It's OK, Fergie - We've Done Bad Things, Too
Oh, Fergie. Things aren't going too well for you right now, are they?
You're no stranger to scandal, but being photographed topless doesn't quite compare to the royal whoopsie of getting caught on video selling access to your ex-husband Prince Andrew for more than $700,000.
But we want you to know that it's OK -- we've all done bad things. None of us has sold access to our exes (not successfully, at least), but none of our pasts are squeaky clean, either.
To prove it, ParentDish editors, writers and other buddies in the office have submitted our shameful tales of youthful transgressions. Our stories are anonymous, though, because if we've learned one thing from you, it's that public humiliation is, well, humiliating.
I streaked the senior picnic held at my high school on our last day of classes. I thought I had totally gotten away with it, until my high school guidance counselor left a message on our home answering machine congratulating me on graduating, reminding me to pick up my cap and gown and noting that the windows of the administrative offices all face the front lawn.
My first week of college I almost got kicked out of my dorm because my suite mate and I got so wasted at a house party that she ended up going to the hospital. I made it through without alcohol poisoning, but we were both on housing probation for the entire semester. The housing guard kept asking me how old I was and I kept yelling "old enough!" until I caved, and, weeping piteously, yelled, "Underage!"
Worst part? I was mortified that after spending my high school years drinking dark ale and gin at pubs in London, I let grain alcohol punch take me down like a baby.
When I was about 7, I wanted to get back at my sister for locking me in my room and telling me I had no friends, so I read her diary aloud at my parents' dinner party.
I was a pretty hot chick in my heyday. So hot that a friend suggested I enter a wet t-shirt contest at a club far away from where we lived. I'd always been a goody-goody and I figured, "What the heck. No one knows me there."
So, there I was, on the stage, and suddenly blinded by dozens of camera flashes. Never occurred to me that anyone would want pictures. As I left the stage after taking 2nd place (the winner took it off, which I refused to do), it hit me. I can never run for president. I became a writer instead, keeping my shirt on ever since.
By the Rules
When I was a little kid, I was so mindful of adult decrees that I would have made a wonderful Hitler Youth member. I remember attending a birthday party when I was 5. As the party wound down, we were shooed out into the backyard to play while the adults prepared the birthday cake. We were told not to come back inside until everything was ready. I also distinctly remember needing to go to the bathroom. Badly. But I was in a conundrum. An adult had passed a strict edict not to re-enter the house. What was I to do? So, like a good little Eva Braun, I didn't question and crapped my pants. And here's the kicker. After I'd done that, I then plucked up the courage to ask to use the bathroom. Naturally, the mother graciously ushered me in. Why on earth I didn't ask before? I have no idea.
When I was in elementary school, my friends and I teased this girl named Felicia and we were mean. Because she was so small we would go up to her and call her "Flea" (yes, as in the bug) to her face. The girl was so traumatized she cried to her dad who reached out to our principal, Mr. Stein. One day Mr. Stein called me and my friends up to his office and gave us this whole lecture and then ordered us to lay off.
How is this for giving your parents a heart attack? Keep in mind, there were no cell phones back then, but when I was a teenager I stayed out until 5 or 6 a.m. and never called home to alert my folks I was OK. I figured they were sleeping and would never notice I was gone. When I did come in, there were my parents waiting up for me! Without saying a word, my mom brushed against me, picked up the phone and called the local police station to alert them to call off the search because I was home safely!
'Da Bomb (Not Really)
When I was a sophomore in college in 1982, I was arrested for threatening to blow up the student union.
It was a joke. I thought.
The editor of the school newspaper put a note in my box in the newsroom (located in the student union) "warning" me that the CIA had severed my brake cables. I responded by putting a note in his box that there was a bomb in his desk that would go off that afternoon.
Being a moron at the age of 19, I thought he would laugh it off the same way I laughed off his note. It didn't dawn on me that you can't afford NOT to take bomb threats in public buildings seriously. He alerted the authorities, but assured them there was probably nothing to worry about, that it was probably just me responding to his earlier gag note.
