When I was younger, like many of you, I loved to build things. Sometimes they look ragged, with wires and pipes sticking out all over the place. I was also low on cash, so the likelihood of my hacked together creations functioning consistently was always a little low as they were hobbled together with anything I could find.
One day, I decided what I really wanted was a go-cart, so I built one. I scavanged an old lawn mower for parts, using it’s wheels and motor. Imagine a wood vehicle (never a good idea) filled with electronics, pipes, and bent screws jutting out everywhere. Most importantly, this vehicle had a horn. I used the buzzer from a old fire alarm.
In was actually pretty awesome. The neighborhood kids and I got a lot of use out of it. It could approach a reasonable speed, though not so fast that we’d hurt ourselves. It was easy enough to steer, though you definitely had sore arms afterwards from forcing the front axle right and left. One time I took it out on a bigger road. Many horns were honked.
One night, while I was out watching the midnight release of Star Wars, the old fire alarm started buzzing. The midnight dew set it off. Well, after it had been beeping for a while it woke up my Mother. She sleepily trotted over to my work side of the backyard, knowing exactly what it was, intending to rip out the batteries.
Right when she got close enough, a man in head gear turned the corner and yelled “FREEZE!” He held her back, not letting her get any closer. She tried to explain she knew what it was, but at this point the bomb squad had already closed off my entire block. There were around twenty vehicles outside. They proceeded to ignore my Mother and ‘disarm’ the bomb. To be fair, this thing was a hacked together collection of wires and pipes.
Once they were convinced there wasn’t a threat, they headed home, letting everyone get back to sleep. I, of course, was blissfully unaware, spending my night being sorely disappointed by Anakin’s stupidity.
The next evening after school, two officers stepped onto our doormat and rang our bell. I answered, surprised, and my parents let them in. I then spent the next two hours getting lectured. They asked if I had any desire to harm anyone, I said I did not. They asked if I had unfiltered access to the internet. My father explained to them that he had tried to install parental controls, but I had just gotten around them every time (MAC address spoofing FTW).
Satisfied, they left, and left me a bit frightened at the time. But I suppose now it’s a good story, and I learned an important lesson, always live a life of action. Even if something accidentally feels bad in the moment, don’t let that discourage you, usually it will turn into a good thing, even if it’s just a good story. As they say, at the end of you life you regret the things you didn’t do, not the things you did.