John Y’s Musings from the Middle: My Night As An Outlaw

My night as an outlaw.

Some people aren’t good at being bad….but the important thing is to not focus so much on the mischievous act itself as much as on how loved ones should react–proportionately and appropriately.

I’m convinced that one of life’s most difficult to learn lessons is this timeless truth.

30 years ago while a freshman at Transy, I had a friend with two tickets for us to go to the Rolling Stones concert at Rupp Arena.

I also secured two last minute tickets myself. My friend asked what should we do and I said, “Let me handle this. I know what I’m doing.”

Arriving at the concert I overheard a gentlemen with a buzz haircut and wearing an army flak jacket asking about needing tickets. I offered two and named the price, $75.

He said, “I’m going to have to take your tickets and write you up a citation for ‘scalping tickets’ which is against the law in KY.” And he flashed his badge.

“Uhhhhh” I said.

And added, “Uhhhhh”

And finally, “Uhhhh” again.

He took the concert tickets and my license and handed me a $52.50 citation and wished me well. My friend had bolted with my ticket and was enjoying the concert. I went to our car which was blocked in for the night. This was pre-cell phone days so I went to a phone booth and called my mother.

“Some friends heard on the radio you’d gotten arrested for scalping tickets. Is that true?” She asked.

“I was cited. Not arrested! And I’m stuck without my car until after the concert. And they took the concert tickets too!” I responded.

“Well, as my friends said, it’s kinda funny and not that big a deal.”

That was my mom.

As for my dad, a few weeks later we had a family dinner and during the prayer before dinner my dad jokingly thanked the Lord that I was safe and not in prison. But added he was personally disappointed I only asked $75 per ticket when I could have gotten much more.

And finally, after dinner, my grandfather Brown, the renowned criminal lawyer age 81, offered to represent me pro bono and suggested we plead “temporary insanity.”

I was so relieved….and had learned my lesson.

The whole awful episode ended for me with my family supporting and laughing off what was a dumb thing to do–but not much more than that. Just a dumb kid being a dumb kid. But not being a “bad kid.”

And I’ll always be grateful for that.


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