Your Guide to High School Hate
A Little Introduction
Welcome! Welcome to the wonderful world of high school, the next stepping stone on your ultimate journey to adulthood. Gone are the youthful days of elementary and intermediate school. Farewell to recesses and childhood games. You've just entered the new and exciting world of secondary school education, four wild and exciting years, chock full of fun and memories. These are the best years of your life! These are the years that you'll look back on and smile.
Actually, that's all a load of crap.
High school is neither a fantastic dreamworld nor a breeding ground of happiness. It's not even a goal to look forward to. High school is the root of more unpleasant memories and psyche-damaging experiences than in any other time in a person's life with the possible exceptions of a brief stint with the Manson family or dousing yourself with gasoline around open flame. Mere social traumas like divorce, war, pestilence, and stomach flu pale in comparison to the four years of educational hell you must submit yourself to in order to be declared a fit adult. What makes high school extra tricky, and as a result, more odious, is the surplus of two-faced liars and infidels who will try to con you into thinking that this suffering and agony somehow builds character. You could cover twelve acres of farmland with that fertilizer.
And that's why this guide exists -- to expose such lies, to alert the unknowing student to the sea of deceit swelling around him/her, and to teach students how to gain a perverse enjoyment by making everyone else as miserable as them. Your Guide to High School Hate is the one place for troubled teens to turn to for truth, other than "Welcome Back, Kotter" or "Happy Days" reruns. What's more, this book serves as a powerful reminder to ex-students, the lucky few who survived, about the sheer torment and trauma of their high school years, making it even easier to gloat at our nation's young people.
Now to answer a few questions about this high school business that may be dancing around in your brain...
So What Exactly Is High School?Some people will tell you that high school is a secondary education system designed to prepare the youth of today for the world of tomorrow. These are lies, lies that fester in the mouths of jackals, heathens, and vice-principals. In reality, high school should be thought of as a holding cell, intended to keep minors from enjoying their carefree teen years. It's the one time in your life where the government takes complete and utter responsibility for you, provided you don't wind up on welfare or get elected to Congress.
It wasn't always like this. Once upon a time in our nation's history, there was no high school. Kids 14 to 18 were free to do as they pleased, which usually meant wandering aimlessly about the prairie, shooting at furry critters, or waiting for cable television to be invented. True, not a very exciting existence, but a sufficient one nevertheless.
But this wasn't good enough for some people who just couldn't let things be. The government, exhibiting the same wisdom and reasoning that gave us the McCarthy hearings and the Reagan administration, decided that high school should be mandatory. They claimed that this would only benefit the United States, that teenagers would become fine, upstanding members of the populace, that democracy would thrive, and that our nation would take its preordained place as the big cheese amongst international powers. This was to hide their true motives -- the government can't stand to see anyone happy.
And so it was that high school came to be. The fourteen through eighteen year olds, heretofore free as the wild beasts, were cruelly consigned to a stifling classroom to be kept out of sight and out of mind. The students' resentment grew, and America went down the toilet. Now the Japanese own our buildings, the Middle East controls our oil, and the dollar is trounced by the German mark. Even Canada laughs.
So now you have to go to high school. It's the law, just like you can't tear the tags off of mattresses or broadcast a baseball game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.
High school is just another way-station in the process of avoiding life. Consider the following cycle: You're born. You go to school to learn things. You learn things to get a job. You get a job to make money. You make money to buy stuff. You buy stuff to enjoy yourself. But before that can happen, you die. To summarize: born, learn, work, die. This is the sort of absurdity that will be the cornerstone of your high school life.
What Will I Get Out of High School?
* A diploma that will enable you to work in any fast food restaurant around the world.
* Emotional scars that may take a lifetime to heal.
* A stunning realization that devoting the first eighteen years of your life solely to graduating from high school was probably not time well spent.
* A chance to act immature and do stupid things that you could never get away with in real life. Only high school students can toilet paper houses, urinate off roofs, and drink until they swim in a pool of their own vomit. If real adult-type people tried any of that, they would get arrested, or whopped upside the head. Think of high school as your last free chance to act like a lobotomized ass. This will add subtle meaning to your life.
Millions of People Graduate from High School Every Year.
What Qualifies You to Write a Book About It?
Because I took notes.
Is High School Really That Bad?
Let's put it this way -- high school students aren't drinking themselves into a coma every weekend out of happiness with their station in life.
Then How Will I Ever Survive?
Just remember the four most beautiful words on the planet -- "It's only four years." Four years is but spit in the great ocean of eternity. Unlike adults who must spend decade after decade in a boring, go nowhere job, you will be totally free in just four years. Of course, once you're out, then you'll become one of those adults with a boring, go nowhere job, so that's small comfort, really. No, I guess you won't survive. Sorry.
Why Should I Put Myself Through Such Misery?
Because you have to. Each culture has a ritualized program of suffering designed to squelch any idealized or romantic notions its young people may have formed. Everyone else had to go through it, so you do too, you whimpering ninny. In olden times, young Indian braves would have to face mountain lions, bears, and other deadly animals as a test of their courage. You have to take Geometry. Granted, the Indian braves got the better end of the deal, but that's neither here nor there. Remember: High School -- it's the law. You're not supposed to like it.
So Why Do Adults Lie to Us About High School?
Because they are old and senile. Years of monotonous, mind- numbing employment and drug use have dulled their brain cells and erased all memories prior to their twenty-fifth birthdays. Besides, adults resent the fact that young people are stronger, faster, more efficient, and more sexually potent than old farts. Consequently, adults hide the truth to make reality all the more painful.
How Do I Know You're Not Lying?
Just start reading the book, smart-ass...
Orientation, or The Beginning of the End
Before you embark on the descent into Hell that is high school, you must be officially initiated, in order to insure that there is no possible legal escape for you. This process is known as Orientation. It is particularly insidious because the malevolent powers that be make it seem as if you want to be in high school, that you need high school, that you can't possibly live another day without high school. Some of the malevolent powers that be (henceforth referred to as THEM) have been known to reduce unsuspecting thirteen and fourteen year olds into weeping, quivering shadows of their former selves begging to be let into high school. It is not uncommon to hear newly enrolled students crying out "Oh thank you, malevolent powers that be! Thank you for including me in this grand pageant of secondary school education!"
