One time when I was about 13 years old, my foot got caught on the wire connected to the rotating fan in our living room. The fan tipped over and hit me on the head, and my brothers and mother started laughing. The fan hitting my head didn’t particularly hurt, but combined with the laughter, I got upset and started to cry.
Either later that summer, or maybe a year later, I was at camp in upstate New York with my Boy Scout Troop, which was based in Brooklyn. We were playing basketball on this hoop that had a crooked rim that they never straightened in the multiple years we went to this campground, and while chasing after the ball, I slipped on a bunch of small rocks and fell on my ass. Everyone playing started laughing at me.
I got upset, got up, ran at one of my fellow scouts and started throwing — admittedly weak — punches. He was one of the few black scouts in my troop. He wasn’t the only one laughing, and we had always gotten along (in fact, I think we shared a tent during that trip), but for whatever reason, I directed my anger at him. He didn’t hit me back, I quickly calmed down, and we all got back to playing basketball.
A few years ago, I was returning from a bar to my brother’s new apartment, which was right next to a beach. He went up to bed, but I decided, since it was early in the summer, that I wanted to go look at the ocean. I walked down the steps that led from the boardwalk to the sand and stood staring at the water, surely thinking deep, philosophical thoughts. Within like 30 seconds, a jeep pulled up alongside me. It was driven by a cop, and he let me know that people weren’t allowed on the beach after dark. I told him that I wasn’t aware, and said I would return to the boardwalk. I then resumed standing on the beach.
The cop said, “Get moving.” I, with a surprising amount of sass, let the cop know that he was, “Doing real important work.” The cop yelled, “Stay right where you are,” put his car in park, and got out. I had realized the second I informed the cop that he was “Doing real important work” that I had made a bad move. He wrote me a ticket, let me know that when a cop is trying to give me a break, I should probably take it, and told me to have a good night. I walked off the beach, went back to my brother’s apartment, had a beer and went to bed.