How to Crash a Car While Not Driving


  1. Scream. [1]
  2. Start a collection of model airplanes that your brother will rip into piles of wings, broken propellers, and non-descriptive metal bits you’ll still find in your bedroom carpet three years later.
  3. Feed your pet goldfish three tater-tots with ketchup and Dijon mustard.
    • Listen to the sound something smaller than your thumb makes when it splashes in toilet water.
    • Listen to your father teach you about the circle of life.[2]
  4. Enter a spelling contest in fifth grade and forget how to spell coriander.[3]
  5. Carry around a cell phone, which doesn’t have a battery, for a total of three years.
    • Don’t forget to pretend to text your friends who have cell phones with batteries.
  6. Dye your hair one shade darker brown instead of blue[4] in junior high because you’re scared of looking like “one of those trashy girls”[5] with the colored hair.
  7. Find every gift your mother buys you to be repulsive, including the things you asked for.[6]
  8. Ask the lanky guy in your French class to teach you to play “Happy Birthday” on a guitar.
    • Ignore his hand when he brushes it across your breast.
  9. Google: “Does it hurt?”
    • [Delete Internet Search History?] [Yes]
  10. Ask for a car at fifteen and throw an absolute bitch fit when your father says you can’t handle the responsibility.
    • Listen to Avril Lavigne, Green Day, Simple Plan, The Ramones, (insert self-destructive and punkass artist/band name here), etc.
  11. Tell a boy you have bigger plans than he can imagine and prove it by rambling words that taste like science.[7]
  12. Apply to out-of-state universities under the assumption that your parents made a college fund for you when you were a kid.
    • Cry when you’re accepted into Vanderbilt but can’t afford to go.[8]
  13. Understand that none of these events are connected, but you still wear a black dress that chafes a rash onto your thigh.

[1] “She never shut her mouth for the first five years of her life,” your mother likes to tell company, especially the older generation that still appreciates beating the shit out of children.
[2] You’ll think about this moment later in life and promise never to buy your child a fish.
[3] Your mother will remind you of the word at least once per week until you can spell it correctly.
[4] You tell yourself its because you’re not in a place to commit to that kind of lifestyle change right now.
[5] (direct quote from your mother)
[6] “She bought the wrong color. I specifically asked for the periwinkle J. Crew sweater.”
[7] Don’t tell him you’re scared to move away from home. Don’t tell your parents you’re scared to move out.
[8] You throw the acceptance letter into the front seat. Your father tries to grab it but hits the gearshift with his elbow.
first published in The Streetcar: Mississippi State University’s Literary Journal

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