February 23, 2006

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of High School

AS IT TURNED OUT, I didn’t really enjoy any lazy hazy crazy days in life until I went out to Los Angeles in my early twenties. Still, high school was a memorable and fun time for me: so memorable and fun, in fact, that I’ve only mentioned my high school once by name here on The Rant. Furthermore, I only mentioned it while comparing it to the Detroit Lions, thus underscoring the fondness with which I remember it.

Heh. I'm going to have fun with this one.

With that, I’ll kick off my version of the “High School Meme Post” which has started making its way around the Internet. I first saw the meme at Sheila's site. In my version, though, I did invert the order of the final two questions because I thought it worked better with my post.

Anyway, here goes.

1. Where did you graduate from and what year?

I graduated from this school, which I shall not name, in 1994. I’m not mentioning the name of the school for one reason: I want all my readers to go visit its Web site. Go on, take a minute, and look at it. Look how badly it sucks.

I mean, come on. It’s straight out of ’96. Furthermore, I don’t think the Web site is a good introduction to a school which says it’s working to “ensure that each student graduates with the academic and social skills necessary to participate fully and responsibly as a life-long learner in a global and changing society.”

Then again, maybe it is a good introduction. According to the staff directory posted at the Web site, my high school now has something called a “Student Responsibility Center.” I have no idea what that is, but I suspect it was formerly known as the “Internal Suspension Classroom.” In any event, it might be a good idea to have the troublemaking kids “Do Something Productive” like updating the school Web site, because “Complete Economic Obsolesence” would suck something fierce.

2. Did you have school pride?

Who wrote this survey? Mary Lou Retton?

3. Was your prom a night to remember?

I didn’t attend my high school prom. I had no interest in attending. I mean, think about it: I’m supposed to spend all night at a school-sponsored event, with the people I didn’t like in high school, listening to bad music and drinking fruit punch? Come on. Besides, I was a nerd in high school. I didn’t do anything wild until later.

4. Do you own all four yearbooks?

I own the yearbook from my senior year, provided that “storing the yearbook at my folks’ house in suburban Cleveland” is equivalent to “ownership.”

5. What was the worst trouble you ever got into?

You read the answer to question number three, right? I wouldn’t have known how to get into trouble if I tried. Of course, there was that one time when I was racing Simon From Jersey (who was then Not From Jersey) down Westnedge Avenue, and I got pulled over by the police, but was released with a verbal warning. (If the kids tried a stunt like that today, they’d be taking the bus until they were 24).

6. What kind of people did you hang out with?

It was an eclectic and cool group of people. I liked them.

7. What was your number one choice of college in high school?

I wanted to go to Michigan. As it turned out, that’s where I went.

8. What radio station did you rock out to?

The only radio station I remember from back in the day was WKFR-FM. For the most part, I think I listened to tapes or CDs – I wasn’t much of a radio listener. Looking at WKFR-FM’s Web site, which also blows chunks, I still wouldn’t be much of a radio listener.

9. Were you involved in any organizations or clubs?

For a short while – like three weeks – I was involved with the intramural bowling squad. Hey, you laugh, but in Kalamazoo, Mich., bowling was serious business.

10. What were your favorite classes in high school?

History and English. As such, it made perfect sense for me to spend half my day at a magnet school specializing in math and science.

11. Who was your big crush in high school?

As readers of The Rant know, I make a point of not discussing my love life on the Internet. I mean, my parents read this. My friends read this. My coworkers read this. Most importantly, I’ve found that potential dates may read this, and the last thing I need is to get in trouble with 150 million American women, all of whom share notes.

However, I did have a big crush on this one girl all throughout high school. This came to an end when I asked her out to dinner and a movie, and she laughed at me. Then she asked me whether I was joking. Then, she asked if a friend of mine, whom she had broken up with prior to my asking, had put me up to the stunt. Then, she ripped out my heart with her bare hands and flung it about like a volleyball before stomping on it repeatedly and roasting it on a spit.

No, wait. That last bit was just part of the dramatization. Still, the experience was most certainly not fun.

12. Would you say you've changed a lot since high school?

Yes. In high school, I was only a pale half-formed shadow of who I am today. ("He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil.")

13. What do you miss the most about it?

I miss most that feeling of having graduated. You know, the feeling of having one door close and another door open, of having one chapter come to an end and having another one begin. The feeling of unlimited possibility with absolutely no responsibilities ---

Oh wait. That was college. Never mind.

14. Your worst memory of high school?

Scroll back up to Item 11.

