YOLO … Let’s Get This Right!

ImagePerhaps I should get started on that book I keep threatening to write – “What They Didn’t Teach Me in Seminary.” 23 years after receiving my Master’s degree, I have encountered everything from the tragic to the thrilling to the downright bizarre. It is hard for me to be shocked at anything anymore, but there is still much that makes me deeply sad.

As I read the story of Samantha Lynn Goudie, it was one of those deeply sad moments. I do not know her. She and I don’t even live in the same state. But her story is reflective of a segment of our society that finds its delight in things that once would have caused embarrassment. 

Samantha, Twitter handle @Vodka_Samm, is a 22 year-old University of Iowa student who was arrested for trying to jump onto the field of the Northern Illinois – University of Iowa football game. When the university police gave young Samantha a breathalyzer test, she blew .341. Now keep in mind that a person in Iowa is considered intoxicated and unable to safely operate a vehicle at .08. This young co-ed was a few clicks north of hammered. 

What’s the big deal you say? Iowa was ranked the number one party school in the nation. We have to expect that college students are going to binge every now and again – especially at the first game of the new college football season. It’s just a sad case of a girl who has way too much to drink and because of it does something stupid. Chalk it up to being young and dumb … a category we’ve all been in at one time or another. 

If this were all there were to the story, I’d probably not be sitting here writing about it. What caught my attention was her tweeting after the incident. From her holding cell she tweeted “just went to jail.#yolo.” Her next tweet: “Blew a .341 in jail.” But this final tweet is what caused a surge of deep sadness to wash over me: “I’m going to get .341 tattooed on me because it is so epic.”

In this context “epic” means something that is awesome or that Samantha has somehow in her mind crossed a threshold into greatness. Basically, this young woman has succeeded in impressing herself by being so incredibly drunk – so much so that she wants to have “.341” tattooed somewhere on her body. 

So here is Samantha at age 65 sitting on the porch with her grandkids when little Bobby asks, “Grandma, what does ‘period three four one’ mean?” Will Granny Vodka_Samm at that point pull little Bobby close and tell him the epic tale of that fateful day in August when she got arrested for being drunker than any other Hawkeye in the stadium?

Perhaps Samantha will think better of her tattoo idea. Perhaps she will mature to the point where this youthful “indiscretion” is not something to be bragged about but becomes one of those “I sure wish I hadn’t done that” moments. Perhaps she will redefine YOLO, “you only live once,” to mean “you only live once … so let’s do this right.”

This is not an indictment of an entire generation of college students. Most of us have a sackful of regrets from our youthful days tucked way back in our closet, don’t we? I am not shocked that a college student would get intoxicated at a game and try to run on the field. Her level of intoxication is what’s scary, but even more frightening is the pride she feels in this accomplishment.

Last night as I sat in the den reading a few articles on this incident, I was compelled to offer up a tweet myself. It read: “We boast in things that once brought shame. We’re ashamed of things that once held value. We claim to be enlightened yet we act like fools.”

You only live once … let’s get this right!

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