The theme of Orientation is simple: Break down a young child's resistance by whatever means necessary. And these means make Machiavelli look like Captain Kangaroo. THEM will seize any opportunity to gain control over your mind and destiny, whether it's through subtle manipulation, threatening the family pet, or just making obscene phone calls to your home in the middle of the night. When it comes to shattering the innocence of youth, THEM doesn't futz around.
What makes THEM's approach successful, and at the same time, chilling, is its recruitment methods. THEM lures its potential students (otherwise known as "prey " or "fresh meat") by utilizing respected parents and even fellow students as bait. By making it appear as if high school is-condoned and even endorsed by normal, right-thinking members of the community, THEM tricks its prey into accepting high school as a joyous and much yearned for destination (Incidentally, the Republican Party functions in a similar manner.).
Orientation -- The Methods, The Madness
There are two basic approaches to Orientation employed by THEM, both equally popular and almost interchangeable. In Approach #1, you, the potential student, are introduced to approximately 438 other students, who through sincere looking smiles, will try to squelch any fear or anxiety you may have. All of them will swear that they plan to spend every waking hour attending to your beck and call. "If you have any problems," they say in soothing tones, "just come to me."
You will never see these people again.
All 438 will secretly disappear to a remote South American country where they will be replaced by new students who couldn't care less about your welfare and will probably revel in causing you undue misery. This is known as the bait and switch. Fear it.
Approach #2 is a time tested and highly successful system recognized by Orientation experts the world over as outright deceit. There is nothing tricky about this particular approach. THEM simply boasts about aspects of high school that would appeal to potential students, such as free soda for every freshman and optional attendance. You don't have to be a Nobel Prize winner to realize that THEM is lying like a cheap rug. Nevertheless, incoming high school Students are easily fooled critters, willing to believe any claim that high school is the education equivalent of Disneyland. The beauty of outright deceit is that by creating false illusions of happiness, the introduction of reality becomes all the more painful. When the poor, whimpering students realize that high school is not the Valhalla they were told about, the results can range anywhere from minor depression to psychological collapse, from loss of appetite to uncontrollable slobbering. Mental health asylums around the country have entire wards devoted to thirteen and fourteen year olds who were crushed when they discovered that attendance was not optional.
Now that you understand what's at stake and the methods used by THEM in the bloodthirsty conquest of the human soul, it's time to begin the process that will forever trap you in the bowels of high school. It's time to get Oriented! (As opposed to getting Occidented...)
Phase One: The Line
Ever join the army? Gone to prison? Tried to buy toilet paper in Moscow? Then you've already undergone a sampling of the first phase of Orientation--the Line from Hell.
Imagine an impenetrable wall of juvenile flesh that slowly snakes forward, but never seems to get anywhere. This is the Line from Hell. It is composed primarily of incoming freshmen and their mothers. The mothers are filled with hope and excitement for the future and talk nervously among themselves. The incoming freshmen just wish they were back home in bed.
One of the many sidelights to the Line from Hell is the perverse delight that may be gained by watching mothers embarrass their offspring. Hours of amusement can be had as you witness these mothers 1) talk in voices loud enough to be heard in the next county, 2) say hello to every other mother in line, 3) laugh at stupid things, 4) wistfully reminisce about their first year in high school, 5) try to arrange dates for their children, and 6) sing old Bavarian drinking songs. Some schools even have a "Most Embarrassing Mother" Pageant during Orientation where cash and other valuable prizes may be won. And the swimsuit competition is dynamite.
But not even "Most Embarrassing Mother" Pageants can outshine the true purpose of the Line from Hell. And that purpose is to force you into signing your very life away to the cruel high school gods. Every mildly useful bit of information about you that may one day be used as blackmail is collected through the forms that you sign. Emergency Information. Family Ancestry. Dental Records. Shoe Size. Psychiatric Analysis of Eating, Sleeping, and Sexual Habits. And of course, Deportment. There can also be other forms which ask you to answer questions in a format similar to a pop quiz. Questions like:
* What's the capital of Nebraska? (Lincoln)
* What is the official currency of Greece? (the Drachma)
* A train leaves Chicago at 9 a.m. traveling at 200 miles an hour. At what time will it pass a train leaving at 8 a.m., traveling at 172 miles an hour? (Never--the first train will derail.)
* Explain the basic tenets of Sartre's Being and Nothingness. (False)
The answers and contents of these forms are essentially worthless. What THEM is looking for is good penmanship. Students with sloppy handwriting can expect to be whisked away and sold to medical research laboratories, never to be heard from again.
As the line progresses, you will encounter the Valley of the Vapid PTA Mothers. These were once happy and fulfilled people, but years of doing THEM's bidding has left these wretched women staring vacantly off into space with plastered on smiles etched upon layers of make-up. In this sense, they tend to resemble Mary Kay cosmetic saleswomen. There is no truth to the rumor, however, that Nancy Reagan is a Vapid PTA Mother.
These lost souls have but one purpose in their otherwise meaningless existence: to get you involved! Join the Homecoming Committee! Join the Student Council! Join the Cheerleading Squad! Join! Join! Or be worthless and unloved. The decision is strictly yours. (In most cases, it really doesn't matter if you sign up for these groups or not. Many Vapid PTA Mothers who need to fill a quota will forge your signature after you leave, obliging you to serve organizations you have no interest in. This is how people "join" the audio-visual squad and "voluneer" to scrape decade-old gum off the bottom of desks.)
Several hours later, you will reach the end of the Line from Hell. Provided that your penmanship is up to snuff and that you've appeased the Vapid PTA Mothers, you are ready to be brainwashed, uh, enrolled. Remember, you're supposed to be enjoying this.
Phase Two: The Big Ol' Rally Of Fun
The Big Ol' Rally of Fun is just that -- a Big Ol' Rally that in actuality is a little Fun. "Why," you ask, "does THEM incorporate fun? Isn't this a little out of character for sinister forces that are the embodiment of all that is evil?" The answer is a big, fat, capitalized, highlighted --NO--, in the sense that THEM uses fun for its own evil gains. Just as Mom used to trick you into eating strained asparagus by pretending the spoon was a choo-choo, so does THEM fool you into thinking high school is hours of amusement by pretending it's like the Big Ol' Rally of Fun.
