Last week, I promised to tell the story of how I ended up in that towering inferno where I first met Stephen.
So here it is…
It was August of 1970 something, when I asked Starla to the homecoming dance. She was a popular, attractive cheerleader with 70s feathered hair.
“I…uh, was thinking of going to homecoming. And, and, well I was wondering if you planned on going? I stammered.
“Nobody’s asked me…yet.” She returned. “But I was thinking about going with some friends.”
“Well, I was thinking, that, well, since we’re both thinking about going, that, maybe, you wouldn’t mind going with me…if you don’t have other plans.”
She replied, “I’d love to go to homecoming with you.” Then she flipped her hair and walked away, holding her books in both arms with a grin on her face.
Quite honestly, I thought she’d say no. But I thought I’d give it a shot anyway since my friends kept telling me I should ask someone. My friends were a slighly pudgy buddy from middle school and a science nerd, who’s gigantic skull contained all known knowledge of the universe.
Since I was a skinny 4 foot 10 inch garden gnome of a teenageer, I was expecting her to laugh in my face, throw dirt on my feet, point at me, and chant with the rest of the student body, “Garden-Gnome, garden-gnome…go home.”
But that didn’t happen.
Instead, I got a yes. I became flush as I started to think, I never went on a date before, what do I wear? I have to get time off work, I don’t have a car, I don’t even know how to drive. How am I going to pull this off?
After a few days of thinking, I thought if I got my older sister to let me practice driving with her car, I could get my drivers license, then I could use my sisters car to take Starla to the dance…I’d be all set!
So I ask my sis’ if I could user her car to practice driving, get a license, and take Starla to the big dance. Being a passive-aggressive person, my sister said if I could get a drivers license, I could use her car to go to homecoming.
I asked, if I could practice driving with her car.
She said no.
So I countered, “Could I at least use your car to take the driver’s test?”
She replied, “Ok, you can use my car to take the test…but that’s all.”
For the next three weeks, I studied for the driver test.
Back in the day they didn’t have online practice tests or anything, you just got a little book with the rules, so I made my own test with every rule in that book and kept studying and giving myself tests until I knew every answer inside and out.
I was ready for the written test! A week before the dance, I borrowed my sister’s car to take the test.
I got a 100% on the written test. But when I got behind the wheel, I parallel parked about 5 feet away from the curb, and I ran over every curb I encountered when I made right turns. I heard a “Jesus!” from the guy giving the test as I stopped short almost hitting a bus.
I misjudged the distance it took to stop the car at a stop sign and almost hit a pedestrian, but he ran out of the way as I screetched onto the crosswalk.
“Pull over, pull over, God-damn-it.” The test guy shouted.
He got out of the car, went to the drivers side and said, “Get out.”
I got out and he got in. Then he drove to the county testing facility, leaving me there to walk back.
I didn’t pass the test.
AND NOW YOU KNOW!
Song in my head:
Coming Next: The Towering Inferno!