Somebody told us that Oliver North was coming. That was all we needed to know. Without even discussing it, I vowed with my friends Steve and Jake that we would be there. It was a duty, since we counted ourselves as three of an estimated 11 liberals in town.

In truth, we had probably overstated the left-of-center population in St. Joseph, Michigan. Call it wishful thinking.

“It’s our chance to remind the people that the United States of America needs to end its illicit colonial wars in Latin America,” Steve proclaimed. He was the most radical among us by virtue of the fact that for weeks he’d been driving around with a hand-scrawled sign in his car that said “U.S.—hands off Nicaragua!” None of our classmates knew what the hell he was talking about, but they were pretty sure it was some commie crap.

“Yeah,” said Jake, who had recently begun making his own statement of cultural defiance by wearing around red Daffy Duck children’s sunglasses. “Plus, Ollie North is a dickhead.”