Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Quit While Ahead




This one might sound a bit coarse right off the bat.  The word "Beer" is used a lot. But anybody who “Strayed” in high school might like it. It’s sort of a composite of events, but they are true, fairly innocent and only slightly embellished.


Quit While Ahead
  
As a teenager, age 17 or so, one night after purchasing a deeply discounted case of beer out of an open car trunk in an empty lot—from an off-duty A&P employee—a gang of us piled into a car and headed for the city: Washington DC. Back then it was not illegal to literally drink and drive. And, that’s what we did—unwisely.

So, the memory is pretty hazy, but not too long after crossing the 14th street bridge into the city, we decided to relieve ourselves of some of the huge amount of liquid we’d consumed. So, we pulled into an alley—a dark alley—on gang turf.

As they appeared behind us at the alleyway entrance following us in, I heard somebody say quietly something like, “We gotta get outta here!” We scrambled like we never had before and managed to get back in the car, floor it and roar away, unscathed. Really lucky for us the engine didn’t stall, and the alley was open on both ends.

Then it was off to The Hayloft, our favorite club in Georgetown, car rocking and voices wailing to the blaring sounds of “Susie Q,” by Credence Clearwater Revival; where we did some more rocking to a live band—while drinking even more beer—before heading over to Old Ebbitt Grill. I found it necessary to get out my fake ID this time. Which, like the discount beverage purchase in the vacant lot, was easily obtainable for any high schooler with the right grape vine contacts.

I made a grand total of 74 dollars that summer, playing rhythm guitar in our rock-and-roll band: The Henchmen. I couldn’t believe somebody would actually pay me money to play my guitar at parties—and yes—drink beer. Life was good that year. Things did darken later, but how many 17-year-old kids have the sense to quit while he’s ahead? Some may—not this one.

So, the moral to this story—I seem to always have one—is quit while you’re ahead. Walk away. Just do it. Find a tether. Something to believe in. Something true.

Believing the man who roamed the Galilean country side—with a gang of ruffians—would be a good plan in my opinion. You won’t have to join the Christian culture or get a bumper sticker or anything. Pick up a New Testament and just start reading from the beginning, which happens to be the response I had—the step I took—after hearing the still small voice of God in my life. Do it.