I thought I’d jolly up the tone from last week’s responses from kids on what should happen to murderers, and this time ask them about the happiest moments of their lives. Little did I know that in the end, ten-year-old Mike would make me believe that if the children are the future, there would be no future for me! I had no idea being a journalist in a non-military zone could be this fraught with danger.
Sadie is 9, a cheerleader and a boy-hater.
Wolf is 17, autistic and evangelistic.
Neighbor Girl is 8, bubbly and boy crazy.
Will is 14, reserved and has the odd elegance of a laid-back Count Dracula.
Max is 17 and ran the school paper last year.
Mike is 10, jittery and glinty-eyed; he's short but powerful!
VICE: What was the happiest moment of your life?
Sadie: When my dad said, "Don’t touch the cake," when I was like two, and then when I did touch the cake, that was my happiest moment. The suspense made it better.
Wolf: When we got Sunshine the hamster. And when my sister Sadie came to life. I was in a deep sleep when she was being born, and then I woke up and there was Sadie.
What did she look like?
Wolf: Kind of what she looks like now, except… I don’t want to be mean, but she had a breakout on her face. But after a few years, she grew a little more happy and more pretty. Sadie: No, my happiest moment was when I bit Wolfgang.
Wolf: That was not my happiest moment.
Do you regret that you can never again do what was the happiest moment of your life?
Sadie: No, because now I would get in too much trouble. But I can still bite cake.
Neighbor Girl: My happiest moment was about a year ago when me and my family went to Storyland, when we went on The Bamboo Shoot.
What felt so happy that you knew this was the happiest moment?
I got butterflies in my tummy. Other times I got butterflies were at Watercountry.
Do you get butterflies in the car going down hills?
What about when your dad spins you around?
What about jumping into the pool?
What about when your boyfriend chases you around the schoolyard?
Kinda. Except he doesn’t ever really chase me. He usually plays football just with other guys.
How do you know he’s your boyfriend then?
Because I always ask him. Ha!
Does he ever try to kiss you?
No. I try to kiss him.
Do you ever succeed?
Your dad is going to be happy to hear that. Let's see if the teens' happiest moments are of a different quality. Will?
Will: I haven’t had one.
You have to have had one. Even if it was not great, it had to be better than the other not great moments.
Realizing I could play violin pretty well.
How did you know you could play it pretty well? Did someone tell you or did you just feel it?
Right after I finished playing, I realized I hadn’t made a mistake or messed up anything, I had pretty good tone, and it was like, hm, that sounded pretty good. Like: “Yeah. I can play violin.”
When was your happiest moment, Max?
Max: When I first became a big brother.
How old were you?
I’d just turned two.
That’s really sad that in the intervening 15 years there hasn’t been a single happier moment. Mike, you're a big brother, too. Was that your happiest moment?
Mike: Nah. It was when I found out Hitler was dead when I was three.
Had you thought he was alive before that?
No. But every single day since then, when I realize Hitler or anyone else I hate is dead, those are all my happiest moments. Also when I first tried gulab jamun [Indian fried dough dessert served in syrup with rose petals]. Also when I realized I could really easily make weapons.
I should mention that in the couple minutes I’ve been talking to you, you’ve launched a slingshot missile past my head two times close enough that I could hear it whiz, and you are currently fiddling with a mousetrap with a pair of pliers.
It’s a homemade claymore--a mine that fires projectiles. [He reaches under a blanket and pulls out handfuls of other little claymores.]
Jesus! This is one of your happiest moments?
Not right now, but when I realized I could make them. There have been some very stupid ideas for weapons. Zeppelin bombers were filled with thermite and if you shoot one once, it will explode.
That’s like a bee. One-shot deal. OK. You just used a rigged up balloon to use as a projectile a… was that a BB pellet?
Mardi Gras bead.
Is it the designing that makes you happy, or the thought of hurting people?
No, it’s just fun that I can make them.
Now you’re taking out another one. It’s a rubber band and a sharpened chopstick. Very sharpened. Jesus Christ!
My crossbow is at my mom’s house. And my lucky hacksaw. But I can shoot through a box with just this [chopstick contraption].
You could kill somebody with that thing! You’re like one of those Chinese fighting movies where they use a fork and an umbrella and take down a whole army. And they can fly.
I made a crossbow that shot an arrow all the way through my mattress. That was awesome!
God. So where is the happiness, exactly?
Creating. And then I sell them to my friends and make money.
Previously - What Kids Say Should Happen To Murderers