If you google the expression “it’s all fun and games” you will find these top three hits:

It’s all fun and games until someone loses a weiner

It’s all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye


I don’t have the courage nor need, frankly, to choose any of the above choices because I have  statistically significant first hand experience in this area.

When Chris was younger, he had  a sort of maniacal tendancy to get wound up and spun out – he had ADD and as we went about adjusting his meds and later when he stopped taking them completely, there were times when “he had an idea” and would try it out to his own great amusement. Stress on ‘his’.

Like this afternoon when he got the idea to hail a cab just to ask the guy what time it was. He texted me:

C: Haha I just flagged a cab, then this idea of only asking the driver what the time was came to me, so I did. I then told him I was kidding but he is laughing about it saying I was very convincing. Funny idea I think though.

M: If you don’t get shot by the next guy.

Like the time he and his best friend Justin decided that they would use the money they had earned at their jobs at the Pharmacy to buy an electric utility cart like the ones we use at the university.  I know that every other parent reading this is now thinking – why in God’s name would you let your teenager work at a pharmacy?, but Justin’s very responsible mom worked there, and she paid them well and Chris could walk there from the house, which, for a full-time working mom is appealing- child care and his own allowance.

The boys apparently searched for the cart for weeks on Craigslist, unbeknownst to me of course, found it,  paid $300 which they divided in two,  and borrowed a trailor hitch from “the creepy guy at work”.  By the time I got home, Chris and Justin were trying to figure out how to get the cart down off the trailer. Some of the neighbors (our extremely tolerant friends) were also outside watching the progress of the unloading. I pulled the car to the curb and after stating sternly  “We will talk about this later” went inside to start dinner.

Soon, Chris and Justin were careening around the neighborhood in this utility cart that was both not street-legal, and without working brakes.  They were 16 or 17 and had just gotten their drivers’ licenses. They had attended a west valley driving school the proprietor of which we think we saw on the news recently  accused of sexual improprieties with teenage drivers.  (But I am getting side tracked – that’s another “Its all fun and games story” for another time.)

I was pretty mad. Fuming, I went inside to make dinner. I was chop chop chopping vegetables on the cutting board on the kitchen counter when I heard a really loud reverberating crash.

I looked up and saw Chris and Justin had driven headfirst into the cinderblock gate posts and the post was nearly falling over – it had shifted 90 degrees on its axis, and the metal gate which used to be held neatly in its embrace, was open with no prayer of ever shutting again. And they were laughing. They were doubled over at the waist laughing, tears were coming out of their eyes and coughing for breath. The realization that they could have also gone headfirst into the gate was far  less present in my brain that the rage about the gate. I know, I never said I was a good  parent. I ran outside, sputtering with rage (in my white apron with eggplants and peppers on it, waving my chopping knife).

“What do you two think you are doing?”

I screamed, not caring that my other neighbors were trying to have their own quiet dinners.

“That thing is going away tonight. Make it go away and I never want to see it again!”

(While writing this, I have been texting Chris to find out the pieces of the story that I don’t have.)

M: How did you get rid of it? And who took it?

C: You made us take it away so we went to the pharmacy and tied it to a tree. Someone stole it. After towing it, with me on the back to steer it down the street at 8:30PM.

Several years later, as I was getting the house ready to sell, I was in the garage clearing it out when I noticed a big dent in the corner of the water heater enclosure which was in the garage.

And so if you want to know how the expression “It’s all fun and games” ends, it goes something like this:

It’s all fun and games until Chris and Justin steer the non-street legal utility vehicle into the main gate and into the wall in the garage, then drive it down the street to the pharmacy and tie it to the tree until someone steals it.

Electric cart



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