Guide The Outhouse Halloween Caper

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In those days it was unheard of to have more than one toilet in a house. One of the most popular tricks for pranksters on Halloween was upsetting outhouses. Kenny and I did not usually partake in this pastime because it was too mundane, took no imagination, and anyone could do it — we needed more of a challenge.

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Fortunately we did not have long to wait for the golden opportunity to appear. After a few beers he started bragging in a strong German accent about his outhouse. It went something like this:. We knew that Mr. It was a fancy facility with curtains and plaster and wallpaper inside. What he had done to foil the tricksters was place 2 inch angle irons all the way up each outside corner of the outhouse and set each in a large block of concrete.

This called for extreme measures. We considered two options. So we decided on option number two — sawing the angle irons. We knew Mr. Robert and his wife would attend the bingo game at St. We talked two of our buddies into helping with the operation. We spotted Mr. After about an hour of labor and several broken saw blades we finally sawed through the angle irons. We then gave the outhouse a shove — and over she went! Later that evening we stopped at the local gas station and the owner Jim Jones told us that Mr. Robert had driven in squealing his tires and fuming mad.

Jim told us we had better go home and keep quiet about this if we wanted to live. After this incident Mr. Robert appeared to be a changed man. He never did set the outhouse back up, no more bragging, and seemed to have lost his spirit. It looked as if this outhouse was the most important thing in his life.

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Seeing this made me feel somewhat remorseful and sorry for him. But then you should never go into a bar and challenge young people that way.

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I firmly believe that many teenage brains are late in developing the part that controls judgement and promotes survival. Here are some examples that I believe support this theory:. Kenny, Mahlon and I had an agreement that when we passed on the road driving in opposite directions, instead of greeting each other by waving, we would swap lanes and pass each other on the wrong side. This was our way of saying hello — also it would scare the bejesus out of any one riding with us.

It worked quite well except for the following notable exceptions:. Another time I saw a big red dump truck in the wrong lane coming straight at me at a high rate of speed. In order to keep from hitting it head-on I took to the ditch. I learned later that it was Mahlon, who had just been hired by Herman Miller to drive a big red dump truck. One evening Kenny and I were slowly cruising around downtown Akron. Kenny was driving and we were each slowly sipping on a bottle of beer. One of the city policemen spotted us and pulled us over.

Now I have to explain that Kenny had somewhat of a stuttering problem. The policeman looked at Kenny in disbelief. Another thing our teenage brains told us to do was always try to scam the system. Here are two examples:. In every gas station and bar there was a peanut dispensing machine.

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Each machine had a glass bowl about the size of a soccer ball full of salted peanuts. Beneath the bowl was a lever along with a coin slot and dispenser chute. To get a handful of peanuts you put a penny in the slot and moved lever to the right. Then put your hand below the chute, moved the handle to the left and the peanuts would fall into your hand. We then put a paper sack under the chute and moved the lever back and forth until the sack was full or the machine was empty.

Another thing every restaurant and bar had was a juke box with small kiosks at the bar for selecting songs. These were hooked to the main machine by 3 wires. We learned that we could take a straight pin, puncture the insulation of two of these wires, and when we moved the pin rapidly in and out, a series of clicks could be heard over at the main machine.

A little practice with this setup would allow us to play every song on the jukebox — for no money! When the man came to empty the money bucket on the jukebox, he would look around suspiciously at the customers because the money box would be almost empty, even though the counter showed that hundreds of songs had been played. That made our undeveloped teenage brains happy.

When I graduated from high school in my first job was at a strip mine in Deerfield working summers and weekends while I attended Kent State University. There I drove a dump truck, ran a D7 bulldozer, welded bucket teeth for the power shovels and dragline, repaired tires, set dynamite, and other odd jobs. At times the company would buy surplus equipment from ordinance depots in various parts of the country and I would ferry these back to the mine.

The first summer I was put on a dragline as an oiler. A dragline is a large machine with a foot boom that sits on top of the mine pit and uncovers the seam of coal. This one was run by a 2 man crew — an operator and an oiler. The oiler keeps the dragline fueled and lubricated, builds the ramp on top of the high wall where the machine sits, keeps the light plant running at night, and does various other jobs.

James Osborne (Author of The South Bay)

This was exciting work for me but difficult physically because my body never got used to the change in hours, and I always felt fatigued. The dragline operators were very skilled at their job but were a wild bunch of individuals. For them sex was not a spectator sport.

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This was quite a bit to handle for a naive 17 year old kid with a strict Catholic background. One night my operator ran out of matches and could not light his cigarette. Now he had 5 flaming fingers which he held up to his grinning face and lit the cigarette. In the dark he looked like the devil himself when those flaming fingers lit up his evil-looking face.

Sometimes when I was working the night shift one of my buddies would visit me.

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  5. My favorite thing was to have them ride with me on the D7. Riding on a dozer at night in a strip mine is quite a scary experience to someone who has never done it. I would push a load of dirt over the high wall, dropping the blade over the edge. The heavy blade would cause the dozer to pitch forward giving the sensation that you were about to take a 70 foot plunge into the dark abyss riding a 26 ton machine.