“I could slide to the right for a while.” – Breakfast Club
Today I wished an old high school friend of mine a happy birthday on Facebook. What did we ever do before Facebook and other internet sites like birthdayreminder.com came along? Well, we didn’t wish near as many people happy birthday for one, and we didn’t worry about it either. Personally, I like the birthday reminders. It gives me a chance to reflect even for just a few seconds about the person I’m wishing a happy birthday, and to see what random memories or thoughts come along with that.
“I’m doing my very best dancing. Every time you’re looking the other way.”
The guy I wished happy birthday is not a friend that I call on the phone or see once a year, but instead just someone I might run into at reunions and follow along on social media. He’s a guy that made me laugh though… a lot. For five years from 8th grade through graduation we went to school together. We attended the same church, and church classes, and we attended basketball practices together for many of those years as well. His name is Lance and here’s what he wrote in my high school senior yearbook in May of 1989:
Silly? Yes. Ridiculous? Of course. Amusing? To this day it makes me smile whenever I pull out the 1989 (83rd volume) “Norman Trail” yearbook.
One of my favorite memories of being with Lance was on our way to basketball practice one day in the spring of 1987. We were sophomores at West Mid-High, and any basketball players at West had to make the 1.5 mile drive to Norman High School (where only juniors and seniors attended) for practice at the end of the school day. Lance would ride along many times to practice in my ’84 Camaro. He loved to practice the art of distraction with me when he was in my Camaro. Lance would distract me and then deftly put my car from drive into neutral causing me to rev my engine but go nowhere while at a stop sign or a traffic light. I would shake my head, smile, then usually I put it back into drive without my foot on the brake causing the car to lurch ahead while at the same time making me look ridiculous.
Well, this one particular day I was driving us in my Camaro to practice. I had probably had my car for less than a month, and Lance was my only passenger that day. The streets were wet from a recent rain, and I was at a two-way stop sign making a left turn onto Berry Road from Westlawn Drive.
Those of you familiar with Norman know that Berry Road is a busy road most times of the day and even more so towards the end of a school day. After sitting at the stop sign what seemed to me for hours, and getting impatient (as most 16 year olds are apt to be), I eventually slammed on the gas when I saw the slightest of openings between the oncoming traffic in both directions. Well, in a vehicle not known for its handling in wet or icy conditions, and with a back end that weighs about as much as I did in high school, that’s not the smartest thing to do.
“Gonna make a move that knocks you over. Watch this turn one’s gonna put you away.”
The car immediately bolted out onto Berry Road and began fishtailing. I was an inexperienced driver at that point because I had just turned 16 at the end of March. By the grace of God there was was a house on the southeast corner of Berry and Apache that had a portion of curb missing separating the front yard and Berry Road. Thankfully I shot up on the lawn right through that opening and came to an abrupt stop. I sat there silently shaking as the adrenaline rushed through me, but Lance… oh Lance. He just started laughing and yelled “that was awesome!”
“I got to get up and back ’cause I’ve been off track”
Quickly realizing that no one was hurt and the car was fine, I smiled a smile of relief, and laughed along with Lance. Praying to God that no one I knew saw me (pretty sure one of my other teammates drove by me and honked; not entirely sure if I dreamed that up or not), I sheepishly pulled through the makeshift driveway/front yard to the other side and onto Apache Street and eventually made my way to the high school.
Funny the memories that make impressions in your brain and are never forgotten. That very brief, slightly frightening moment in the spring of 1987 is mostly due to a silly Facebook birthday reminder. Little memories like this one are woven into the fabric of life and are constant reminders of the tremendous blessing it is of having friends at different stages and times throughout your life, especially those that can make you laugh.
You know what else was brief and slightly frightening in the spring of 1987 and makes me laugh today 30 years after its’ release? The video and song lyrics from today’s featured band.
“I could be big and tough and other funny stuff”
Maybe it’s the ridiculous chicken costumes or the fact that lead singer Dan Gilroy bears a small resemblance to Vanilla Ice. Perhaps it’s the colorfully outrageous video featuring the likes of the great Wink Martindale, or possibly it’s just the infectious tune of the song. Whatever it is I’ve always genuinely liked this song. It’s bright, upbeat, fun, and features singing chickens, and peaked all the way up at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of ’87. An interesting side note: according to Wikipedia, pop star Madonna was the drummer for this group in early 80’s.
Wake up! It’s Breakfast Club!
Thanks for reading.
Oh, and I told Lance I would be calling him this summer.