“I’m with Skip!”

Like most high school seniors, I got some senioritis. We didn’t drink or get high, but we stayed up late and stayed out late. We “cruised” a lot, meaning we drove in circles in the vicinity of Wayne’s Drive-Inn, trying to infuriate the “goat ropers” (our term for urban cowboys), who we regarded as inferior because of their taste in music and cars.

One night I hooked up with my best friend at the time (who wasn’t, as you might expect, Michael, since he was going through a brief and ill-advised period of Jesusism), who we will call “Skip.” Skip and I called Jeff, the third in our dramaturgical triad, on his private number and there was no answer, so we searched a few of his favorite haunts, to no avail. We went to his house, which we found locked up for the night. His car was gone, which must have meant he had snuck out.

How dare he go on an adventure without us! We decided to use a trick he once showed us for opening his bedroom window from the outside, enter, and wait for him or leave him a note (I forget which, actually.) We were literally breaking and entering.

I guess we made too much noise, or maybe Jeff’s dad was waiting up for him, because he came into the room to find us standing there like idiots, or criminals, or both. He saw me first, and without hesitation asked, “Richard, what are you doing here!?”

I reached deep down inside and pulled out a brilliant piece of deference that remains one of the crowning achievements in blame-shifting of my life. Without hesitation I said, “I’m with Skip!” and pointed at him.

Of course, I might have just as well claimed I wasn’t there at all. But I will say it did represent the ability to think on my feet.

After some explanation that included the lie that Jeff told us it was okay to break in, Jeff’s dad let us off with a frown and an invitation to leave.

*    *    *

It was that same late winter or early spring that this less-funny story happened…

I spent much of my school daze harboring an ill-advised crush on a girl we’ll call “Rachel.” She had moved away to another state the year before, but despite my having a girlfriend, I still carried a torch for vacuous little Rachel.

One day I heard that she was pregnant. I just couldn’t believe it, and the reason I couldn’t believe it is that I had built a myth around my image of Rachel. Inside that myth she was perfect and untouchable, and quite honestly, mine. I know – what was I thinking? Like a teenager.

After hearing from a few more sources that Rachel was, in fact, pregnant, I went over to Skip’s house and put on the headphones connected to his father’s expensive German stereo system and cranked it up. The song was … you are going to laugh out loud, because I did as I thought of it … Rick Derringer’s Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo.

Okay, maybe this was a funny story after all…

Rock and roll hoochie koo
(Rock and roll hoochie koo)
Lawdy mama, light my fuse
(Light my fuse)
Rock and roll hoochie koo
(Rock and roll hoochie koo)
Truck on out and spread the news


  1. Richard Russell Barron!! You are a professional writer!! Do not ever use the word “snuck” again! Sneaked sounds much nicer. I believe we are clear on the topic of your embarrassing grammatical fo pa. Now, I think I will see what’s happening on the Knowledgedum. Have a nice day.

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