On The Road With Johnny B ..A Mustang, A Wooden Spoon And A Dumb Friend
Lets start by saying some names have been changed to protect the dumb. As a young lad in the late 1970's I had two things on my mind. Girls and Fast Cars. My Speeding Ticket Magnet at the time was a 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 with a 4 speed Hurst, headers, quick disconnect mufflers for racing, Edelbrock manifold and gas drinking Holley Carburetor.
The Boss 351 Stang with it's Race Ready 351 Cleveland was a Torque Monster capable of kicking Arse on Small and Big Blocks alike. Putting such a Squishy Handling Road Torpedo in the hands of an 18 year old is something of both legend and disaster.
The Ronkonkoma Long Island Rumor Mill of the day had me having the quickest bomb on the street, except of course my arch nemesis Jack. Jack thru my now a blur teenage years had beaten me at everything. Girls, cars and cool friends Jack always came out ahead of me. A real bruise to my 18 year old testosterone filled brain. Jack's car of choice was a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible with a built up 455 V8.
The Gauntlet was thrown down and it was time to race. Of course 1/4 mile at a service road that was being built on the south side of the Long Island Expressway. Ahhhh the romance of burning rubber and shifting shoulder breaking Hurst stick was in my stupid brain something from the movie Vanishing Point
The problem with these lofty plans was I had to after midnight sneak my rumbling wall shaking Boss 351 tire ripper out of the garage without my 5 foot tall Ninja Warrior Italian Mom catching me. My Mom not only had bionic ears but was a hitman with a Wooden Spoon. Adding to what was sure to be debacle was I being assisted by my Uber Dumb "Mimbo" friend Mike. Did you ever have a friend despite his best intention due to his DUH!! you always ended up getting egg on your face. Yep that was Mike..
The James Bond like plan was to sneak into the garage. Disconnect the header mufflers, advance the timing then push the Mustang down the driveway ultra quiet as not to awaken Momma Marie. I said that Was the plan knowing damn well that starting the Stang would produce earthquake type rumblings that would wake the dead.
Trying to be stealth like and with Duh Mike in the drivers seat I dropped the mufflers (not wanting to handling steaming hot mufflers at the race) advanced the timing and now it was time to gingerly push the car out of the garage till..
Me: Mike what ever you do don't start the car (in a whisper)
Duh Mike: Huh what?
Me: Going to push it don't start it
Duh Mike: Huh what?
Me: UGH!! Don't start the car !!
Duh Mike: Oh start the car OK
Well Houston we have ignition!! The horrific shaking not only shook the house like a 747 was landing on the roof but vibrated the China closet open flinging dishes out on to the floor.
Being young and dumb and knowing I was going to face The Wooden Spoon Warrior I shoved Mike to the side. Rocketed the car out of the garage and burned rubber down my street. Hey if I was going to get in trouble at least the race of the decade should take place. My final site in my rear view mirror was my Mom with Wooden Spoon in hand, rollers in her hair and fuzzy slippers running after the car yelling "Get that car back here now!!"
Arrived at the race. All I could think of was how much doom I was going to face when I got back home. Still the impending doom didn't stop me from racing. Like the scene from American Graffiti a crowd had gathered.
Both Jack and I went to the starting line. A tube topped girl dropped the flag and I launched the Boss 351 like a pro smoking the 455 Firebird by a good 5 car lengths at the finish. I was King Of The World in my teen boy stupid head. Women loved me, songs were written about my epic victory and I was a legend..Yeah sure
Now it was time for the Legend to go home and face Marie and punishment. Pushed the car into the garage. Entered the house. Nobody awake and thought would go to my Fortress of Solitude my room till the morning..whew for now
Open my bedroom door and like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie I see my Mom in the dark smoking a Pall Mall. The glow of the cigarette dimly lighting the anger on her face and her reached out hand. With her anger filled voice she yelled "Keys Now and I hope it was worth it you idiot"
As she left my room a hard crack of the wooden spoon landed on my shoulder with it's usual smack causing both pain and embarrassment. Lord I miss my Mom
The question that comes to mind is was a few fleeting moments of glory worth it considering the danger, a dumb friend and an angry wooden spoon carrying Italian Mother? Oh stop you know it was..