The road to adulthood is paved with a variety of childhood and adolescent experiences, some more painful than others. In Greasy Lake, T. Coraghessan Boyle uses the setting and the protagonist's experience to teach us a very important lesson: those of us who do not learn and grow from our past mistakes are bound to repeat them, then never completely mature or realize our full potential. What starts out to be a harmless prank turns into a situation where they get in a fight, attempt to rape a girl, find a dead body and see first hand his mother's station wagon being destroyed.
In the opening of the story, the main character and his friends, Digby and Jeff, are out looking for adolescent excitement, or any manner of trouble they are capable of getting themselves into. They decide to drive up to Greasy Lake, the local hangout. There they spot what they believe to be an acquaintance's car. They blare their horn and flash their headlights in hopes of embarrassing their friend. To their surprise the car was not occupied by their friend, but rather, a bad greasy character, named Bobbie. Unable to control his adolescent behavior, Bobbie proceeds to thoroughly slaughter the three boys. Here, in his passion, our narrator makes a juvenile, rash, and what could have been an egregious mistake, he .
grabs the tire iron he keeps under the seat of his car, and proceeds to attack Bobbie leaving him for dead.
In their youthful inexperience, our characters don't know how to deal with the unfamiliar flood of mixed emotions they are experiencing at this moment, and are unable to override them and think rationally. Their emotions are raging and their minds in fright. With lustful thoughts and in their adolescent greed their primal rage takes over as they start in on Bobbie's girlfriend, tearing at her clothes, grabbing for her female flesh, in hopes of fulfilling their deepest desires. The fact that they are in the midst of a situation that they are not yet prepared for keeps the narrator holding on to the idea that he is ad.