Jack in the Box

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Thirty-odd years ago, on a mid-September day not unlike today, I was a scared, confused, 18 year-old kid. I was living out of the back of my Pinto station wagon behind a Ralph’s grocery store on Boulder Highway just outside of Las Vegas. I had fifty-six cents in my pocket, half a carton of Merit 100 cigarettes in the back seat, and a few pieces of clothing thrown in the back. There was nobody to call. There was nobody to turn to. Just three days before, a loaded gun was cocked into potential action just inches from my face. I was robbed of all my money, and barely escaped during a moment of chaos. There’s so much more to the story of the first three days of being on my own in life, but when I went for a run while in Las Vegas today, thoughts of those days flowed freely in my mind. I’ve been to Las Vegas hundreds of times since, and I’ve often relived the craziness of being forced to discover adulthood under unimaginable circumstances close to where it all happened. It was at this Jack in the Box restaurant that I found the basis from which to begin my post-childhood, and as I ran by the restaurant today, I marveled at how far away I am from those days, yet how close to perfectly fresh the memories still are.