View Full Version : On the Edge

10-03-2018, 07:25 AM
Not sure if I posted this before so if I had, well you get to read it again. I think most of us, somewhere in the past, has that one friend. And while Jimmy was only around for a few short years before moving away, it was those years that Alice Cooper would sing about. Any way below is the story of me and Jimmy.

On The Edge

All great stories seem to start with a “And there we were…” or a “Here hold my beer.” That pretty much sums up the experience of being friends with Jimmy. Many moments such as those always seemed to find us. For those that remember or those that were affected by whatever we did or didn’t do I would like to apologize now and also remind you that even if you could gather enough evidence and round up the witnesses, that no court in the land would be able to convict us because of a little thing called the statute of limitations.

I think in Jimmy I found a kindred soul. Where Jimmy was the strong good looking guy, I was always the small book worm type of guy, but like the proverbial onion there were many deeper layers than was apparent. Both of us were wound a bit tighter than the normal, a ball of energy if you must. Neither of us could sit still for long and we needed the thrill of living on the edge to keep us going. But beyond that, just ever so slightly beneath the surface, was found that ever present almost boiling over rage. It was always there and the slightest scratch would set it off. In this way Jimmy was more of brother than most any other. We understood each other and we feed off of the energy each other. There may have been times our rage boiled over, but when it did it was me and Jimmy against the world.

It was bright sunny day and my friends and I were hanging out in the apartment complex we lived in. I can remember as plain as day seeing this stranger come running down the street with a cop hot on his heels. Into the carport this wild stranger ran followed closely by the police officer, ending up on opposite ends of the red Porsche 911. Juking left and right, back and forth, like you would see on the Three Stooges, finally the stranger juked right, the cop followed, and then a quick dash to the left and they were gone once again. This was the first time I had seen or even heard of Jimmy. Maybe at that point I should have ran the other way, but I’m glad I didn’t.

I had always had a love for motorcycles despite my Mom’s hatred of those things. I think my friendship with Jimmy helped my love of riding grow. Jimmy was one of the best riders I knew and like everything else he did he rode right up to the edge of destruction. Many times I was a passenger on his bike as he rode a wheelie or raced up the twisty winding mountain roads. I learned how to be a passenger and how to enhance the cornering ability rather than endanger it. If there ever was such a thing as team motorcycle racing, Jimmy and I would have dominated. He had the skill set needed to handle the bike and together we made a team. We were young, we knew no fear.

Being the strong athletic type and with large forearms, Jimmy was a natural at martial arts. Being the smaller guy, not as well coordinated, I was not, but I trained at it any way. Many times Jimmy and I would spar or work the punching bag. I was always overmatched but I never quit and I would like to say I gave as good as I got, but that would be lie. No matter how much I tried or how hard I hit, Jimmy was always faster and always hit harder. I can remember one particular time Jimmy and I were padded up and throwing punches. We were punching and kicking and the next thing I knew I was laid out. Not sure I ever saw it coming. I learned that day why in tournaments blind techniques were not allowed and I learned of the power behind them. As mentioned we were punching and kicking and then Jimmy unleashes a spinning back fist. The speed, the power, the surprise, well they all had a meeting at my jaw and in a flash I was down. I know Jimmy felt bad about it, but you know that was okay. I was up again ready to go again after just a bit.

Bottle rockets, yes please just ask us about bottle rockets. We always had a blast with those, whether it was shooting them at each other or bombing houses in the middle of the night. One of our favorite things would be to race down dark back country roads at 2 in the morning lighting up Whistling Moon Travelers and firing them at sleeping houses. I was always the driver and Jimmy the shooter. He would hang out the window and light them and at 40 mph sling them over the car and hit a front door. We had it down and night after night we would terrorize innocent peaceful citizens with our bottle rocket attacks. This one particular night we were on a roll. We had hit this one house at least 3 or 4 or more times. Finally Jimmy wanted to get it really good, so we stopped right in front of the house. Now this house was right off the street, no more than 20’ from the front door to the street. Jimmy lit the bottle rocket, slung it out the door with a big boom. Next thing I hear is Jimmy screaming “Go! He’s got a gun!” I needed no further prodding and off we went in a flash with a loud bang behind us. I don’t know what gods were watching over us that day but I do want to thank them for not giving that guy a real gun like a .44 magnum or something similar. When our hearts calmed down and we were well enough away we checked it out and right behind the door post on the driver’s side we found the bullet hole. If it had been a larger caliber I might not be here today writing up this piece.

But there were other things as well. There was that one time me and Jimmy were driving downtown in the quite early hours after midnight but before dawn. Isn’t that when all the fun stuff happens? Well there we were and for once Jimmy was driving while we ate those little round white powder donuts that we all love. Well I look out the window and there is this guy walking down the street and being as we had no bottle rockets I leaned out the window and pegged him in the back of the head with a white powered donut. Jimmy takes off, only to get caught by the next red light. Me laughing my ass off, Jimmy cussing me out threatening to kick me out of the all the while that poor fella was chasing us down on foot. I never laughed so hard and Jimmy never cussed me so hard, good times.

And those that know me now, if you want to complain about how fast I drive, or how I take my driving to the edge, well that might be Jimmy’s fault, or at least I blame him. All those many night driving at breakneck speeds down deserted roads, the bootleg turns on narrow twisty roads, I can’t remember how many times we were airborne or sideways. Never really understood why we raced down those dark and silent roads at 3 am with our lights off. Yeah we used the excuse, “so the cops wouldn’t see us”, but really there was only one way in and one way out so did it really matter? And if you didn’t know it a Datsun 310 GX WILL do 110 mph and yes you can make it from South Pittsburgh to Soddy Daisy in under 30 minutes. And yes at 110 I took that Datsun 310 off on the side of the interstate as I passed those struggling 18 wheelers. I think this might be the only time I saw Jimmy go white as a ghost. Like everything else we did, we took our driving right to the edge.

On the edge is where we lived, with our barely contained rage right there with us. The arcades we got kicked out of, chasing people down for tailgating or throwing snowballs at our car. We lived with our rage, we let if feed off of each other and we channeled our energy in a single focused direction. We were always there for each other and through each other we survived that turbulent time between being a teenager and being an adult. My sister still to this days laughs at me and wonders how I made it out of my youth alive. Well Jennifer you don’t know the half of it, so many stories, so many moments, Jimmy and I took it to the edge every single day, every single moment of our life.

Jimmy for just a few short years we were inseparable and I always look back at that time with a smile on my face and wicked glee in my heart. We faced the challenges head on and took the world by storm. Might not have always been right or even legal, but together we faced the world.