The Big Ol' Rally of Fun is mostly a lot of people talking about how great high school is. What follows is a reproduction of an actual Orientation speech obtained at the cost of many lives and some spare change. For your convenience, the parts containing outright deceit have been set off in italics.
Hi! I'm (INSERT NAME HERE), the (INSERT POSITION HELD HERE) at (INSERT HIGH SCHOOL NAME HERE). A lot of people will say your high school years are the best years of your life. And do you know what? They're right! In your four years here at (INSERT HIGH SCHOOL NAME HERE), you'll make new friends, learn new things, and of course, have loads and loads of fun. I remember my first year of high school. Boy, was I scared! But the people here at (INSERT HIGH SCHOOL NAME HERE) really cared about my well-being -- particularly (INSERT RANDOM TEACHER'S NAME HERE). Now, I'm sure you've all heard stories about upperclassmen hassling freshmen. These stories are completely false. Upperclassmen are your friends. If you have a problem, they'll help you out. That's why we're all here, to make things easier for you, not to make your life more difficult. And if trouble should arise, be sure to call on me (INSERT NAME HERE). I want to make sure you have the best high school years possible. See you around.
This speech will be repeated verbatim by several dozen people. In between speech repetitions, the marching band plays, the cheerleaders cheer, and the drill team does whatever it is drill teams usually do.
Next you will break up into groups to go off on guided tours of the campus. Groups can be divided based upon last name, age, family income, eye color, and of course, deportment. Group division is usually meaningless, however, as you will probably wind up not knowing anyone in your group, and they will end up resenting you anyhow. You'll become isolated and loathed, hated by your peers before you even set foot in a classroom. It happens like clockwork every year. It's probably happening to you right now, and you don't even realize it.
The campus tour is generally uneventful, except for the many icebreaker games you will be forced to play. Icebreaker games were invented by Bob Icebreaker of Calumet City, Illinois, who believed that forced introductions made for a better world. Mr. Icebreaker, much impressed with his own cleverness, reasoned that most people were incapable of just shaking hands and saying hello, so he devised inane games that would not only introduce people to each other, but turn them into lifelong comrades as well. Unfortunately for Mr. Icebreaker, he failed to take into account that people were annoyed by his silly, little games, thus creating an atmosphere ill-suited for making pals. During your Orientation experience, you'll make at least two lifelong enemies because of icebreaker games, which include:
* Silly Name Riddles -- By far the most popular of the icebreaker games, and not coincidentally, the one most likely to incite homicide. This insipid exercise requires you to somehow mutilate your name into a witty pun, a la Shakespeare or Howard Cosell. An example is the Rhyming Adjective Game where said contestant, i.e. you, must choose an adjective that starts with the same letter as your first name--for example, "Dangerous David," "Pusillanimous Pete," "Slutty Sarah." The true horror to this particular game is that Mr. Icebreaker honestly assumed that rational people would find delight performing an exercise which monkeys can be trained to imitate.
* The Pass the Orange Game -- The thinking behind this little task is that passing an orange using only your neck will create an unspoken bond between two total strangers. For an added twist, boys are often forced to pass their orange only to girls, and vice versa, causing further alienation and distress to the sexually unconfident. (Sadly, this was Mr. Icebreaker's undoing. His games never caught on outside of orientation, business seminars, and communes that follow bizarre sexual practices. He became the laughingstock of an entire nation. His business failed, and eventually he went inside. Mr. Icebreaker died on March 16, 1988, while trying to play Pass the Orange with several large marines.)
* The Stand Up and Tell Us Something About Yourself Nightmare -- In this game, you are forced to stand up in front of others and answer probing questions about your background, such as "What's the most exciting thing that ever happened to you?" or "What's a hidden talent that you have?" This seems harmless enough, until you realize that nothing exciting has happened to you, and that the only hidden talent you have is an ability to spit cherry pits a great distance. The existence is completely without purpose or meaning is always a comforting one, especially when realized amongst strangers.
Now that you've had your icebreaker fun, it's back to the gym for a big, exciting Orientation dance. The Orientation dance is a lot like regular dances, except that at this one, people pretend to be interested in you. For a moment, you have the illusion that high school is going to be great, that you've found your place in the universe.
It doesn't last.
or Your Guide to Today's Troubled Teen
You know, if you listen to a lot of pop music, talk to a lot of psychoanalysts, or see every Emilio Estevez movie ever made, you'd reach one inescapable conclusion about our nation's teens: they're loopier than a flock of loons. Our culture is hung up on the idea that the average American high school student is a raging sea of misery and anguish, and that at any given moment, Bob the Straight-A Student is going to snap and firebomb Mrs. MacMillan's home economics class. While pretentious brooding is a popular hobby amongst high school students, most teens are far more vacuous, silly, and non- threatening than we normally give them credit for.
But still the same question keeps pouring in from parents across the land...
Q: What the hell is wrong with that kid of mine?
Parental concern like this is always admirable, but in this case, there's no need to worry. This period of sullenness, angst, and general moping is just another phase children go through in the process of becoming as messed up as their parents. Remember when little Billy used to dress up in Mommy's underclothes or when Mary wished she had a penis too? Well, the little tykes grew out of that phase just like they'll grow out of this one. (Unless, of course, they still haven't grown out of that phase, in which case your child is screwed in the head. You'd be better off selling the kid to Iranian businessmen and forgetting this entire parenthood thing before you waste any more dough on the little deviant bastard.)
High school students go through this stage of teenage angst for many reasons. An obscene number of hormones is rampaging through their bodies like a horde of Visigoths pillaging Europe. While adult- type people are able to work off any excess aggression by exercising, having lots of sex, or starting wars, high school students can only read The Great Gatsby. It also doesn't help that most teens are stricken with severe acne, which makes them look like a bit player in a bad 1950's sci-fi movie. This is bound to make anyone moody.