15. Did you have a car?

Yes – I – did. My first car, which I received when I was 17 and a half years old, was a 1987 Mercury Sable. This car taught me the value of patience, especially when I drove it home from college for Thanksgiving with a broken radiator fan, a broken heating system, and a broken defrost system.

16. What were your school colors?

Blue and white. Yes, our school colors were lame-o.

17. Who were your favorite teachers?

Actually, my favorite teacher was probably Mr Burch. Primarily because we spent an entire semester during his senior year English class studying Don Quixote – and with good reason, because Cervantes rules (and is better than Shakespeare by a long shot). Also, Mr Burch told me to write every day, which I started doing and enjoyed.

18. Did you own a cell phone in high school?

When I was in high school, we didn’t have cell phones at all, much less cell phones with fancy-schmancy ring tones and digital cameras and anytime minutes. Oh no. Only responsible well-paid adults had cell phones.

The best people my age could do was to have something called a “beeper.” People would call this “beeper” and enter their telephone numbers, and the “beeper” would “beep.” This gave the wearer a certain cachet, and made him seem important.

I don't know who wrote this quiz, but given that question, I have a feeling they'd be surprised to learn that people once wore actual wall clocks -- yes, on their persons -- as a fashion statement. No, really. It's true. Stop laughing.

19. Did you leave campus for lunch?

Yes! One of the little perks of attending the magnet school in town for a half-day. Another little perk: no gym class.

20. If so, where was your favorite place to go eat?

Taco Bell. I remember that you could order lunch for under $4. Actually, now that I think about it, you can still order lunch for under $4.

21. Were you always late to class?

No. This was because my high school, in one of its periodic fits of discipline, mandated that students who were late to class would be caught up in a dragnet and detained for the period in an unpleasant study hall type of thing.

Also, I was always lucky when it came to class scheduling. This could pose a challenge at my high school, which may be one of the worst surviving examples of post-war architecture in the United States. For one thing, the two school buildings seemed entirely made out of glass, cinder blocks and uremic-colored bricks. For another, it was a spread-out campus, with lots of separate wings and pathways. So, conceivably, someone could have a class in the B wing and then, in five minutes, have to somehow make it all the way to the J wing.

Making matters worse, there was no order to the wings at all – new students could easily get lost looking for the D wing, which if I recall right was under the K wing, or end up exiled in the M wing, which was creepy.

22. Did you ever have to stay for Saturday School?

No. Also, I don’t like this quiz. It makes me feel old.

23. Did you ever ditch?

Yes. Actually, during my senior year, I’m amazed that the attendance people at my high school didn’t send home a nastygram, since I made a regular habit of skipping my morning classes. I mean, I didn’t see any need to go to typing class when I was already typing fifty-some words per minute. I also didn’t see any need to attend Spanish class, which wasn’t the best-taught course I had.

24. What kind of job did you have?

I was a grill cook at a McDonald’s restaurant. I could write a book about this experience, but now that I’m older, I find that this job makes me very sympathetic (in most cases) to present-day fast-food workers. However, I have been annoyed when I’ve had special requests denied that I know, or believe I know, can actually be fulfilled.

25. Do you wish you were still in high school?

That’s like asking a dog if he’d still like to be in his cage.

26. When it comes time for the reunion, will you be there?

If by “there,” you mean “relaxing on St. Kitts,” then yes.

Although, I do wonder: maybe I should someday go back for one of my high school reunions. I mean, it'd be interesting to see how everyone turned out, and I'm sure there are acquaintances I had that would be neat to catch up with again. (I already keep in touch well with my best friend from high school, Simon From Jersey).

Besides, remember that Enterprise Rent-a-Car commercial that had the chubsy guy from the Capital One commercials in it? You know, the one where he looks in the mirror and says hesitantly, "Class of '94, here I come," but all turns out well when he arrives in a Cadillac? And he picks up not one but two hot girls, who applaud him for his style and clear financial acumen?

Well, we'll see.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at February 23, 2006 10:21 PM | TrackBack

It would appear that Loy Norrix High School really does suck.

Posted by: Uncle Dave at February 23, 2006 10:59 PM

Yeah, I certainly thought so. But here's a fun fact: Loy Norrix WAS A REAL PERSON. I mean, that's like the worst name ever.

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at February 23, 2006 11:05 PM

Well that was an interesting synopsis of your teen years and provided information I hadn't previously known. In terms of my own high school reunions ... well I haven't made one yet. But who knows, perhaps I will check out my 50th reunion in 2014.

Posted by: Swammi in Solon at February 24, 2006 08:03 AM