Instead of going to Daytona Spring Break 1987 Dana Coleman, Tommy Bartle and myself thought it would be fun to go camping at Dana's grandparents camp down in Kentucky. We loaded up the car with a tent, some food and a couple of creme de menthe liquer I swiped from the basement. We were Bardstown bound!
We got to the lake late, set up the tent in the dark and started roasting hot dogs. For some crazy ass reason Tommy and I thought it would be cool to burn brands on our arm. We weren't the most creative two so we decided a cross would be cool. We did a couple of test burns before we got the right tools needed for a proper brand. With screwdriver in hand we stuck it in the fire until it was a beautiful shade of dark amber red, perfect for burning the skin. I went first and made a perfect cross on my right arm. Then Tommy burned one on his arm. After about 30 minutes of trying to convince Dana of the importance of being a blood brother we were able to hold him down and burn the cross, he jerked and created a "not so perfect" cross but it turned out perfect in our own eyes.
After a long nights sleep in the tent we woke up realizing what we did and remorse set in. We all three got our stories straight and decided we would tell our parents that we became blood branded brothers that night, both Tommy and I were sure that they'd fully understand. Dana told us that his dad was sure to kick his ass. Here's how it unfolded:
Tommy went home and told his parents that when we were camping he tripped and fell into the fire and amazingly he ended up getting a burn that appeared in the form of a cross. They didn't buy it and banned him from hanging out with both Dana and I for life.
Dana went home and told his dad, aka Kiss Boots. His dad told him that "he ain't no cattle and has absolutely no business burning himself." Dana received the same ban.
I went home and decided that honesty was probably the best policy and told my mom that I had experienced something wonderful and was now brand brothers with my two best friends. I rolled up my sleeves and showed her my arm. Big tears welped up in her eyes and she managed to get my dad on the phone wherever he was, she told him that his son had lost his god*&$mn mind and that he needed to come home and take me to the mental health center. Dad came home, made me go back to work with him and didn't really talk to me. All he said was "you really have dissapointed your mother." That really hit home with me, I didn't do it to dissapoint anyone, I did it to create an unbreakable bond.
I'm glad I did it 21 years ago and you know what, keep all items away from me, Tommy and Dana reunion weekend because I have to believe given the circumstance we'd do it all over again.