The consequences of these social traumas are reflected in the way teens behave in every day situations. High school students in their wild and never-ending quest for an identity to call their own, blindly conform to the ways and attitudes of those around them, rejecting any idea which contains even the slightest hint of originality. Simply put, high school students are as predictable as bad weather in Buffalo. While this may not be particularly healthy from a psychological standpoint, it sure does make life a heck of a lot easier. Imagine the chaos that would result if everyone insisted upon being different. People would just meander about, glassy-eyed and confused, unsure of what to say to anybody else. Pretty soon, communists would be running amuck in our cities. So realize how swell it is that people are like mindless sheep whom we can easily stereotype into only specific categories of high school students. And as you lay down to sleep tonight, thank God you live in a country as unoriginal and spineless as ours.
or Those Funny Guys in Suits
Up until 1978, very little was known about high school administrators. They were elusive creatures that roamed in packs, making them almost inaccessible to John Q. Public. The only time administrators appeared to the populace at large was at PTA meetings, and then, the only things they said were "So nice to see you" and "These brownies are delicious."
Then, social anthropologist Jennifer "Spanky" Taylor published her highly-respected thesis "Administrators in the Mist." Taylor had spent five years observing high school administrators -- what they ate, migratory patterns, mating rituals, etc. Taylor's work shed new light upon these heretofore mysterious critters. It is almost sad that she never lived to see the full benefits of her research, as she was trampled to death by a herd of wild African administrators in 1981.
There are literally dozens of categories of administrators, each with different habits and dispositions. Some generalities can be made:
* All administrators are old.
* All administrators wear suits (even the female ones).
* All administrators are former teachers who couldn't relate to students, and are thus sworn to make adolescents' lives more difficult than they need to be.
* All administrators like brownies.
With this in mind, we can now delve into the realm of high school administrators. The following information is from Dr. Taylor's research, but we can reprint it without permission because she's dead.
The Principal: (Biggus Cheesus Administratum) Just as the mighty lion holds dominion over the vast jungle, just as the sun is orbited by all the planets, just as Gerald Ford was at one point important to somebody, so is the Principal the captain of the mighty ship known as high school. The Principal answers to everyone -- teachers, students, parents, the community. Naturally, this situation has rendered them understandably paranoid. Often, Principals can be found cowering under their desks while they eat brownies and mumble incoherently about the PTA. Besides acting as a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong at the school, the Principal has several ceremonial duties. He/She speaks at assemblies, plants trees, and on occasion, can even be spotted waving at a student.
Some Principals see themselves as a type of absolute dictator, and as a consequence, the power has gone directly to their heads. A Principal with this type of God complex is likely to be found roaming the halls, grabbing students by the scruff of their necks, and interrogating them in the boys' bathroom. "Who's been starting the food fights in the cafeteria?" the Principal can be heard bellowing. "Which students are smoking dope? Are you loyal to me? Answer me, or I'll have you flogged!"
It is also customary at the start of the academic year for a Principal to request a human sacrifice, usually a freshperson.
One word of warning about Principals: Those who do their jobs well, who satisfy teachers, students, and parents, are usually considered a threat to the educational status quo. These types of Principals are quickly "promoted" to jobs as "administrative assistant" to the Board of Education, where they can do as little damage as possible.
Vice Principals: (Toadies Maximus) All the unpleasantness of a Principal's job requirements fall on the shoulders of the Vice Principal. Vice Principals are responsible for doing the Principal's dirty work, mainly enforcing the numerous rules and procedures that abound in high school.
The quantity of Vice Principals (also known as VPs) varies from school to school. Some schools have just one. Some have dozens. There is one high school in Texas that has two Vice Principals for every student. Each of these extraneous VP's has an official title, usually about a paragraph long.
It is not unusual to see such titles as 'Vice Principal for Student Behavior," "Vice Principal for Ordering People to Smile and Say 'Have a Nice Day'," or "Vice Principal in Charge of the Cafeteria Every Other Monday During Months Ending with an 'R'." There has never been a title along the lines of 'Vice Principal who Really Doesn't Do Much, But Is Just Hanging Around Long Enough to Collect a Nice, Fat Pension," though most students believe that pretty much sums up all VP's.
The administrator that students deal with the most is the Vice Principal (or in many cases, Vice Principals). In fact, it would not be far off to conclude that every aspect of a student's life is influenced in some way by a Vice Principal, whether it be schoolwork, after-school jobs, or even dating. Many a budding relationship has been obliterated on the whim of one of these nefarious administrators. Vice-Principals know they have this power, and it makes them cocky. If you see one coming, it is best to hide in a nearby locker. You get a lot more dates that way.
Guidance Counselors: (Blownsmokus Upassus) There's an old saying among smart asses that goes something like this: "If Guidance Counselors know so much about planning for the future, then why did they wind up as Guidance Counselors?" Such an attitude only betrays ignorance and naivete. Guidance Counselors are the smartest people on the face of the earth.
Let's say Johnny goes to his Guidance Counselor seeking advice on a possible career. 'Well, Johnny," says the quick-thinking Counselor, "You show an aptitude for physical labor. Why don't you pursue a career in ditch digging?" Johnny follows this suggestion, and almost immediately, a big, fat check from the Benevolent Order of Ditch Digging Americans winds up in the bank account of the Guidance Counselor, expressing BODDA's "gratitude" for the Counselor's "advice." In other words, Guidance Counselors take kickbacks and payola from professional organizations and occupations for the advice they give. A Guidance Counselor who's on the ball peddles high school students to the highest bidder like some colonial slave trader. This is how Counselors finance their imported sports cars and their summer condos in West Palm Beach.
But it isn't just checks from the Benevolent Order of Ditch Digging Americans or the Federation of Laboring Street Mimes that lines the pockets of the enterprising Guidance Counselor. By convincing students to go to a particular university, Counselors can receive up to a quarter of that student's tuition as a gift of thanks from the college's chancellor.
So while other working class staffs labor eight hours a day for a measly paycheck, Guidance Counselors sit in their air conditioned offices, talking with their stockbroker, making deposits in their Swiss bank account, and raking in the graft, proof positive that capitalism is alive and well, especially among administrators.
