Adult High School

December 23, 2018

Kyiv, Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine

I grew up in small-town America; I graduated high school in 1995.  Not much was happening in those times in my town 4.5 hours from New York City.  Like in high schools in much of the world there was a pecking order.  

In my high school, the most popular kid was named Ricky Smith (pseudonym).   

Ricky wasn’t popular because he was good-looking, an athlete or an academic.  He didn’t even have any style.  He was loud and obnoxious, arrogant and brash.  And though he was popular, no objective metric could define him as great in anything.  

But Rickey did have that one special thing… the one thing that made him king….

In mid 90’s America the car was everything, and having good wheels in high school was serious business.  It was the place where all important matters happened: time with friends, freedom from parents, sex with the girlfriend, transportation to parties.  All major business went down in the automobile or somewhere in close proximity to it.  Most kids drove around old pieces of shit.  But Ricky was different….  

Ricky’s car was new, big, and had a ton of horsepower.  It rumbled with a deep vibration that got teenage girls excited, a rumble that made rickey’s coordinates—often miles away—felt before heard.  

What was considered “cool” in 1995 America

What was considered “cool” in 1995 America

Groups of students gathered around Ricky and his car on a daily basis after school.  It was black and tough looking with dark tinted windows.  He crushed speed bumps without letting off the gas pedal, he blew through crosswalks never stopping for anybody, he did burnouts whenever possible as his tires squealed loudly.  

Ricky frequently cruised chicks around in his car, all on a steady rotation; his girls had a quick expiration date. In short, Ricky was nothing without his car but everything with it.

After high school, Ricky’s popularity plummeted.  We all graduated and moved on with our lives; nobody believed in the “Ricky illusion” anymore.  The reality was Ricky was just a rude asshole with a nice car.  Behavior that seemed cool in youth quickly turned to uncool once everybody matured.  Smashing speed bumps and flying through crosswalks and red lights was no longer an admired activity; instead, it was despised by anyone with a trace of intellect.  

I’m not sure where Ricky is now but I’m confident he’s looking back to those time in the high school parking lot with his car as the best times of his life.  

Fast forward 23 years and to a different part of the globe, coordinates Kyiv, Ukraine.  I’m not a car guy, as in they don’t consume much of my conscious thought.  With that said, I can appreciate something beautiful and well thought out like a new Benz or Audi (I still don’t see what’s so great about Range Rovers but that’s a personal preference).  A beautiful car is a beautiful car and most people agree it’s a nice thing.   

I have some friends here with nice cars and I’ve met some very cool people with luxury cars in Kyiv….  But cool people with nice cars tend to be in the minority here.  

After settling into Ukraine and living here for a while I’ve observed an interesting trend… there’s a group of Ukrainian Rickys and Rickets (the female version of Ricky) driving around the city streets in the style of Ricky Smith circa 1995.  

The same bullshit of revving up the engine, doing burnouts, smashing speed bumps, and blowing through crosswalks.  That same look on their faces like they’re important and somehow cool while doing things that aren’t cool to anybody around them.  

The only difference between Ricky and his doppelgängers in Kyiv are the same stunts are now performed by grown adults.  

Like Ricky, they hide behind status emblems on their hoods and loud exhaust systems while speeding as fast as they can at all times, inconsiderate of all other livings species.   

I’ve also noticed an odd trend with much of this demographic… they never look like they are actually having any fun or enjoying the ride.  They’re much too concerned with trying to look important.  

I get it… a nice car might equal success in the material world, but the inability to treat others with respect and dignity equals failing at life in the human world.  

If you have a nice car don’t be a Ricky… the world doesn’t need more of them.  Instead be cool to others and enjoy your ride.  

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