Ever regretted missing a chance for some harmless revenge? I'm not talking about some idiotic act of violent aggression. My basic rule is only get even if you can eliminate the possibility of any serious consequences.
I've let some golden opportunities slip through my fingers. Like the time I found myself sitting behind this chap at the beach who, 10 years earlier, had vandalized my bike.
There he was, the proverbial sitting duck. Even better, he decided to go for a run with his mate, leaving all his beach clothes and valuables wrapped in a towel.
All I had to do was pick up his gear and drop it in the ocean. Not particularly clever, but highly effective.
But something stopped me.
You convince yourself that acting in this way is not mature.
This time, I was not going to miss my chance.
Let me paint the picture. It was a long weekend and we were headed for the beach.
I had the family in the family car. It was 30 degrees celsius, but as they say on the weather report, it 'felt like 35.'
We were headed for car park. 400 spots for 2,000 families.
Our approach to car parking is not unique. We tend to circle for hours, thinking that if we just will a spot to appear, one will magically open up.
On our first lap, 20 meters in, a space opens up. How good was this?
It's our day kids, it's our day.
They had no idea what I meant, but this was a major victory. It was a sign that everything else would go right for the day.
Just as I was swinging in, a solidly built fella walked out in front of our car.
"Drive on, thanks mate, just drive on."
He sounded official, but didn't look it. My wife and I concluded he was probably reserving a spot for the kids road train tailing us.
Fair enough. Maybe I'd get lucky again.
My instincts were solid. Directly opposite, another spot appeared. And again I was in poll position.
"Sorry mate, just drive on, just drive on."
You have got to be kidding. The exact same bloke, standing with his arms out, blocking another spot, daring us to run him down.
"Sorry pal, reserved... drive on. I don't want any trouble."
Reserved??? This is a car park, you can't buy spots and reserve them in advance.
My wife, who hates confrontation, let him have it. Our friend didn't blink. In fact, he just kept grinning.
"I don't want any trouble love, just drive on."
This was my cue.
"Mate, it's very simple, we won't give you any trouble, just let us have our spot."
To his credit, our opponent stayed on-message.
"I don't want any trouble, just drive on with your nice family."
Maybe it was his general arrogance and rudeness. Maybe it was the 'nice family' taunt, but we couldn't let him do this. In hindsight, it occurred to me that people like this know only one way. It's how the school bully functions when he's all grown up.
"OK pal, if you're not moving, we're calling the police."
On paper, we held all the cards. But then I made a very stupid mistake. The growing cacophony of car horns and abuse behind me was building. Under pressure, I blinked. I moved my car to the side to allow the wall of vehicles to pass. And the moment I did, his other group of friends slipped into the spot.
Then the police arrived. It was now our word against his.
We didn't have a leg to stand on. The police even made my wife erase all the shots she had taken of this bloke barricading car spaces.
Our enemy was gloating. As she deleted each shot, they stood behind the cop and gave my wife the finger.
Right on cue, my 3- week-old baby decided the situation was about to get even worse. Early bowel movements are particularly potent, but this was like nothing I'd ever seen.
Its texture was a bright runny orange, it's movement, like a torrential river from her bum. It breached the borders of her nappy in seconds (The one's that 'don't leak').
Within five minutes, I had filled an entire plastic bag with more than 10 diapers.
Our enemy was rolling on the ground with laughter.
We had to surrender. I said...
"Let's not ruin this for the kids, let's just go and enjoy some rides."
The enemy sat down to their picnic in the middle of the grassed medium strip. We put the bag of agent orange into the boot and headed off to find a car spot.
Then, an idea dropped.
You know, it sounds petty, but how can we let him get away with that... we could actually utilize that bag of poo.
The good wife's eyes lit up.
We got back to the car about an hour later. A 40-degree boot had the contents of the poo bag steaming.
Very carefully, I removed the bag and made a long incision down the side. Not so deep that everything would instantly spill, but big enough to allow a good release upon impact.
Our enemy had not moved from their picnic spot. As I started the car, my mind began to negotiate with me.
What have you got to gain from this? You are 41 years old, this is just immature. Forget it Adam, just move on.
No... No... No... No!!! This had to be done.
The set up was beautiful. We had a row of cars between us and the enemy's picnic spot.
Our main target was right in my sights. I put the window down. I released the nappy bomb skywards. Through the air it sailed, the height was perfect, it almost seemed to hover above him... before opening up.
I'd have loved to have stayed to see the reaction, but that's the type of behavior that gets you caught.
We had won. And it felt good. Very, very good.
In one foul throw I had wiped away all the missed opportunities of years gone by.
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