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Carroll: What were we thinking?
David Carroll
David Carroll is a longtime anchorman at WRCB television in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Now and then, you'll remember something you did as a kid, and it makes you say, "What was I thinking?" Like when I used to make myself a mayonnaise sandwich. I did this more than once, many times in fact.

I grew up in a grocery store, for goodness sake! I was surrounded by freshly sliced, free lunch meats, and canned ones too.  It would have taken almost no energy to slap some ham on that mayonnaise sandwich, yet I didn’t do it. 

It made me wonder if anyone else looks back on their youth, and shakes their head at the dumb stuff we did.  As I posed this question, it opened a can of worms, which thankfully I never did. I even learned that there is a name for the mayo sandwich: a snowball (white on white). I had no idea. One friend said my mayo sandwiches were too much. “Why bother with the bread?” she asked.

Other folks admitted to rare delicacies, like sandwiches made up of ketchup, peanut butter ‘n mustard, pineapple, mayo and cheese, white bread soaked in Coke, dipping potato chips in pickle juice, raw potatoes and burnt scrambled eggs, eating frozen orange juice concentrate out of the can, eating lumps of brown sugar, dipping hot dogs in sugar, and mixing cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter, then eating it on a spoon.  I mean, why go to the trouble of making a toast?

A 74-year-old friend admits that a mayo sandwich is still a guilty pleasure. She said, “When I was a kid, Mama didn't buy junk food, so my so-called snacks were carrots, cabbage, and lettuce.”

At least I didn’t do what my friend Steve is owning up to. He said, “When I was five, I would eat biscuits with mayonnaise. One summer day I put one in my pocket and played. When I got hungry a few hours later I ate it. Bad decision.”

Barbara courageously admits, “I used to sneak into the fridge and eat raw hot dogs. Mom caught me once and said I would get worms! Did it stop me? Of course not.” Thankfully, she lived to tell the tale.

My friend Cynthia was perfectly normal, as you’re about to see. She said, “I would dip potato chips in vanilla ice cream and I pretended my name was Susan. I always wore purple socks on December 9 (Donny Osmond’s birthday).” Didn’t we all? Well, not the Susan part.

Others confess to youthful experiments like eating dog food, and sampling a dog biscuit.  I guess this validates those studies that say the teenage brain is not fully formed.

Joyce bravely shared this memory from her teen years: “I ate margarine and Crisco. For dessert, I would mix cocoa powder and sugar and pretend it was snuff.” Joyce, you sure knew how to attract the boys, didn’t you?

My friend Michelle says she can’t eat Hershey bars these days. Here’s why: “I always snuck a piece of dads candy, and then one day he replaced it with Ex Lax. That’s when I kicked the chocolate habit.”

When you’re young, as Travis Tritt used to sing, you think you’re ten feet tall and bulletproof. That’s why my friend Sandra and her cousin thought it would be great to roll a tire down their steep yard and run and jump through it as it rolled.

We also rode in mile-long station wagons with no seat belts, bouncing from door to door on cross-country trips. Plus we were often human projectiles in the back of a pick-up truck, usually with about eight other young’uns.

Who can forget the prank phone calls (“Is your refrigerator running? Yes. Well you’d better go catch it!”).  Now that the statute of limitations has run out, Linda admits, “We had a really grouchy neighbor. We called a taxi service to his house late one night and asked them to come to his door to help load up his luggage.” Now you know why Caller ID was invented.

Kids were making homemade dummies to lay in the middle of the road. They would stick their tongue to the frozen fence post, experiment with electrical outlets, and refill their aunt’s vodka bottle with water.  What could possibly go wrong?

This was long before childproof caps were on prescription pill bottles, which were often well within our reach.  How DID we survive?

Does anyone else remember running around barefoot outside, and then using gasoline to remove the tar off your feet? My friend Debra is coming clean about that.

How many times did your mom say, “Good night, in the morning! WHAT were y’all THINKING?”

Gosh, didn’t we have it great when we were kids?

David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” a collection of his best stories. You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or