Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

My daughters like to read stories of my childhood, so here's a quick one.

I was talking to an old friend recently who says he woke up in the middle of the night laughing about a trick Dick Whitaker and I played on someone back when we were kids. He thought it was funny, but it could have had severe consequences. He dreamt about this 60 years after the event, but as you age things from long, long ago pop into your mind despite the fact that you can’t find your wallet and can’t remember what you did yesterday.

When I was a kid I had an old army M1 training rifle. It wasn’t real, but during WWII they used these for training soldiers, saving the real ones for the war effort. Years later I carried a real one. This mock M1 looked real and on this particular occasion Dick and I had the brilliant idea of putting a firecracker in the barrel of the gun and…Well, here’s what happened.

We lit the firecracker and ran out in the road, pointing the gun at some poor guy who just happened to pick the wrong time to drive by. When the firecracker went off, the terrified driver thought he was shot and lost control of the car. The car went flying out in an orchard, hitting a prune tree.

Dick and I felt guilty and went over to the car to check on the driver. The guy was sitting like a statue and staring, glassy eyed, with a death grip on the steering wheel, while mumbling incoherently. We spent some time consoling him, but he just sat there staring straight ahead. He wasn’t very responsive, but I guess he lived through it, otherwise I think I’d remember.

After pinning a purple heart on him, we went back for more firecrackers.


  1. OK Ralph, 'fess up. How old were you and Dick when you did this? 14? 17?


  2. We were 65 and took the shot from a rocking chair.
    Only kidding. I think we must have been around 12 or 13 or so. I had forgotten about it until an old friend reminded me.

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