The world is your bathroom...sorry, your oyster...
I was a boy of the first order. I was hands-on. Heck, I was body-on! I loved throwing all of myself into anything I did. Whether it was wrestling with my brother, playing Nerf basketball, or eating cereal...I was a boy on steroids (this is a manner of expression, of course...I don't want my parents to be questioned like A-Rod in the coming days!)
I remember sharing a room with my brother in the upstairs back room of our tiny home. We would sleep in a double bed anally determining the invisible line that acted as a demarcation between our masculine territorial boundaries. Whenever either one of us crossed this invisible boundary, we would punch each other violently like alpha males fighting for supremacy. No one has to teach you these things, they are inherent to boyhood.
There was another unfinished back room connected to our room that my dad was working on refinishing. He was dry-walling it trying to get it ready for the grand entrance of my sisters into the world, and more specifically, our home. This room was actually over the back porch, so you had to step down two stairs in order to get to it. As I look back, it was more like an attic than anything else. We would play back there making toys from tools. You know, drills are guns, hammers are clubs, nails are bullets, crowbars are swords, etc. There was dust all over the place and it didn't seem like you had to be as conscientious about breaking things because things were roughed in and unfinished. What I'm saying is that you could really let loose and be the barbarian boy you wished you could be the other 23 1/2 hours of the day.
Like I said, I was a boy-on-steroids, always curious, sometimes menacing. A perfect hybridized mixture of Dennis the Menace and Curious George. This penchant led to some interesting discoveries. Some of which I'm sure my parents still don't know about. Thankfully, I'm 34 now, and these revelations are things I can't be held responsible for in the court of law! ha.
One of these discoveries was the register that was over by the closet. Warm air was coming from its lungs and I was always intrigued as to where it led. Being young, there was this inability to put 2 and 2 together, so you were left to wonder if it led to another world or another house or another room. Several times I took off the grate and slide my legs down into the duct work to see if I could shimmy down inside and worm my way to the end of this mysterious labyrinth, but I couldn't make it past the first elbow. This made me very frustrated.
But I wouldn't be dissuaded. My active little mind had another idea.
I always hated that this room was so far away from the bathroom. I guess the reason for this was that I would always wait to go to the bathroom until I was about to explode due to my insatiable desire to live life to the fullest. Who has time to take a break from life to pee? Not me. And this rat's nest of frustration led me to a wonderful "idea"logical solution. Pull down my pants letting my underwear and all hit the floor with the clank of my belt buckle. Take aim with a precision that little boys are only just beginning to learn how to execute, and relieve myself letting the register become the pseudo-port-a-john for my burgeoning urine. I can't tell you how many times I used that makeshift outhouse (rather, inhouse) to accommodate me. Thankfully I never squatted down using it for #2. Come on, I was smarter than that!
It wasn't until I was older that I came to realize where that register led to and what its purpose was, especially in the cold winter months. Needless to say our furnace served a dual purpose for a couple years as I explored and expanded the utilitarian limitations of everyday, ordinary things. This is the beauty of childhood, there aren't boundaries placed on any one item preventing it from being used for something else. This is why children can turn anything into a toy, a game, or an adventure.
Imagination is a beautiful thing, well, sometimes.