School Nurse/School Psychologist: (Medicus Nonavailablus) We're in a new era in which Americans demand the best in services for their school children. As a result, many high schools now feature a nurses and psychologist as part of the administrative staff. Unfortunately, most of these Americans are unwilling to pay the higher taxes that would fund these services, so the nurse and psychologist are only available one day a week, usually every other Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Try to limit your illnesses to these particular hours.
Besides, it's not like they can prescribe drugs. The only thing nurses and psychologists can legally do is take your temperature, regardless of whether you have the flu, the clap, Addison's disease, jaundice, or a severe oedipal complex.
Board of Education/District Superintendent: (Politicos Weaslus) Members of the community who take an active interest in education usually are elected to positions on the Board of Education. The Board is obligated to hire a Superintendent of Schools, someone who is slightly obese, frighteningly benign, and has some sort of phony Ph.D. in education. Board of Education Members and the Superintendent are directly responsible for the quality of your education. This ensures that you will never see them.
Board Members and the Superintendent are often times too concerned with their huge salaries (four times what the average teacher makes), banning naughty books like Huck Finn and The Catcher In the Rye, and making humorous armpit noises to be troubled by the day to day hassles of running a school district.
It's probably better that way.
This ends our tour of the administrative beast. As you can see, administrators are essentially harmless if you remember to avoid them whenever possible, refrain from doing bad things in front of them like cursing or smoking marijuana, and appear to be just another directionless, uninspired student. To an administrator, a student who takes interest in his or her education is probably not well in the head, and therefore a troublemaker, so they like it if you act as bored and unhappy as everyone else. And carry lots of brownies.
or Riding the Death Machine
There's no way to describe the feeling you get the first time you sit behind the wheel of a car and realize that one mistake on your part can send this two-ton vehicle of death careening at high speed into walls, telephone poles, and unsuspecting passersby. Oh, the power at your fingertips, the power to grant life or death to whomever you choose! The maddening, seductive power! (It's okay if you don't realize this now. All those films like "Red Asphalt" that you watch in Driver's Training Class will quickly remind you of the awesome killing capacity of automobiles.) But first, you have to figure out how to start the damn thing, and that's where your parents come in.
While for the most part a major inconvenience to any hip teen, parents do serve some purpose in life. Besides conceiving you, picking up after you, and washing your underwear, parents are invaluable driving instructors for one reason and one reason only: they supply the car!
This is just another example of the grand and glorious symbiotic relationship you have with your folks. They provide you with a roof, three meals a day, and material possessions. In return, you mock their old-fashioned ways, embarrass them in front of their friends, and spend their hard-earned dough. This is the sort of host/parasite relationship that makes the biological food chain go 'round.
Having risked a rather expensive material possession, as well as the possibility of injury or death should you suck, parents are understandably jumpy when teaching their young'ens to drive. For this reason, they tend to scream at the slightest provocation, be it a minor speeding infraction (say, forty miles per hour over the speed limit) or a tendency you might develop to swerve into oncoming traffic. It is not uncommon for adults in this situation to lean across from the passenger side of the car and rip the steering wheel out of the hands of the startled young driver. Should anyone try this with you, resist at all costs. That steering wheel is yours, dammit! Surrender it, and you surrender all control. Fight for that steering wheel, even if it means plunging your vehicle off the top of a steep ravine to the fiery death that awaits you below. At least, no one can accuse you of being wimpy.
Upon surviving your parent-supervised driver training sessions, it is time to hustle your buns down to the Department of Motor Vehicles to attain that tangible symbol of adulthood, the Driver's License. (Pause for reverent murmuring.)
The DMV has a three step process for proving your worthiness to control a machine with the capability of mutilating a person beyond recognition. The DMV wants to be extra sure that you're a good driver, and this way, you have three possible chances to fail. Failing a driver's test is not the end of the world. The DMV will simply record your name and send out a memo heralding your failure to all your friends, teachers, and associates, thus securing your legacy as an incompetent spank for eternity. And in two weeks, you get to go through the humiliation again.
The Eye Test
In the Eye Test, a DMV employee takes a laser beam capable of slicing uranium and shines it directly into your eyes until your retinas start to sizzle and pop. Once a viscous, blood-like fluid begins to ooze... sorry. This isn't the Eye Test at all. Ignore all that.
The Eye Test is a carefully designed examination to test sight. The testee, in this case, you, stands at one end of the room, while a copy of Dickens' PICKWICK PAPERS is located on the opposite side. You are then required to read a chapter selected at random from the finely-printed volume. Most people cheat on this section by memorizing PICKWICK PAPERS in its entirety before the exam. We suggest you do the same.
The Written Test
This portion of your test taking buffet requires you to supply answers to multiple choice questions in order to display your driving savvy. Questions like:
1) You may turn right on a red light... a) when traffic is clear and local laws permit it. b) whenever you damn well want. c) when you can cause the most property damage and endanger the lives of the greatest amount of people. 2) This sign means: a) School Crossing b) Heterosexual Crossing c) Giant Stick Figures are attacking the city! Flee for your lives!
The Driving Test
Possibly the most stressful and most feared test ever created by human beings. Many people would rather claw out their eyes than submit to the terror of the Driving Test. In this part of the exam, you will drive a car through city streets under the watchful eye of a DMV observer. It is unfair to say that DMV observers are the crankiest government employees on the face of this earth. Certainly, people who handle live explosives are less cheery. But it is true that DMV workers have the same demeanor as someone battling perpetual incontinence. How you drive on this test is utterly immaterial. DMV workers will often fail you for no reason at all, other than to justify their own existence.
But every now and then, when Jupiter and Mars are aligned, when the Fates smile upon you, when not even the most anally expulsive DMV worker can find fault with you, then you will be given that most Holy License, and you will weep. Not out of joy, but because of your Driver's License photo. DMV workers have a knack for photographing people at the exact moment when they look the goofiest they ever have in their lives. A split second blink of the eye, a silly grin, or the sudden embarrassing appearance of a stray booger will bring you anguish and humiliation for years to come.
