Includes the Challenger explosion, Hands Across America, young Ian McKellen and Bill Clinton, and more. Hell of a year.

I worked the swing shift then – afternoon to past midnight – and often got up at noon. I heard about the Challenger explosion on Howard Stern, which was an unusual place to receive news like that.

I covered Hands Across America for the daily newspaper I then worked for. I got on a school bus with a bunch of other adults and families, rode an hour or so to the point where the line was closest to our community, got in the line, held hands for a minute or so, broke handholding, then got back on the bus and went back home. I wrote a solemn article about how wonderful and spiritual the experience was for all participating, working together to stamp out … well, whatever it was that we were protesting against.

In reality, here’s what happened: I fell in with a group of layabouts on the bus and we had a hilarious time drinking on the way out. After the bus stopped, we found a bar near the Hands Across America route and drank some more. Then a couple of minutes before the event, we said oh fuck and ran out and held hands with the line and then went back into the bar and had a further hilarious time until it was time to get back on the bus and continue hilarious drinking from our mobile headquarters.

I should have written that story.

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