Like most high school students, I had a pretty tight social group of 8-10 friends and we did most things together on the weekends; including going to the comparably mega metropolis of Bartlesville, Oklahoma to see movies and get pizza, etc. One late Saturday afternoon, as we were headed back to Sedan, the guys (who were each a few bottles in) decided to invent a game whereby they would throw their empty beer bottles at signs along the highway going at top speeds. I was in Mike’s car, per usual, and he had a shiny new Smokey & the Bandit edition Trans-Am (trust me when I tell you this was the height of cool, circa 1978). The Trans-Am had a pretty sweet engine and, at several points along a flat straight-away section, Mike was hitting 120+ miles per hour and would swerve wildly to give the guy in the passenger seat the best chance of hitting signs. He overcorrected several times and we careened into the oncoming lane of traffic. I was in the back seat with one of my best friends and we were scared, seething and yelling at the idiot boys to stop immediately.
When we got home, I read Mike the Riot Act and made him swear he would never engage in such idiocy again, or I would tell all our parents (who were also close friends) and his driving privileges would be suspended indefinitely. The beer buzz had worn off sufficiently and he acknowledged that this was perhaps not the smartest thing he had ever done and promised to abandon this particularly stupid driving game.
What this did for me was stiffen my resolve, and to let guys know, in no uncertain terms, when I was angry about their behavior. It also served as a revelation that I could take matters in my own hands and be one of the drivers in life rather than a passenger. I learned I never have to relinquish control to someone I don’t trust in any situation.