- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
When you were growing up, did you ever have one of those friends where everything always seems to be competition? Competition about the stupidest little things.
When I was growing up, I had a friend just like that… a close friend. I suppose that it’s common with boys. But it always was competition with Steve, (not his real name by the way).
We had moved into a new neighborhood when I was around 13 years old. Steve lived a couple of blocks away, so we eventually became good friends. We would always hang out together. Even played on the same baseball little league team.
But no matter what, it was a competition.
If we had kites, his kite had to go higher. If we fished, he always wanted to have the most fish. If I pitched, he wanted to be a pitcher. If I was playing short stop, that was the position he wanted.
The first girl that I asked out on a date, he immediately wanted to ask her out on a date as well. In fact, he did. I probably would have been angry about it but I just knew that’s how he was.
For some reason, looking back on it, I never got upset about any of the competition stuff at all. I sometimes remember some of the crazy stuff we would get into and it still brings a smile.
I have always been curious if all the competition was just natural boy stuff.
Do girls go through the same thing? Do they have those rivalries and yet can still remain friends?
Nowadays, I have heard the term “Frenemy”, but I think that applies more towards a rival that you are forced to associate with.
Steve was truly a close friend that I would have risked life or limb for… in fact, I did a couple of times. But that’s a story for another post.
So jump ahead a couple of years, to senior year in high school. Steve and I are still close friends and we both were car-head types with pretty good mechanical talent. At least we had the curiosity and the will to just jump right in to any project.
Steve had just purchased a 1970 Chevelle SS. A gorgeous car, black with silver stripes, 396/402 engine, open chamber heads, cowl induction hood, all the engine goodies.
A true muscle car in every sense of the word. He had bought the car with most of the work completed already, but he also added some improvements.
Of course, he bought his car right after I had just finished my car…
I had spent all my extra time and money for almost a year on a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T. White with black strobe stripes on the side.
Even when it was parked, the car looked like it needed to have a speeding ticket.
Engine was a 440 Magnum that I had bored out to 506 Cubic Inches of insanity. 850 Double Pumper Holley, Ported and Polished, High Lift cam, and all the rest of the goodies.
The second time that I ever drove the Charger, just casually down a city street, I got stopped by a cop.
All he did was walk up to me, I rolled down the window, and he said.. “You do not need to be driving that car”, turned around and got back in his car and left.
Of course, talk started at my high school of the “Car Race”. Steve’s Chevelle against my Charger R/T.
It was a pretty small high school at the time so those sort of things seem to really take on a life of their own.
The race was scheduled. It was to be at 8:00 on a Friday Morning on this perfectly straight road about 2 miles from the high school.
Everyone knew exactly where it was. That morning, I drive out to where the race is going to happen, half expecting to find just Steve with his car and maybe a couple of our friends.
I get there and I shit you not, there are cars lined up the entire length of the road, both sides. I would guess at least 100 cars.
And there’s Steve at the start line, just grinning his crazy grin, jumping up and down and waving his hands. What a doof!
So we line up the cars and wait for the start. The signal horn beeps and we take off in a cloud of burning squealing tires. We’re driving side by side, down the road, laughing like crazy while driving several magnitudes above the speed limit.
My car pulls ahead by a couple of car lengths and that’s how it ends. With the Charger winning. Steve couldn’t wait to tell me how it was because of this or that and “wait until next time..”. We were both laughing like crazy lunatics the whole time. What a couple of goofballs.
Crazy behavior with the foolishness of youth.
We never did race again. Steve sold his car about 6 months later. My car got impounded after being stopped by a Highway patrol and I had to sell the car to pay off all the fines.
About 5 years later, after high school graduation and into my last year of college, I came back to my home town and happened to run into another friend.
The conversation was the usual stuff, nothing seemed to change…how is so and so doing…do you remember when…blah, blah.
So I ask about Steve. The friend looks at me for about a minute, not saying a word. Finally he tells me that Steve died about a year before. It happened at some construction site where some equipment had shifted and rolled on top of him.
I couldn’t even say a word. I just got in my car and left back for college. That small town just never seemed the same after that.
So here’s to crazy Steve and his fine ride, that Chevelle SS.
He would have been 52 today, Feb 15th.