Have you ever charged into a challenge without really thinking it through? Some of the craziest things I did were during my college years, when impulsiveness and immortality often won the battle with my common sense. My dad always used to say “use your better judgment,” but sometimes I didn’t use any judgment at all.
Like the time I rollerskated 38 miles from West Lafayette to West Lebanon, Indiana on a tiny 2-lane country road WITHOUT a paved shoulder, with large trucks blowing air horns as they lumbered around me.
If you’re wondering about the catalyst for this craziness… yeah, it was a girl. I was an 18-year old freshman at Purdue, working my way through school as a DJ at the local Skateaway. I was dating a high school senior named Robin, who I had met at the rink. I would drive the 45 minutes out into the country in my ’71 Monte Carlo to pick her up for dates. One time I jokingly said that if my car broke down I would just skate to her house. She rolled her eyes with a laugh of disbelief and said “Yeah right!”
That’s all it took. Sounded like a dare to me. I picked a hot Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks later and geared up for the trip – black leather skating boots with lemon yellow outdoor wheels, white tank top, gold silk running shorts and matching headband. I strapped on a backpack with a water canteen and a handheld radio for music. I must have looked like a refugee from Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” music video.
I skated outdoors a lot in those days and was in good shape, but I had never skated more than a few miles at a time around campus. But it didn’t matter. All I could think about was the surprised look I would see on Robin’s face when I showed up at her door.
I definitely got some surprised looks along the way, from the cars and trucks who had to pass me, to the small group of locals gathered around the Shell station lobby in Odell where I stopped to fill up my water. They looked at me like an alien had just landed, “Where ya headed son?”
“I’m skating from West Lafayette to West Lebanon and I’m about half way.”
“Uh. OK. I’d say yer half way alright.”
It took me roughly 4 hours to complete the trip. When I finally got there, my thighs were burning from the strain, and sweat was pouring down my reddened face. She opened the door, looked at me and laughed. It took 15 minutes to convince her that it was not a joke, and that I was not hiding my car around the corner somewhere. Instead of offering praise and adulation, she looked a little perplexed and said, “OK… now what?
Now what? Gosh, I don’t know. I had only imagined how surprised and impressed she would be. I had not anticipated the annoyed look on her mom’s face when she realized she would need to drive me home. There was no way I could skate back, and we both had school the next day. Mrs. Andrews and I had a long awkward ride back to West Lafayette while Robin went back to her homework.
So I braved the long, lonely country roads of Indiana, dodging manure trucks and insulting gestures from drivers for what? Had I actually thought it through, I might have thought beyond the “dare” and used my better judgment before I even started. Because I actually did something really dangerous, and all I received in the end… was a short story to tell.
Without a point.
I bet that you did not even get lucky after that either.
Spoken like a true man, brother Brad.
Your vivid description of your attire alone got me! You must have been very, very sweet on her! 🙂
Hehehehe…. I think there is definitely a point to this, Dave.
People ARE impulsive, and will do things without thinking the concepts through. In your particular case in your story, not only did you not think it through, you entered into the idea fully, with no regard to innumerous red flags that would have occured to most young men who was not unfatuated with new love.
If there is a lesson here it has to do with living. We will all continue to head blindly into certain things. I appreciate you more as a person who would get on the skates, accessories in place, and take the first slide out to the sidewalk and actually start a mission of the nature you described. Challenging life isn’t always going to bring you a lick-to-stick star on your report, nor a promotion at work. But it will allow you to dream and create, and that, I believe, is what living is all about. :o)
Well, even if your dad said “Use your better judgment” back then, you can definitely be sure of one thing today… his words hold true. You will most likely not skate 38 miles again today would you? Lesson learned.
Which, BTW that is not a new dare. 😀
But I think we all dare you to post a photo of that outfit! LOL
Stacey if there were photos of that day I would have them destroyed. There are other rumored photos and videos from the skating rink that will probably surface if I decide to run for office someday 🙂 You can ask Richard below to verify…
As I recall the incident/impulsiveness, I remember how proud you were of that accomplishment!
Her mom giving you a ride back may have been ‘awkward’; but you did it. You had a goal and you went for it and guess what; you proved to yourself that you could do anything you put your mind and heart to.
And, may I add, it was ‘Legend’, at the rink for a long time!
I am of the mindset that we need individuals wha are willing to go forth, headlong in order to prove they are right. History is numbered with like minded men/women who when challenged step up to the proverbial plate and took their best shot.
In my opinion, its what is missing in the men of our country today.
I applauded you then, my friend, and I applaud you now. Do not be ashamed nor think you lacked ‘good judgment’. If Bill Gates had listened to IBM’s ‘good judgment, Microsoft never gets born; Columbus never sails the seas and David Goad never traverses 38 miles simply to impress a girl.
Haha Rich. Thanks for finding a point about “going big” in my pointless story 🙂 You know… I think I surprised myself that day and that’s why the memory is so vivid.
Another friend just suggested to me that I should go after my true potential and “not do small.” I’m lacing on the skates right now…
I’m sure her mom thought you were crazy. I KNOW your mom thought so when we heard about it.
I do remember this happening, though, in case anyone wonders…
We live and learn. I’m just glad you lived THROUGH it!
By the way, I may still have a picture of you in that getup hidden away somewhere … How much is it worth?
How much is it worth to publish or destroy? Are you blackmailing me?
Hilarious! I can totally see you doing something like that as a youth–love your storytelling!
Well Well little Brother,
I remember like it was just yesterday. I remember offering to drive along behind in case you got in trouble and you declined! You said, “She won’t believe me if she see’s your car. She’ll think I jumped out down the road a ways”. “OK brother!”
I did think about how Little Davey was going to get home, I just chose not to mention it at that time.
These skate commando pictures just became amazingly valuable!
I will start the bidding at a nice even number, let’s say $10. Unfortunately, as a skate guard at “Skate-a-way”, I frequently sported the same “rink” motif and will crucify myself as well. But, it will be worth it.
Little Davey with shorts so short, and so tight that you can read the lable on his “tighty whities”. A tank top so crisp it would make the Studio 54 crowd weep.
Yes, fashion revenge is a dish served hot, like the temperature of your forehead when you arrived after 38 miles on the road…..I have $10 do I hear $15…
uh…thanks Brother Jeff. There are no photos of the incident in existence, so no one should fall for your fake auction scheme.
You are correct that there are no pictures from That particular day, but there are pictures of that attire! Ramona has already fallen off a chair looking at them! …I have $15 do I hear $20….
Funny… I don’t remember signing a release form for any photos. Go ahead and sell them so I can sue for my cut 🙂
Starlight Express is looking for it’s costume to be returned! (compliments of Mo)
Actually, it was more “Xanadu” than “Starlight Express”