So after months of struggle, all the effort pays off. You've got your license, and you're on your way to adulthood. It's time to celebrate, you figure, but don't let all this go to your head. You're still a sophomore, pal. It's not like you have a life.
Detention, or High School's Version of Crime and Punishment
In real life, if you do something pretty bad, you go to jail. In the church, if you do something pretty bad, you go to Hell. High school operates in a similar manner when it comes to punishing evil- doers. It has detention.
Who Goes to Detention?
The typical detention-goer is an angst-filled teen mindlessly rebelling against the oppressive, fascist forces masquerading as authority. Nowadays, this teen rebel is a long-haired, head-banging, dope-smoking fiend with ripped jeans and a permanent sneer affixed to his lips (all detention-goers are male). In the 1950s, people who did not like Pat Boone were sent to detention. In the 1920s, it was communists and foreigners. The form of the rebel teen is constantly evolving, but one thing remains the same:
People who go to detention have a bad attitude.
So What Exactly is a Bad Attitude?
Nobody has the foggiest, really. It has something to do with good hygiene and genetics. Scientists have determined that people with good attitudes look both ways when crossing the street, smile frequently, floss, and have lots of school spirit.
People with bad attitudes do not use deodorant.
People with bad attitudes resent authority.
People with bad attitudes write snide books about high school, mocking all that is sacred, just to make a fast buck.
But most importantly, people with bad attitudes exhibit poor deportment.
What Is Deportment?
Deportment is not what happens to Taco Bell employees when they have no proof of citizenship (Well, it is that, but it's other things, too). Deportment is the all-encompassing catch-phrase that high school administrators use to describe a student's behavior. So why don't they just say "behavior"? Because "deportment" sounds cooler and makes administrators seem more intelligent.
A DUMB ADMINISTRATOR: Tommy, your behavior has been real bad lately.
A DUMB ADMINISTRATOR WHO SOUNDS INTELLIGENT BECAUSE HE/SHE USES BIG WORDS: Tommy, in the latest three-month period, your deportment has not reached a satisfactory level.
Deportment is the embodiment of everything you can possibly do wrong. (And remember: Everything bad you do goes on your permanent record. This is a big folder that contains everything you've done wrong since birth. The government, future employers, and possible romantic partners all have access to this file. There are many reports of highly qualified people being turned down for high-paying jobs with multi-million dollar corporations because they threw spit wads in Geometry back in the ninth grade. The permanent record -- fear it.) Bad deportment includes:
* Talkin' in classThe trouble with deportment is that it includes everything. There is literally no way for anyone to go through high school without showing a bad attitude.
* Runnin' in the halls
* Smokin' dope
* Workin' at Taco Bell without proof of citizenship
* Talkin' back
* Goofin' off
* Watchin' old re-runs of "Three's Company"
* Puttin' apostrophes instead of 'g' at the ends of words
* Just plain being a wise-ass
So Does This Mean I'm Going to Detention?
Detention, Work Details, and Saturday Schools
Now that we've established that Detention joins death and taxes on the list of life's inevitable unpleasantries, let's talk about the different environments where you can pay off your debt to society.
DETENTION varies from school to school. It is usually held in a large, cavernous auditorium and lasts about an hour. You check in with the Detention Supervisor, who is usually an old biology teacher who got conned into babysitting dozens of rebellious teens. It's always fun to make bets on whether the supervisor will die during detention (If this should happen, you are not obligated to stay the full hour). What happens next is anybody's guess. Some schools make you copy pages from the dictionary, believing that this will enhance the student's vocabulary and prepare them for careers as high school administrators. Other schools force you to write an essay with topics like "Why I Am a Bad Person," "Deportment -- the Keystone to Democracy," or "A Shameless Plea for Forgiveness." These essays will be read by administrators, go on your permanent record, and be sent off as submissions to Reader's Digest.
The worst punishment a Detention Supervisor can wield is, of course, to do absolutely nothing. Just sit there without making a sound. Don't even breathe loudly. Imagine several dozen rebellious high school students trying to be absolutely quiet. To quote Custer at Little Big Horn, "It ain't gonna happen." It's like giving money to a crack addict and asking him to spend it on a soda. You could engineer lasting peace in the Middle East before high school students will sit still.
If nothing else, keep this one simple rule about Detention in mind: Don't piss off the Detention Supervisor. (It should also be understood that especially old Detention Supervisors have a tendency to be pissed off for reasons beyond your control, i.e., irregularity, hemorrhoids, inflamed prostate, and the like. In this case, your destiny is pre-ordained just like in some Greek tragedy.) A wide variety of activities can qualify as 'pissing off' -- talking, passing notes, mouthing off, even give off bad vibes. (The last one is prevalent in California high schools only.) Pissed-off Detention supervisors are surly, uncooperative, and generally unpleasant. Worst of all, they have the power to inflict greater punishment upon you -- Work Details and Saturday School. Experts agree that this is a bad thing.
WORK DETAILS involve forced labor and sweating, two qualities which are inherently undesirable to any self-respecting high school student. Under the philosophy that "busy hands are happy hands," rebellious high school students are put to work, in hopes that beautifying the school they loathe will help them see the error in their ways. In reality, as no student enjoys picking up garbage or scraping gum off of desks, the exact opposite occurs. Students become more defiant and uppity. After all, busy hands are resentful hands.
Work details evolved out of need. In olden times, back when your parents were youngsters, schools were not the soulless, massive institutions that they are today. Most high schools consisted of a one-room red building with a small playground and outdoor plumbing. In the interest of progress, the teen rebels of yesteryear were put to work building the institutions of happiness we know today.
The only drawback is that nothing practical remains to be done during work details, and students are assigned to menial tasks, such as picking up rotten banana peels, or chiseling the mucus off of bathroom floors. At some schools, work details involve performing odd jobs for the faculty -- washing the Principal's car, giving the English teachers massages, and of course, busing tables in the faculty lounge. This adds an element of humiliation which is so crucial to modern education.
SATURDAY SCHOOLS are used as last resorts to discipline the hard-core hellions. Nobody knows much about Saturday Schools. Nobody really wants to. Like black holes, not even light can escape from a Saturday School.
