Growing up in an Instant

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[This piece is unedited - sorry for grammer and typos] 

For most people, growing up is a process. It starts sometime in their late teens, and depending on a number of intangible factors, they complete the process in their twenties to early 30’s or beyond. 

I grew up in the course of about 45 minutes.  I suppose to be honest, it was more like 9 hours, however I don’t think the time spent passed out or evading the man hunt should count….. After all I was distracted during those moments.

I also am tempted to add a paragraph “don’t try this at home”. But this piece (in this format at least) is for the readers of the Denver Writers Meetup, a group that have shown a wisdom by reading a book and not sitting on the internet crushing candys or rescuing pets or managing virtual farms. I would honestly hope that nothing in this story has the ring of “I think I want to try it”. However I suppose that, Darwinism aside, I should say it just to cover my own scared butt.


There, now I take you now back to the end of the eighties.  I was staying with my high school buddy Scott down in Arizona, near the California/Mexico border.  My friend was in the military, I was a world class couch surfer. We had an apartment that aspired to be a shithole.  Someday if they painted it and did other basic things (plumbing, electrical, structural, flooring, drywall, pest control, and appliances) it very well could upgrade to one. 

It was late July and between the daily triple digit temperatures and the high humidity carried over from the Mexican peninsula, MISERABLE (with a long string of leading expletives) would be the only description.

The AC in the apartment had failed and the landlord had already taken a week trying to repair it.  We had discovered during this time that Alcohol helped. Not that it reduced the triple digit temperatures, but that it removed our ability to care.  Carousing was something we always had done, but this week it went from a casual form of entertainment to a life sustaining activity.

This particular night Scott informed me that he was going to sleep on base. We had gone out drinking all week and as a result he had been late to work every day. Something his sergeant had zero tolerance for. 

Because I had no interest in returning to the apartment (it was 90+ degrees outside and already 11:30 at night) I elected to stay and get a ride home with one of my bar buddies.  I ended up hanging out with a man to be known going forward as ‘Pool Buddy’.

I knew ‘Pool Buddy’ only because we had shot pool most of the week and he sucked at it, enough that I was able to stay liquefied with little effort or money.  On this night, he was being extra generous with the beers and shots, giving them for ‘good shot’ or ‘why the hell not’. He had mumbled something about an expense report, but I nether paid attention or cared.

During the night, ‘Pool Buddy’ introduced to “Bob” also known as ‘Silent Bob’.  He was not named for his resemblance to the actor/character but because he said nothing. To this day I have never heard him utter a word.

At 3 a.m. the bar rudely closed, and sent Silent Bob, ‘Pool Buddy’ and me all packing. ‘Pool Buddy’ agreed to drive me home and, thanks to no small amount of alcohol consumption, I made a dubious decision and accepted the ride. I piled into the back seat of the 78 Cadillac, Silent Bob was in the front passenger seat, ‘Pool Buddy’ drove.  

As we began to drive into the night, ‘Pool Buddy’ (whose alcohol consumption I had poorly monitored) declared:

“I pay taxes. Roads are built with Taxes. These are MY roads”

With that declaration we sped up to 60+ MPH on city streets.  After a few moments, Pool Buddy thought he saw a cop car.  Whether or not he did or didn’t, he began evasive driving to avoid a ticket for speeding (and the DUI he so desperately deserved)

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