Friday, October 15, 2010

Small Town Elements: Pranks and Rites of Passage

For many many kids, especially small town kids, pranking is a rite of passage.  In small towns, where kids can run around town without raising too much parental suspicion, pranks are a (mostly) harmless way of being devilish.  With Halloween approaching, the tendency for pranks to occur is increasing.  Usually, said pranks involve toilet paper, eggs, soaped windows, shaving cream, or if your kids are a little more monstrous, flaming bags of dog poo.  Kids who do not live in town often have to resort to long range attack pranks, like prank calls, or ordering pizzas to be delivered to people's homes.  With the increase in caller ID and cell phones, these types of pranks have really fallen to the way side.

I have noticed that both pranks and other types of rites of passage tend to vary by location.  For example, where I grew up, our thing was more of a rite of passage and not so much a prank, but it was definitely a bad thing to do.  My area was really a series of small mining towns lumped together to form a school district, so while I went to the Bridgeport area school district, the tiny little town I lived in was actually named Blaine.  Blaine had a post office, and that was about it.  It consisted of lots of really steep hills, and houses spread pretty far apart, so as kids, we never really got to play together much, or run around, because it was not real safe to walk or ride bikes on those windy, hilly roads.  The one bit of trouble that Blaine had to offer was the Viaduct.

The Viaduct is an old bridge that connects US Route 40 up a steep hill, and is one of the oldest most historic bridges in Ohio.  It sits next to the Old S Bridge, an historic site that has recently been renovated and preserved.  The Viaduct was also the best place to scrawl graffiti in the area, because everyone in town used the bridge to get to the mall.  So anyone who was anyone tagged the bridge.
Every few 30 years or so, the bridge gets a fresh coat of paint, and new artists flock to it.  I will neither confirm nor deny that my senior year of high school my friends and I borrowed spray paint from my barn and all put our nicknames on the bridge, but let's just say, if I did do that, that would have been the worst thing I did in high school, so my parents would still consider themselves pretty lucky.

I talked to Hubby about this, and he said here in Kittanning, and surrounding areas, the thing to do is to go "corning".  Apparently, you dry corn, and then you take it and throw it on people's property, on their porches, in their mailboxes, on their yard, etc.  Pretty harmless, more of a nuisance than anything.
Again, Hubby will neither confirm nor deny engaging in this behavior, but again, if this is the worst he did, so be it.

So, what kinds of pranks and/or rites of passage were popular where and when you were growing up.  Not that any of my well behaved readers engaged in them, oh no, just tell me what all the other kids were doing ;)