Information about this clandestine form of discipline has been obtained from an ex-detainee who wishes to remain anonymous to protect his family. Therefore, we shall call him Student X, though his real name is Bob Litman of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"Well, first of all, man," begins Student X, "you have to spend the whole day there. A whole Saturday, just sitting there. You can't sleep in. You can't watch cartoons. You have to go, man!
"To make matters worse, the supervisor is usually the football coach or somebody with a drill sergeant mentality. They make you do push-ups, sit-ups, all of that stuff. Some of them won't even let you go to the bathroom. Imagine sitting around for six hours without being able to take a leak!"
And what about the camaraderie of Saturday School, shown in films like "The Breakfast Club?" "Bullshit, man," screams Student X. "Everyone in Saturday School hates everyone else. Molly Ringwald wouldn't last five minutes in there, man!"
At this point, Student X began to wail hysterically about sit- ups and Emilio Estevez. He was immediately sedated and sent off to a Saturday School in upstate New York. Like many repeat offenders, he will not be heard from again.
What They Can't Do To You
Thanks to our friends, the government, physical torture as punishment is a thing of the past. So unless you're into sadomasochism or are taught by nuns (who view corporal punishment as one of life's few pleasures), here's what they can't do to you in Detention.
* Spanking is bad.There is a downside to all of this. The ban on physical punishment leaves the door wide open for mental torture, which is far more painful and leaves more permanent scars.
* Slapping is bad, too.
* Kicking someone in the groin is also bad.
* Hanging students out a window by their feet is a big no-no.
* Electroshock treatment to the testicles is out of the question.
* Wedgies, titty twisters, noogies, anything having to do with rulers, thumbscrews, and wet willies are strictly forbidden.
* And no matter what anyone says, capital punishment is not permitted! (Not yet, anyhow.)
Why do administrators go through all this trouble just to discipline rambunctious youth? Why devise these intricate methods of torture? Why bother?
Because discipline is essential to democracy. Rowdy students set a bad example and lead others into rebellion. As this will create chaos and anarchy, all dissension must be nipped in the bud. Besides, these students might eventually expose high school to be the gigantic fraud that it is, and then all those administrators would be out of work.
Cheerleading, or Your Pathway to Nirvana
(This chapter is written with the help of Muffy Babkins, head cheerleader at Barbi Benton High in Augora, California, so that past, present, and future cheerleaders may understand it. To make things easier for potential cheerleaders we have tried not to use big words.)
Do you (the person reading this) have what it takes to become a Cheerleader?
* Do you like to jump up and down?If you answered "yes" to any of these questions (That means that any of those things are true!), then you are on your way to becoming a Cheerleader!
* Can you spell words like "fight," "charge," and "win?"
* Are you especially good at chanting and clapping?
* Do you like wearing very small skirts which allow horny guys to see your underpants?
* Do you have large breasts?
Cheerleading is a lot of important things. It's chanting "Go, Team, Go!" in unison, it's squealing with delight when your team scores! It's dating guys on the football team rather than spending time with sensitive intellectual types!!!
But above all, cheerleading is about having school spirit!!!
What Is "School Spirit"?
School spirit is feeling good about the place where you go to school! School Spirit is real important. People with School Spirit take pride in the accomplishments of their school. People without School Spirit are geeks and troublemakers. We don't like them. Boo! Hiss!
As a Cheerleader, your biggest job is to raise spirit! You do this by cheering! Spirit-raising cheers include "We're #1!," "We've got Spirit!," and "Hooray for Us!"
Good places to raise Spirit are Football games! There's something about cheering for extremely large boys to beat each other senseless that brings a school together. As a Cheerleader, you must cheer your team on to victory! Cheerleaders can often be the difference between victory and defeat! Napoleon (a dead French guy) would have triumphed at Waterloo (a really big battle that dead French people lost) if he had brought Cheerleaders along.
Remember: school spirit is key! Without School Spirit, life just wouldn't be worth living anymore. And that would make everybody real sad. And then, they'd wish they had Cheerleaders around to make them happy! So raise that Spirit!
As if Spirit weren't enough, there are a wide variety (that means many) of super perks to being a Cheerleader. Cheerleaders wear cute outfits -- darling sweaters, matching socks, and tiny little skirts that reveal much of the buttocks.
Why Such Skimpy Skirts?
Because they raise spirit!!!
And to add that extra smidgen of school pride, your outfit matches your high school's colors! Cheerleaders everywhere agree, "It's fabulous!"
Cheerleaders are respected leaders of the Student Body, appreciated by the fans and loved by the athletes. Of course it isn't all a bed of roses. Sometimes, you have to associate with the icky members of the marching band. Boo! Hiss! And of course, there are always mean, nasty people who, out of jealousy for the important role you play at your school, will spread rumors about your morality and intelligence. To put an end to this stereotype:
All cheerleaders are not clueless, scatterbrained, loose-living sluts. Only the successful ones are.
Still not sure if you could cut the mustard in the high-stakes world of high school cheerleading? This simple quiz should indicate your cheering aptitude (This means your cheering "skill").
1) Your team is down 51 to nothing at the end of the first quarter in the final Football game of the year. Do you: A. Start crying uncontrollably. B. Scream obscenities at the opposing players. C. Lead the crowd in a rousing cheer of "We've got Spirit, yes, we do!" 2) What do you cheer when your team scores a touchdown? A. "Oh, thank the Lord!" B. "'Bout time, dickweeds..." C. "Yea, team!" 3) Is it okay to have sex before a game? A. NO! For God's sake, no! B. Probably not. C. Only if it's with the starting quarterback.If you answered "A" to any of these questions, you are far to emotionally unstable to ever be a Cheerleader, though a career in modeling might be promising. If you answered "B," you are too negative and icky and would probably be more suited for the marching band. Boo! Hiss! But if you answered "C", get ready to wear that color coordinated sweater and short skirt. You are prime cheerleader material! Three cheers for you!
Everyone would love to be a Cheerleader, but only a select few can grasp those sacred pom-poms. If you've got the gift, then use it, don't lose it! There may be things more important in this world than School Spirit (like religion, grades, friendships, functioning human relationships, and breathing, just to name a few... ), but nothing will get you laid as easily.
