I hope you like tales of teenage debauchery, because they’re usually fun stories. This is not exactly one of those anecdotes, so if you’d prefer a more outlandish childhood venture then go read a Russell Brand book or something.
This happened when I was sixteen, which barely qualifies for formative years but I’ve made a theme for the week and I’m sticking to it.
It was the final year of secondary school and my friends and I had discovered alcohol. Other kids at school had discovered it much sooner (and subsequently were way cooler), but they weren’t on track to finish their classes, and so we felt as though we’d found a good balance between cool kids and total dweebs.
This story also happens to take place on the night I first watched professional wrestling, which means it was formative as all heck. I wish I could say I’d watched it since I was a kid, but no, just from a drunken night at aged sixteen — Exactly when I was supposed to be finding that sort of thing very lame.
After watching The Undertaker defeat Shawn Michaels in what I would later refer to as “an all time classic”, the four of us were still full of energy and alcohol at 4am.
We were looking for mischief, but didn’t really know what we could achieve. All of this took place at a friend’s house in early summer, a friend who lived on a housing estate far from my own.
This friend used to drink copious amounts of Diet Coke, at least fifty cans a day, which may be an exaggeration. I still love this friend dearly and so that’s why I can over-hype his soda consumption. Unlike Andy from yesterday’s story, whom I no longer know, and so will gleefully drag through the mud by recounting his attraction to a medical dummy.
(Also, Andy isn’t his real name. I love creative writing!)
On this estate, despite the fact that it was very modern, they still had their milk delivered by a milkman. This was news to me, as not even my grandparents had their milk delivered by a float/actual human being combo at four in the morning.
I was born in ’93, and had always bought pints of moo juice from the supermarket like every other self respecting millennial (well, until we all cut cow products out of our diets in the latter part of this decade).
Suckered in by a hilarious and archaic concept, I watched in glee as the milk float made its way around the neighbourhood. Idea!
“Hey, what if we took everyone’s milk and replaced it with cans of Diet Coke?”
“Why would we do that?”
“…For a laugh?”
We gathered handfuls of cola cans and set about replacing the milk bottles in the neighbourhood. Now, I do have a mischievous streak (as you can bloody well tell, I mean, are you reading this absolute lunacy!?!), but guilt also hits me pretty hard. And most of the time it happens immediately.
As I placed my first cans of Coke on a neighbour’s doorstep, I got this pang in my stomach, and a thousand thoughts cross my mind.
“What if they need this milk for their breakfast?”
“What if they have a rare disease where all they can drink is milk and I’m killing them by taking it away?”
“What if they’re a family of literal cows and they’d ordered this milk in order to illustrate the brutality of the human dairy industry to their now of-age cow children?”
Admittedly, that last one wasn’t very likely, but the guilt was real. The problem was that I couldn’t back out of the prank, as I’d been the one who’d suggested it. What kind of super cool, mischievous friend would I be if I retreated now?
So I decided to hide the milk just around the corner of the doorstep of each house. That way they’d get the initial (hilarious) shock of the Diet Coke, but still be able to locate their precious creamy lactose.
However, this wasn’t enough, as I’d now gone too far the other way. It had turned from a prank into a mild inconvenience, and I feared that much of the impact had now been lost.
I needed an equaliser, something to balance this prank out to the point that I’d be a hero among my peers when I told them all about it at school, but also so that it would have the perfect flow for a blog post written a decade later.
And so we decided to write a series of notes to place between the two cans of Coke that now sat on several doorsteps across the estate. They mostly went something like this…
Dear Valued Customer,
I’m very sorry to inform you that all of the cows ran out of milk yesterday. And so I have replaced your order with delicious cola pop. I hope it still tastes good on your cornflakes — My son has this combination when I get to see him, every other weekend.
Lots of love,
My hope was that by adding the sign-off, nobody could possibly blame the actual milkman for our act of pure rebellion. As pangs of guilt started to creep in that we may have cost a milkman his job (which was still a bizarre concept to me, because I thought they’d stopped delivering milk in the 19th century), we made for the local field.
On this field we ran around shouting Hulk Hogan’s theme music at the top of our lungs. Hulk Hogan had not wrestled or appeared that evening, so I’m not sure why that happened.
As we sobered up together, we watched the sunrise, before deciding to call it a night and get a few hours sleep. We didn’t want to be wandering the neighbourhood when people came outside to collect their Diet Coke, and read their well-written notes from Milky.
I wonder if anyone actually drank the cola, or if they tried it on cornflakes as the good milkman suggested.
This is not the most rebellious thing I ever did, or the least, but it’s very on-brand, and I still think about it whenever I have my cornflakes and coke.
Today is Thursday, January 10th and you can listen to the new episode of our podcast ‘Drinkipedia’ right now! On iTunes or here: https://drinkipedia.podbean.com/