Going OUT used to be the best thing err. Or at least when I was a teenager. Oh god, OUT was so much better than in. OUT in this case was going the seven miles from my town of 300 people to the town of 8000 people, where I went to school. HOT DAMN, GOIN' INTA TOWN! One makes the most of what one has.

Two events that would get me a ride into town would be either a school dance or football game. These were only flimsy excuses to get OUT with my friends, ditch the event, and get drunk, maybe drive around with some other idiot kid with a car, run around town in some giddy screeching pack, and smoke someone else's cigarettes. These were usually on Friday nights, and I would take the schoolbus home with my friend Linda, having had to get a permission note to do so. God. What the fuck did anyone care what bus I got on? Anyway,we would get all excited and try on a bunch of clothes, put on jeans so tight you had to lie down to zip them up, do each other's hair and makeup (including the yummy Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper Lipsmacker), tell each other we looked great, then sprayed ourselves liberally with Love's Musky Jasmine perfume. We'd hide a pack of smokes in someone's sock, and if feeling really bold and had the pants room, would steal a bottle of Linda's folks' homemade wine from the basement and stick it in the back waistband of the pants with a fluffy down coat over to hide it. It is not easy to sit in a parent's car with a bottle of wine in your back; it takes some practice and pain tolerance.

The only important thing to have to know was the name of the band who played at the dance or the final score of the football game. Then when you were picked up later, mushy mouthed wasted and tired, you could answer the questions: "The Dave Gunderson Band's Tribute To The Eagles" or "Watertown, 35 - 12."

Being OUT and drunk and hyped up in a pack of other ninnies at age thirteen is not often a recipe for good things. One of these nights, after ditching the dance, we walked "downtown" to go to the Burger King and just be generally obnoxious. I think now when I see kids that age smoking, how ridiculous they look. Of course, I thought I looked incredibly cool. It was fairly busy that night on the main drag, and yes it was called Main Street. We had just went to the Sentry supermarket to get someone a new Bic lighter, ready to go nom at BK. No one felt like walking to the traffic light. There was a slight break in the traffic and someone said GO! and the pack started running across the road in front of a line of cars. I didn't think there was enough time to make it, and I hesitated maybe a second or two behind them. It was a 4-lane road but it felt like a superhighway as I ran across. As the others made it to the curb, the lights of the cars got so yellowy-white bright and it seemed like I was on a stage with this glowing light all around me. I heard the long, held-down blaring blast of a car horn and the screech of many tires, and I looked to my right. There, I kid you not, no more than two inches from my hip, was a car, desperately trying to stop.

Ever seen one of those Road Runner cartoons where the bird all of a sudden just goes PLPLPLPL ZZZIP! and disappears in a white cloud of fast? I have never ever ever in my life before or since poured on the COAL like that. This incredible burst of fear speed came into my legs as I watched in that millisecond the incredible closeness of the car, glanced up to see the angry and scared faces of the driver and his passenger, an older couple, and then to the lights of the Burger King just a few feet away. I ran, barely avoiding the hit, made it to the curb and just kept running. I was afraid I was going to get in trouble. I ran and ran and ran, blocks into the dark of the residential area, until I couldn't run anymore and collapsed on the front lawn of the Catholic church. One of my friends had run after me, caught up, and we started nervously laughing, getting more and more hysterical, watching to see if that car was hunting for me.

My friend handed me a cigarette, which I couldn't light because my hands then entire body had started shaking so badly that I looked like an end-stage Parkinson's patient. He laughed at me, lit it for me, handed it back, and I smoked and laughed, having not been hit by a car that night. One makes the most of what one has.

The Pretty Things -- "Roadrunner"