Josna Rege

9. The Golden Boy

In 1970s, Stories, United States on March 4, 2010 at 6:16 am

1979: Geoff McNabola and I were driving from Concord, Mass, to an anti-nuclear meeting in Cambridge, and we were late. Geoff was one of the mainstays of the Concord-to-Worcester contingent: capable, hard-working, and bursting with energy. But he drove like a maniac at the best of times, so it didn’t surprise me when a Cambridge cop stopped us as we were whipping round the Fresh Pond rotary. Since I fall uncharacteristically quiet in the face of traffic policemen, it fell to Geoff to deal with him.

“Do you realize how fast you were going?”

The officer began with a standard script. Geoff, however, threw him right off-balance with his non-standard reply—one I could never have gotten away with:

“Officer, we’ve got to go. We’re already late for a meeting to save the world. Do you want to make us even later?”

With his shock of blond hair,  mischievous grin, comforting Boston accent, and easy confidence, Geoff was the fresh-faced all-American boy next door, nothing like the stereotypical anti-nuclear activist, a cross between Robert Redford without the wrinkles and a young Bill Clinton. Not even the cop could resist him. Instantly disarmed, he dismissed us with a wave of his hand:

“Go on with you then, get outta here.”

And that was it—we were free. Infuriating—but very useful.


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  1. great stuff Jo i cannot help loving this! – Jacky

  2. This sounds like something my middle brother might be able to pull off. Amazing. Where is Geoff now, I wonder?

    • Recently I found his address on the internet and have been meaning to write to him. I feel a little guilty about having used his name in the story without having contacted him first. I suspect that he and/or some of his family has already found this link, because it got a rush of hits during a week or two in the summer. A few years back we received a phone call from him out of the blue, after many, many years, and I had just been thinking of him! But then, somehow, we lost his contact information all over again. It’s time to get back in touch, I think.

      • Hey josna,
        if you would like to contact Geoffs contact info i can give it to you. just send me an email at and yes he has seen the story. Got a big kick out of it

        • I’m really glad he liked it, Ryan. We did email back and forth after you sent me the address, but I forgot to reply to you–so sorry (better 3 years late than never!). Best wishes, J

  3. All depends on who you are to be able to bond with the cop and be waved on. I would not try it as an “Islander”. I think it’s called white privilege.

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