yelling and crying, looking me in the eye and asking: “Why did you want to do this?”
Not my proudest moment. Actually, now after writing this I might share this with my son one day.
14. Actually Learning the Truth
My mom spilled the beans to me that my dad tried psychedelic substances with his friends then they all got nude. That was the last day of parental authority. My dad also cut off his fingers fixing remote control planes, burned down a farmer’s field, dated a cougar, and was generally a little promiscuous.
My mom also admits that she was majorly into smoking when she was younger.
13. A Whole Listful of Stuff
Had a fake ID at 15 years old and basically was the alcohol hook-up for parties at my school.
Planted two hydrochloric acid bombs in a disused stairwell during a pep rally. That was LOUD.
Brought a .357 to school to use as a prop in an acting sketch. The barrel was plugged with lead, but it still was a functioning revolver.
Stole hall passes from teachers so I always had an excuse when I was ditching class.
Stole tests from teachers to pass exams I hadn’t studied for.
Smoked in the middle of shop class. I literally climbed up into the rafters of our automotive garage—the teacher never looked up, even when he smelled it. I was like 20 feet off the ground.
Used wood shop to create billy clubs and “hickory” knuckles for people to beat each other with—our school was notorious for fights.
I always spent my lunch money on booze and cigarettes, so during the week I never had money for food. I would get people to pay me to do outlandish stuff during lunch so I could actually eat. I would chew gum from under the lunch tables, eat the entire contents of the salt shakers or other dumb stuff.
I was certainly memorable during high school, my high school yearbook reads like a horror novel.
12. Hearing it from Dad’s Friend
Not me but my dad, the only reason I know it is because one of my dad’s high school buddies told me.
My dad grew up in rural Wisconsin on a lake, and he and his friends got tired of the one cop on the lake giving them trouble when they were skiing, so my dad friends scuba dived underneath the cop’s boat one day when he was sitting out there and took the prop off of his boat.
All this while my dad and his other friends were opening a 12-pack. The scuba diver got back on their boat, they put one of their other friends on the back on water skis, and they tore past the cop in a no wake zone while towing one of their friends who decided to drop his shorts and ski close to the cop and drop his empty beer in the cop’s boat.
11. It Would Just Make Things Even Weirder
I used to hang out in the band room every day for lunch. I quit band my freshman year because well, it honestly just wasn’t for me, but the band director liked me so she still let me hang out in there, and the air conditioning in there was way better than it was in the cafeteria so whatever. I was still there up ’til my senior year, then they changed the scheduling system at our school to have this weird block schedule for two days of the week. Meaning, there was class going on on Thursdays in the band room. Myself and a select few friends were allowed to hang out in one of the unused practice rooms though.
Anyway, I started helping out one of the teacher’s assistants because she was pregnant and band involved lifting things sometimes. Just because I was a decent kid and nobody else volunteered, I guess either because everyone that was there for class had their instruments to mess around with or they didn’t care.
Uh, long story short, we actually started acting friendly and her house was within walking distance and I had hooked up with a pregnant teacher’s assistant.
And then for the rest of the school year after the kid was born.
Anyway, that would be kind of a stupid story to tell if my nephew wasn’t friends with her son, so now my son winds up occasionally visiting his cousin and hanging out with a kid whose mother I used to hook up with…
10. It Starts Out With Pizza Rolls
I spent a week getting drunk every night and putting food in a friend’s neighbor’s mailbox.
It started as a joke. One day we accidentally burnt some pizza rolls, but we didn’t want to throw away food, so we decided “We’ll just give them to the neighbors… but they’re probably sleeping. Let’s just ‘mail’ them to them.”
The next day we were remembering that night and decided to make sandwiches or something. Ended up making an extra sandwich and put it in their mailbox, as an apology for giving them burnt pizza rolls. Then the next night we decided a sandwich isn’t good enough. We made scrambled eggs, toast with jelly, and some bacon. We put that on a paper plate with a red solo cup full of orange juice in their mailbox because we thought they deserved a good breakfast.
Then we made an ice cream sundae for them the next night. I mean all out, we even went to the store for the cherries. We had chocolate syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles, all the good stuff. Even left them a spoon to eat it with.
Well… The next day I’m at work and I check my voicemail during my break. It was some police officer saying that he’s leaving me a voicemail because he needs to talk to me, now. So I call him back and he starts questioning me about the trauma and hardship I had been putting this family through.
