The events of the summer of 1980 happened like a blurry dream in my 18-year-old mind. The star of that dream was a young black man whose fate changed dramatically in the span of a few hot months, all while the entire world obsessed over Who Shot JR?
I began the summer as a shiny new high school graduate in Indianapolis, Indiana. I ended the summer as a USC freshman in Los Angeles. One month later, I was a USC yell leader. WTF? lol
In the interim, I held three summer jobs in Indy, one cleaning a strip mall parking lot, one cleaning offices in an office building at night, and one working at the state headquarters of the Indiana Republican Party.
That’s right. I got paid to call republican donors and ask for more campaign dollars. If the democrats had been hiring, and had put an ad in the paper, and my mom had seen it, perhaps I’d be saying I spent two summers working for the donkeys.
And yes, even more shocking: I admit it. I played the Village People’s “Ready for the 80’s” on the 8-track in my 1976 green, Oldsmobile Omega throughout senior year. An even bigger hit for me, though, was their classic, “Go West.” Duh!
From Hoosier boy to LA man in the span of a few hot months. Then, before America found out who shot JR, I was a USC yell leader.
And to think I had never taken one step in the state of California until a week before college. WTF?