There are some personal jokes you’ll have with people you’ve known for years that take a long time to explain. And there’s some things you did as a younger person that older you looks back on and thinks “jesus, I was fucking insane”. This story incorporates both.
When I started high school, I was living in a house across from the middle school where my mom worked. The previous owners had a trampoline setup on this raised patch near the pool, but they took their trampoline with them. The house looked weird without something resembling a trampoline in that space, and I begged my mom to get a trampoline put in there. A few months after moving in, she realized there was literally nothing worthwhile we could do with that patch of backyard except to put in a trampoline.
From the day we got the trampoline, until the day we moved, I must’ve spent at least an hour a day on that thing. I even slept on it sometimes. I know it seems weird to people who know me now that I would spend that much time outdoors, and being that athletically active, but that’s how I spent most days.
When I met my friend Dave in my Freshman year of high school, our first after-school hang was at my house, bouncing around on the trampoline. Shortly thereafter, I met Nad and he joined us. The three of us would bounce around and play-fight and wrestle and try to “double-bounce” each other 1the “double-bounce” is where you intentionally bounce right next to where someone is landing, at the exact time they land, thereby ...continue. We’d bounce around, trading jokes about our ongoing battle of nicknames : “Nobody”, “Everybody”, and “Anybody”. I was Nobody — which meant that I didn’t like Sarah Lee, I was perfect, and I knew everything. Dave was “Everybody” (alternately “Everyone”), which was hilarious at the time because Nirvana’s All Apologies said “Everyone is gay” 2don’t judge me for gay jokes 20 years ago, please. Nad was “Anybody”, meaning he got the brunt of our jokes like “Anybody who trades liberty for security deserves neither” 3not an actual joke we ever made, but I couldn’t think of the ones we used at the time.
The obvious thing to do in a backyard that has both a trampoline and a pool is to move the trampoline towards the pool and do crazy flip shit into the pool. We did that a bit, but since we met in the winter, it wasn’t very common at first. We eventually decided that, since my house had a built-in ladder to the roof, we should try jumping off the roof onto the trampoline. By the time Nad and I decided this, Dave was mostly off in his own world and wasn’t coming around as much.
We positioned the trampoline off of its platform, so it was directly beneath the roof — but unfortunately at an angle — just in case we couldn’t make the jump from the roof to the trampoline horizontally. I had to go first, since it was my house and my trampoline. It’s a funny thing, how heights work. When you’re looking up from the ground, they seem so small but when you’re looking down from atop a structure it seems so tall. From the roof to the trampoline was maybe 12 feet. But it felt like at least 30 feet when looking down.
I jumped off, aiming for the middle of the trampoline (which would be exactly between the incline and decline of the fucked-up angle it was on), missing the incline by just enough that I ended up bouncing backwards and off the trampoline into the rose bushes at the side of the house. I was fortunate to miss every one of the thorns, and just land on my ass instead. Nad shouted “you okay?!”- and I said “yeah, I’m fine. I’d suggest aiming way more towards the incline, so it doesn’t kick you off”. He jumped, hit the incline, and it bounced him towards the decline, where he safely landed and stood up with an enthusiastic “WHOOOOOO!!”.
We must have spent another hour doing that over and over again. We tried to land with our legs slightly bent, since landing seated would disable one’s ability to control where they went next and landing with straight legs would — we theorized — probably shatter your goddamned kneecaps. We even played tricks on the neighbors, acting like we were going to commit suicide and flailing off the roof only to disappear behind the walls that separated us. Probably no one took us seriously, but we thought it was hilarious at the time.
So, that’s the first part of the inside joke – the “roof diving team” part. The second part comes from a particularly embarrassing time in my life 4which I will, of course, talk about in great detail in later stories in which I had converted to Christianity for a year and joined a “youth group” for the jesus fella.
For whatever reason, Nad went along for many adventures with the Xian 5I prefer the Satanic spelling, for ease of typing, and to be a bit of a dick about it youth group. He didn’t make any jokes about it until after I abandoned religion, and he never gave me any shit about it while we were going to the events — he just went right along like it was a social club. To this day, I actually can’t think of a single time he’s ever taken a stand on religion one way or another and he’s the only person I’ve ever known, more than casually, about whom I can say that.
On NYE of that year (which was probably ringing in 1994), the youth group was hitting up the “penny arcade”. That’s put in quotes because it was pretty much a normal arcade, except they’d occasionally drop the prices for special events. On this night, every game was a nickel. At the time, I was fucking ecstatic, but it’s funny that now I have a little handheld emulator in my living room that plays almost every arcade game I can think of on our 10-foot screen.
The guy who drove me and Nad to and from the arcade to the youth-group-leader’s 6maybe “pastor” is the term here, but he was married and had a kid so I don’t know the proper term house drove like a fucking maniac. He had a No Fear sticker on his car, another one on his dashboard, and was wearing a No Fear shirt. Nad and I hated all the fucking “No Fear” horseshit at the time, and we thought it ironic that a guy who feared the repercussions of his actions in the afterlife was also rep’ing No Fear. When we got to the afterparty at the youth leader’s house, another guy had a shirt that said “No Fear : SkyDiving Team”. We told him we were part of the No Food (named after the fact that we were teenagers who could barely use a microwave when we were hungry) Roof Diving team. No one but us found that hilarious.
Over the next year or so, Nad and I would invite people over to the house to join the “No Food Roof Diving Team”, but most people were either scared or hilariously inept. Another friend of ours, John, was an uber-goth kid that landed on all fours and said “see? I’m like a cat!”, cause he was just that pretentious, but his second jump to attempt landing on all fours flipped him upside down into the rose bushes.
The No Food Roof Diving Team only ever had two members, and we’re both still alive. To this day, if either of us yells “NO FOOD!”, the other will yell “ROOF DIVING!”. I spent 2 nights with him at the LA Faith No More shows and… sure enough… he still responds in kind.
NO FOOD, MOTHAFUCKA!
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↩||the “double-bounce” is where you intentionally bounce right next to where someone is landing, at the exact time they land, thereby adding more tension to the trampoline and launching them into the air|
|2.||↩||don’t judge me for gay jokes 20 years ago, please|
|3.||↩||not an actual joke we ever made, but I couldn’t think of the ones we used at the time|
|4.||↩||which I will, of course, talk about in great detail in later stories|
|5.||↩||I prefer the Satanic spelling, for ease of typing, and to be a bit of a dick about it|
|6.||↩||maybe “pastor” is the term here, but he was married and had a kid so I don’t know the proper term|