Trying Too Hard to Be Cool

I have a friend who said he saw a red Dodge Viper today with a vanity plate boasting of the 750 Horsepower engine under the hood, and it had a racing stripe to boot. My friend said of the owner, “he’s sure the cops ignore the taunt.” Yeah, I bet they do, too. This reminds me of something that happened when I was in high school, back in 1973 or ’74.

There was this guy who sat in front of me in Spanish class who wanted so much to be cool. He needed to just be himself, but sometimes teenagers aren’t so good at that. One day the two guys who sat on either side of him kept saying to him, “Vroom, vroom.”  It was getting to him and I didn’t know what that was all about so I asked one of the guys.

Seems in this boy’s efforts to fit in, he got a little careless out on 11th Street the previous weekend. Eleventh Street was where we hung out on Friday and Saturday nights, just cruising up and down the street, guys looking at girls and girls looking at guys, and plenty of flirting and engine gunning at the red lights. The street is four lanes so two guys at a red light would rev up their engines to challenge each other to a little race sometimes.

Our classmate was stopped at a red light when he saw a car pull up next to him. Without turning his head to the side to see who it was – he was trying too hard to be cool – he revved his engine and got a reply. He did it again and got another. I don’t know how many times they did that, but by the time the light changed I’m sure his adrenaline was soaring and he figured he just shot himself up to the top of the Cool Chart. The light changed and he floored it and was promptly pulled over. He had just challenged a police officer in a cruiser to a race.

It’s a long way back to being anywhere near cool after such a show as that.