No thinking before doing
1. "Shattered my mum's windscreen while sitting with my feet on the dashboard and pondering how hard I could press on the glass before it smashed. She came back after five minutes in the supermarket to me sitting in a windscreen-less car, covered in glass ... er, 'I was testing how strong it was'."
2. "My dad's drill seemed like an excellent way to curl my hair ... ended up with a sweet baldspot."
3. "I was about 6 years old and I asked my mum what bandaids were for, she said something along the lines of, 'it protects you'. So I wrapped my perfectly fine index finger in a bandaid and slid it under the stapler and stapled myself, thinking the bandaid would protect me. It did not.
4. "I took a rock and scratched my family name onto the hood of my mum's car so people 'would know it was hers'."
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5. "My mum asked me to wash the lettuce, then got mad when I used soap."
Explosive but highly risky
Bill Humphrey of Kohimarama writes: "When I was 16-years-old I used to take expended 30-06 bullet cases and fill them with black powder and then take two dynamite fuses, one shorter than the other and crimp them into the top of those shells, putting the shorter fuse down inside a pipe sitting on a stone and the second one on top. With fuses lit, soon, the first one would ignite and drive the second one up in the air where it would explode! It was quite exciting but I expect rather dangerous."
Test of driving
"In the early 50s I got a job after school with a Hastings firm that supplied hire crockery for weddings, 21sts and parties," writes Ann Mulch of Whitianga.
"On one occasion the regular driver was ill and a large order needed to be sent to Waipukurau, 50km south, so I delivered the order in two trips in an Austin van. About a year later on my 15th birthday I sat my driving test. The police officer was the same man who helped me unload the van at Waipukurau. He passed me!"
Nothing compared to war
A reader writes: "I was about 6 years old in 1950. Fell over in the school playground and was injured; a broken collarbone later diagnosed. The teacher said I'd better go home (very few phones back then). So off I trailed alone to walk the 20 minutes or so to my home. Nobody batted an eyelid. Even my parents. The world had just come through a terrible war. A broken collarbone was very small beer."