For college, I went to a nerd school. Nerdwestern. And it was amazing. We showed up to legions of like-minded kids who read for fun and debated recreationally. As a girl, this was cool with me, but my three dude engineer friends wanted to meet chicks like they’d seen in R-rated college movies. More specifically, they wanted to meet “The Vanderbilt Girl.”
According to them in the legend of “The Vanderbilt Girls,” all of them wore pastel cashmere twin sets suppressing pillowy bosoms, had hair the color of hay with eyes dyed Crayola blue, and always walked around sucking on lollipops. Plus, when the sun went down their favorite game was wet t-shirt pillow fight contests. In pursuit of the real college dream, they road tripped from Chicago to Nashville, which is a direct 7-hour drive due south. (See map for reference.)
We’ll never know the truth of what happened that weekend. For their sake, I’ll concur that it was leg-en-dary. I’m sure that every time they walked in a room AC/DC’s Thunderstuck played. Obviously, all the girls did slo-mo hair flips when they approached the keg. And, of course, there were high-fives. So many high-fives.
The boys were scheduled to drive through the night on Sunday to arrive for Monday classes. In Monday AM orgo, their chairs were conspicuously empty. What had happened to our academic waifs?
They decided to take shifts driving through the night – one wake driver, with two sleeping beauties. At the end of the first shift, they gassed up in Louisville and swapped drivers. [Go ahead, just trace your finger along the below map’s straight line.] At the end of the next shift, they switched again in what should have been Indianapolis. While trying to re-merge on to the highway, none of the entrances made sense. Wink wink, Smartypants driver had made a left turn in Louisville and driven due west towards St. Louis.
Since it was 2001, the only resources to hand were McNally’s maps and dusty green signs. Our boys pulled into a 24-hr pump-n-ride. Finally, Smartypants driver approached Smily gas station attendant. Our friend gripped an over-sized atlas on Page Indiana that he’d exhausted.
“Excuse me sir, can you please tell me where we are on this map?”
Smily looked at the map. He flipped it around and looked at it closer. He flipped it back to Smartypants.
“Son, you ain’t even on this map.”