Police and campus authorities obviously didn't see the humor. I was arrested for disorderly conduct and spent a night in jail before being fined $50 and ordered to go through psychological counseling to make sure I was not a threat to myself or others.
It was the first time I wrote something where my sense of humor got me in trouble. You would think I would have learned by now.
Where There's Smoke ...
When I was 11 years old, I sneaked into the maid's room to smoke her cigarettes and accidentally lit her bed on fire.
This Bud's for ... Me
I was at Busch Stadium watching a Cubs v. Cards game and we were looking for a Band-Aid for my friend's foot because her sandals were giving her blisters. A beer vendor guy offered to get her one, but left his tray of full beers on a table next to us while he went and got a Band-Aid. I stole two beers and ran. In hindsight, I felt horrible. He was so nice and just trying to help, and I screwed him out of two (stadium-priced) beers, which he had to pay for out of his own pocket, I'm sure.
When I was about 10 years old, my friends and I decided we needed money. We devised a plan and, while it worked, it's something that I still feel bad about today:
My friends and I went around our neighborhood one morning and deliberately broke glass bottles on the doorsteps of our elderly neighbors. After waiting an appropriate amount of time, we then knocked on their doors. We told them we'd seen some bad kids break glass on their doorsteps and were worried that they might come out and step on it. Of course, we offered to clean up the mess. Of course, they felt compelled to pay us for our trouble (which we knew they would.) After five or six hits, we had enough money to buy a large bag of candy from the corner store.
Money truly is the root of all evil. I am so ashamed.
Been Caught Stealin'
It was play time during my morning kindergarten class, and it also happened to be show-and-tell day. I can't remember what I brought to share with my fellow 5-year-olds that day, but I will never forget the gorgeous doll a little girl named Mona had tempted the rest of us with.
The doll had a mane of long, shiny black hair and she was wearing a colorful dress that totally sparkled. I don't know what possessed me, but, during play time, I sneaked that doll into my backpack.
Clearly a rookie thief, I immediately told the teacher Mona's doll was missing. I'm not sure if I thought casting the blame on someone else would shield me from trouble, or if I wanted to get caught, but, of course, it was only a matter of time before my bag was searched. Mona got her doll back. I got a harsh talking to from my teacher and mom. But I never stole anything again. In fact, I even get nervous when my kids eat grapes at the grocery store.
Nosy Little Brother
Here's the thing about 6-year-olds: Something that seems like an obviously bad idea to an older person (like, say, a 7-year-old) may seem utterly hilarious to them. And that is why I shoved a puppet head up the nose of my 2-year-old brother.
He and I were playing, unattended (it was the '70s, did you think someone would be watching us?), with the handmade puppets our grandmother had made for us. They were little harlequins on sticks, with puffball shirt buttons and little Styrofoam balls for heads. I pretended to make mine peer up my nostrils (because I was 6 and I knew comedy).
My little brother laughed and did the same thing, only he was genuinely sticking his puppet's face up into boogerland. Well, that was way funnier than what I'd been doing, so I reached over and with a little push, helped that puppet's head all the way up his nose. I thought it would be comic gold, and I was right. We both laughed for minutes on end -- until my brother attempted to pull the puppet out of his nose and yanked its body straight off of its tiny foam head, which still lodged in his nostril.
The puppet head was eventually removed -- after a trip to the ER where doctors had to use mini Jaws of Life to pry open my brother's toddler-sized nostril. And when my mom asked me how it all happened, I just shrugged. "I don't know why he would do something like that." Thirty-plus years later, I felt I finally had to apologize to my brother for the incident, and I did so a few months ago. He had no idea what I was talking about.
I got married really young, and when we got back to the room after the ceremony, we did lines of coke before we came out to the reception. Best part: we kept going back into the room to do more coke throughout the reception.
