I remember exactly where I was 20 years ago today, the night O.J. Simpson captivated the entire nation with his slow-speed chase through Los Angeles.
I was at Hooters.
It was a few weeks after I returned to Milwaukee for the summer after my sophomore year in college. I had just started working as an intern in the corporate communications department at Johnson Controls. My friend, Eron Laber, and I decided to drive to Chicago to watch game five of the NBA finals.
Being 20 and underage, and with just one fake ID between the two of us, we settled on Hooters as a possible place to sneak in. It was the first and last time, actually, I‚Äôve been to a Hooters. They didn‚Äôt even card us.
Before the O.J. shenanigans, I remember mostly the tension in the air from the World Cup, which was being held in Chicago. On one side of the bar, drunken Germans chanted loudly, while confused Bolivian fans were raising a ruckus of their own on the other side. It felt weird that few people were interested in the NBA Game, which of course, was interrupted by O.J. and the slow white Bronco.
I remember sipping a Miller Lite and eating some fried food, watching the scene play out in a dreamlike state. Eron and I expected O.J. to shoot himself in the head on live TV, or a European soccer fight to break out. Neither happened.
I also remember the ride back. I was staying with my grandma that summer, and our freeway exit was Brown Deer Road. We ran out of gas on the off ramp, and coasted into the gas station on Brown Deer and Port Road. It seemed like a fitting end to a surreal night.
Where were you when O.J. took off?
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