In Phoenix, AZ a red card was a minor badge of coolness handed out by KUPD, the local butt rock radio station, to its loyal listeners. The KUPD Red Card entitled the bearer to various discounts at head shops, record stores, and other business establishments at the center of the stoner universe. During my junior high years in the early 1980s, nearly every teen and preteen who wore a mullet and a flimsy, elbow-length heavy metal concert t-shirt was a proud red cardholder.

In the world of high school extracurricular activities, a red card was a penalty placed on students who were failing a class that week and were therefore ineligible for that weekend's activity, be it a game, match, debate, trip, concert, or anything else. Yes, even the kids in the marching band had to be passing their classes or they'd be pulled from the show. My little brother saw a gem of an opportunity in this rule, and used it to get out of drumming at jazz ensemble concerts when he didn't like the music they'd be performing. All he'd have to do is wait until Monday to turn in his homework, and he'd have an iron-clad excuse to miss the concert.