My husband and his friend were arrested as teens for stealing baseball and Yo! MTV Raps trading cards. (I always think that's hilarious. Who gets busted stealing Yo! MTV Raps cards?) Anyway, the cops let their parents pick their punishments. The pal had to mow some old lady's lawn like three times. My hubby had to write an essay on why it's bad to steal (which his dad actually graded -- he gave him a B-), was grounded forever and had to do a huge list of tasks. The police took one look at his punishment list, and said, "That'll do."
When I was maybe 6 or 8 years old, I made a crib for one of my dolls out of a Kotex cardboard box my mom had thrown out. I was happily playing in front of my house when she came home from work and repo'ed my baby's crib in a hurry.
In kindergarten, I got into a car with a stranger. I had skinned my knee at school and when we got off the bus at our stop, I told my older brother (a big second grader!) that it hurt too much to walk and that he needed to help me. He impolitely declined and sashayed off to our house, which was around the bend and out of sight of the bus stop.
I figured he'd tell my mom what happened. Enough time passed with nothing happening that when a car arrived at the bus stop and the nice woman inside asked why I was crying and if I wanted to get in, I leapt at the chance.
She lived a few houses away on the intersecting street, but I'd never met her before. She fed me peanut butter and jelly and tried to get my name, my parents names, my address or phone number out of me, but I was only 4 years old (late birthday) and hadn't memorized it yet. She finally pieced it together and found my mom in the phone book. Mom came and got me and I got a nice ol' spanking and was told never to do it again. And I didn't.
Shot Myself in the Foot
In true comic book fashion, my younger days were spent scaling walls, flying through air and dodging bullets. None of those scenarios ever worked out for me, but, alas, my "Id" told me to do it.
I was always a studious kid, getting straight A's even in my firearms safety class. However, that wonderful knowledge would be remiss in this good ol' boy. It was my 15th birthday and my father had relented to all my prodding and purchased a .22 caliber rifle for me. I will never forget it -- I was so proud to not only have a rifle (how cool is that?), but also to have my father's trust.
The next morning, I promptly went outside and began target practice. After a few rounds I had a misfire. Of course, no big deal ... just eject the bullet and put a new one in, right? No, of course not. The old "Id" said we must see what happens when we set the bullet on the ground and fire another one into it. Well, needless to say, it was not a pretty sight. I found that these things are better done at a distance (if at all) and not from a couple feet away. Yep, that misfired bullet didn't have any problem going off that time, and embedded the casing square into my kneecap. As I rolled around on the ground crying for my mommy, I decided the mystery was solved -- I was definitely no superhero.
(Too Much) Sex and the City
I dated two guys at the same workplace in the early days of voicemail. After a beer-soaked evening, I called to leave a romantic message for one of them and, because they had the same given name (both used nicknames), left a message for the other one. Needless to say, I didn't date either of them much longer. I guess I had a thing for names and dating multiple guys, because later on I was dating three men named Ed. That also became very confusing when my roommate could not take a decent message. (I think that's why I had to leave New York City!)
Sing for Your Supper
A 17-year-old me gets a fake ID and goes with a friend to a club. The club is closed, so we go to a French restaurant. We didn't have a lot of money, so we figured we would just get coffee. While there, someone jumps up on the bar and starts to dance, and the patrons are aghast.
I was really hungry, so I say under my breath, "Wow, for an omelet, I would do that." The waiter overhears me and pulls me up to the bar. I jumped up and danced and got my free omelet. Oh, and the other patrons at the restaurant give me dollar bills and so I ended up with $40 at the end of the night.
Catch Me If You Can
I hid in my closet and stayed there even while I heard my frantic mother and grandmother searching for me -- even when they were searching right there in the closet! I have no idea why I did this or what finally lured me out, but there you have it: Me, at age 3 or 4, seeing my effect upon the world.
Related: Boy, 2, Smokes Two Packs a Day
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.