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Originally published April 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 19, 2005 at 12:27 PM

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Nicole Brodeur

Partying now riskier business

Two grown men with good jobs and mortgages didn't want their names in the paper after telling me about parties they threw in high school...

Seattle Times staff columnist

Two grown men with good jobs and mortgages didn't want their names in the paper after telling me about parties they threw in high school.

No matter that it was 20 years ago. They still fear their moms finding out. "Something like that," one man said, a little meekly.

A Ballard High School girl's mother found out — along with police and everyone who reads the paper and watches TV — about a party she had the weekend before last.

The 15-year-old told police that, after her parents left town April 10, she invited 10 to 20 friends over that night to kick off spring break.

This being high school, word spread and scores came. They broke a front glass window and a stained-glass front door. They put holes in walls, broke a mirror and a coffee table and ripped the railing off the second-floor balcony.

And they carted out more stuff than the Grinch on Christmas Eve: a TV set, a DVD player, three stereos, a boombox, two computers, a printer, three video-game consoles. They tried to take the flat-screen TV, but when they couldn't fit it through the door, they smashed it with golf clubs, all while the girl cowered in her room.

To anyone who has nodded like a bobblehead to finger-waving parents and then done the "Risky Business" dance-and-dial as soon as the door closed behind them, it was a familiar scenario.

But the ending? No one I spoke to yesterday had seen that kind of trouble.

"The key is, you've got to keep control over your own party," said Derek Sparks, 39, a designer for the DDB agency in Seattle. "I had a few parties in high school and nobody stole anything. Nothing really got broken."

Pause.

"Well ... things got broken."

One man named Steve told me of a party where people threw furniture off a third-floor deck into the pool.

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He wasn't there, but ... you know. He heard about it.

The worst damage Derek Snowden ever caused was ripping out his neighbors' plants back home in New Zealand. As for the Ballard party?

"Never that out of hand, even in my own flat," said Snowden, 28. He told me of Friday night bashes with his friends that got pretty rowdy.

"We'd cook up some food, have a bit of wrestling, drive [slide] down the grass bank on our bellies, do doughnuts in the cul-de-sac," he said. "It was fun! You should have come!"

So what to do with the girl in Ballard?

"She's sitting in her own grave," Snowden said. "Any punishment wouldn't be half of what she's got now.

"Spending the day cleaning when you're hung over is one thing," he said. "But having to deal with police reports ... poor girl."

Gabe Coyne, 21, was quick with his suggestion for what to do: "I'd spank her twice!"

Then he scanned the police report and shook his head.

"Maybe it's punishment enough."

Nicole Brodeur's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

"Officer, is there a problem?"

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About Nicole Brodeur

My column is more a conversation with readers than a spouting of my own views. I like to think that, in writing, I lay down a bridge between readers and me. It is as much their space as mine. And it is a place to tell the stories that, otherwise, may not get into the paper.
nbrodeur@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2334

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