This post was updated on .
This memory recalls two teenage friends, a garden spray gun and me, in my idiot years. The friends were Frank Dominey and Andy Gordon, friends almost forgotten in the mists of time. The water spray gun was one that belonged to my Father. I always viewed that spray gun as something of beauty, it was made of brass with a nozzle that could alter the strength of the spray from a gentle mist to a powerful jet. In the Summer of 1960 it was the powerful jet setting that was often used to soak me by whichever of my older Siblings was using the gun. They can be blamed for the inspiration for the prank that came to me later, together with the fact that both Frank and Andy's Dads also owned garden water spray guns.
I hatched a plan that involved the three of us filling the boredom void of early summer evenings with water gun attacks on unsuspecting car drivers. We obtained an empty cardboard box that we wrapped to look like a parcel, and left it where it would be noticed by a motorist. We then hid in a nearby stream that would act as both a water supply and as an escape route, and then we waited. I'd set strict rules, no attack on women or the elderly, only men. Before long a car stopped and a man got out, he went to the box to investigate and........whoosh...... the full force of three jets of water soaked him and laughing loudly we were away. We ran as fast as our fourteen year old legs could carry us and no one followed. We had got away with it, the prank had worked. In the weeks that followed we repeated the prank in different places and we did it again the following summer. In the end we did have someone who gave chase successfully and the one of us who was caught got a beating. It wasn't me, for I'd ran to safety and was hiding at my then girlfriends house.
What is the point of this story? The answer is there is no point, for not everything has to have a purpose. One thing that came out of it is that some people noticed the antics of the three youngsters who so enjoyed a prank. One of those people was a village hero, a giant in both size and personality to the kids who'd watched him hit six after six on the cricket green. His name was Sid Stevens and he'd soon labelled us, "Bonehead, Happy and Boss," which was the title of a popular Saturday night TV show. He called Frank "Bonehead", Andy was "Happy" and I was labelled "Boss". We were flattered, despite the fact the TV series was about three inept would be villains. Big Sid Stevens had noticed us, and we had been given a name, we were almost a gang!
Time passes, my idiot years passed as well. I lost touch with Frank almost fifty years ago. I have not seen Andy for three decades but I was best man at his Wedding. Wherever they are now, I wish them well. As for big Sid Stevens, in part he had it right, and for years to come he would greet me on a Friday night with the words, "Here comes the Boss", for that was what I became. To dozens of people in the sixties, seventies and early eighties I was their popular and I hope, respected Boss, I know I made a difference to some of their lives and that's something that makes me proud. Looking back, I realise I was honing my leadership skills in those long ago days of, "Bonehead, Happy and Boss", perhaps they weren't my Idiot years after all.