Apparently, after the third or fourth night, they installed a camera pointing at their mailbox and caught us with the ice cream. So I told the officer I was sorry, but he didn’t sound mad. He just sounded… confused. He kept asking, “But… why? Why on earth would you do that? I mean, they didn’t make it sound like you vandalized anything or hurt anything. But… did you really make an ice cream sundae? What on earth for?”
I confessed to the whole thing. The breakfast, the sandwich, the ice cream. The officer wanted to know if I had harmful intentions, and when he realized that I was just acting out situational comedy on a whole new level that he’d never dreamed of he told me he would try and convince them to not press charges.
But anyway, I got away with it.
Still; would not confess to children because of sheer idiocy.
9. From Clown to Teacher
Class clown, cut more days than any other kid at school three years straight, cheated on tests, did minimal homework, wrote my own absence notes, smoked in school all the time, graduated then became a teacher! Go figure.
I never did take other substances though because I thought I already had enough problems going on. My excuse; I had a living hell growing up staying with so many relatives who didn’t care about me and foster care was worse, but I made it… so far… and I am a retired teacher.
8. All the Shenanigans
I’ll never speak about the New Year’s Eve where I blacked out and rolled a 50-pound huge pumpkin down a hill into someone’s car. Woke up to a hot girl taking care of me, to my friend’s parents thinking I’m dead, and my best friend relieving himself in my other friend’s kitchen as his seven-year-old brother walked in… Good times.
Not to mention the drunk soccer I played at Jack in the Box at 3 am with my friends and the employees who work there. Plus later throwing a milkshake on a news anchorman’s car.
I remember my best friend streaking in my other best friend’s dorm and asking girls to hook up with him as he knocked on their door…
7. Making Things Harder For Herself
That I moved out of my parents’ house—against their advice—wayyyy to early. Started college when I was 17 and moved out a month into college. Ok mom, you were right. Moving out, at 17, while in college and being so naive made everything sooo much more difficult.
6. Stranger Danger
Befriended a cleaner at a large shopping center and made the mistake of giving him my phone number. I’m a guy and we got along alright so it didn’t seem like a problem. But then he started inviting me to football games that he bought tickets for, and offering to give me alcohol at his house…
I can’t believe I didn’t realize at the time what was going on, you’d think that sort of thing is obvious but I just didn’t see it until years later.
I’m so glad I never took up one of those offers… who knows what would have happened to me.
I’m glad stranger danger is taught to kids more these days. I haven’t told anybody that story, not even my wife.
5. Truth About Their Parents
My adopted kids came from a couple of drug addicts. Even though they all remember their birth mom and dad fondly, they have no idea how horrible they really were and how much they put the kids’ lives in danger. I’m not sure if I can ever tell them that.
4. Dad’s Tragedy
Here is one that my dad never told me but my uncle shared after my dad has passed.
He was madly in love with a girl when he was 17 years old. They were soul mates, lovers meant to be, engaged to be married and grow old together… all that sweet jazz.
They went to the county fair one year and decided to ride the Ferris Wheel. About the time they got to the top and started heading back down the safety bar came unhooked and swung open. My dad grabbed her and held onto the seat. He tried to hold her but he couldn’t. She fell to her death.
My dad never mentioned it, never said a word to anyone, even to my mom. My uncle said her death broke his heart and he was never the same again, until after I was born.
He would never let me go to fairs, amusement parks, or any place with rides when I was growing up and we used to get into big fights about it when all my friends were going.
He always told me it was just because they were dangerous and didn’t want me to get hurt.
3. The Good Ol’ Days
Not me but my dad once told me that when he was growing up in Pakistan, he was a big fan of Mao. Took Mao’s Little Red Book everywhere.
In a separate story, he and his brothers—there were seven of them I think—beat up the neighborhood bully. Not with their fists, but with home-made whips made of long, thin leaves they wound together to make them stronger. Most of them grew up to be engineers too.
The best part of the story: “I can still hear his screams,” followed by nostalgic laughter when he recounts this story 40+ years later.
2. Learning about Mary
My uncle recently told me that when my mother would ask him to babysit my brother and I while her and my dad went on vacations, she would often call him up while he was at our house and ask him to water the “wacky” plants she was growing.
To clarify how hilarious this image is to me… I grew up in a very loving, rule-abiding, middle class, extremely normal home. The horrified look on his face when he realized that we didn’t already know this about her was funnier than finding out my mom grew and smoked pot while we were young.
1. Moving Away
I met my daughter’s father online at 14 years old, moved 1,000 miles away from my parents and in with him when I was in the 11th grade. Got myself emancipated and finished high school. She will know NONE of this for a very long time.