Life After High School, or
Determining Your Future Through Standardized Tests
By the beginning of your junior year, you will come to grips with a decision that will drastically affect the rest of your life. But then, the Homecoming Dance will be over with, and you'll have to make another decision -- what to do with the rest of your ordinary, uneventful life.
Although it seems interminable, High School does not go on forever. In fact, it's over with faster than you can say "graduation," provided you repeat that word 630,720,000 times.
If High School is just another gas station along the highway of life, then it's about time you started checking your mileage. (I have no idea what this analogy means.) Anyway, it's time to start reviewing your options.
Some High School graduates feel that they are ready to join the nation's work force, to perform honest work for honest pay. While this is commendable, reality informs us that a mere High School diploma attracts very few jobs in which you are not required to ask "Do you want fries with that?" The army offers newly graduated students a chance to be all they can be. This means they expect you to wake-up at the crack of dawn and crawl on your belly through mud all day. Clearly, this is no different from High School, except for the drastic difference that occasionally people will shoot at you.
Having dispensed with these alternatives as undesirable, it's time to give serious thought about going to college. "Oh, come on," you whimper. 'Why would I want put myself through another four plus years of educational drudgery?" Well, Mr./Ms. Hoity-Toity, Nose in the Air High School Dode, college offers many things that High School never can.
A) College allows you to continue to avoid responsibility for just a little while longer.
B) It's a lot easier to get laid at college.
C) You're not required to take P.E.
and most importantly,
D) You get to move the hell away from your parents.
College it is then! But don't get too excited just yet. Not every spank with a diploma and a burning desire to leave home gets into college. It also takes money. Lots of it. But we'll talk about that later.
Standardized Tests -- Fun With #2 Pencils
To test your worthiness and aptitude, colleges have developed standardized tests with big evil acronymmed names like ACT and SAT. No one is really sure what these letters stand for, though it has something to do with scan-tron and #2 pencils.
The ACT and its ilk (the Achievement tests, Advanced Placement tests) are relatively painless. In fact, most of the questions on the ACT are identical to questions found in Trivial Pursuit. For example:
1) In what year was the Bill of Rights ratified? 2) What is the Pythagorean Theorem? 3) What is the Kelvin Temperature Scale? 4) Who played the wacky housekeeper Alice on the hit TV series "The Brady Bunch"?The SAT is an entirely different kettle of fish. The people who devised the SAT believed that testing practical knowledge was just too darn easy. What really needed testing, they thought, was High School students' ability to use good grammar and perform complex trigonometry calculations. Thus, the VERBAL and MATH portions of the SAT were born.
1) MARK THE PORTION OF THE SENTENCE WHICH CONTAINS INCORRECT GRAMMAR. Let's you and I / go down to the store / and get us / A B C some Otter Pops. D(The correct answer is E -- no human being speaks this way.)
2) READING COMPREHENSION
Every now and then, the young boy would stop walking along the rocky path and pick up a small stone. Rolling it gently between his fingers for a long time, the boy would then skip the stone into the nearby woods. Several times he did this, each time with a slightly larger stone. Not even a mile from his grandmother's house, the boy heaved the largest stone of the day. Suddenly, there was a scream, and Uncle Roy crawled out of the woods, his head gashed and bloody. Roy died almost instantaneously. The boy never told anybody.
The theme of this passage is:
A) Little boys who grasp for larger and greater objects will eventually kill their drunken uncles. B) The young boy is bad. C) The young boy is good. D) Both A and B. E) The author should keep his day job.(The correct answer is B, C and D.)
3) 6X = 3X dY = Y -- -- -- 20 (3X) dX(The correct answer is... uh, well, uh... oh, hell with it. Just keep reading.)
What is Y?
A) 9 1/2 B) .000000001 C) the 25th letter of the alphabet
As if obscure, puzzling questions weren't enough, the SAT has devised an inscrutable method of grading its tests. For every correct answer you will receive a point. Every incorrect answer will cost you 33/8 points. Multiply that total by your body weight and divide by the zip code of Ashland, Oregon. Of course, the grading system is merely an elaborate ruse. Everybody scores a 1050 on the SAT, except for Asians, who score 1230. This is pre-ordained, and you can do nothing to changed it.
With this in mind, you shouldn't worry too much about the SAT. Just remember to stay calm, collected, and to only break down sobbing during the ten minute break they give you during the exam. And remember -- always, without fail, at the risk of your own life use a #2 pencil. This is because the SAT people own stock in companies that manufacture #2 pencils, and this is just their way of making a profit. If you deprive them of their little side-profit, they will become agitated and flunk you on the spot. So make sure to carry at least two dozen #2 pencils with you at all times until you graduate from high school. You never know when you might need one.
Sex and the Single Sophomore
Wouldn't it be great if there was a store where you shop for the ideal boyfriend/girlfriend? You could just walk in, throw down your $9.95 and say "That one, that one there with the brown eyes and the good personality. I'll take that one." But alas, life is not that kind. We have to out searching for that special someone whether it's the girl who sits behind you in English, the guy you met during lunch, or the person who mooned you in that passing van.
Who can say what it is that attracts one human being to another? (Well, obviously I can since I asked the question.) Good conversation, a great sense of humor, a friendly smile. These are the things that draw people together. These are... aw, who the hell are we kidding anyhow? It's looks. Looks, dammit!
We're attracted to people who look good. She can be Mother Theresa in the personality department but if she hasn't got legs to beat the band, flowing blond hair, and fairly sizable hooters, then forget it! And he better have rippling muscles to match his sense of humor, or he'll be watching this one from the bench. It's all looks. Accept it. Revel in it. Deny it, and you only fool yourself.
Take 'em Someplace Cheap
When you plan your dates, first rule out Paris, four star restaurants, Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, and most major department stores as potential sites for your close encounters of the romantic kind. The situation is further complicated if both of you are without a car because unless you want Mom and Dad driving you around all night, anywhere you go better be within walking distance.
Here, then, are some potential settings o' love that you may want to explore.
* Dinner and a movie -- Kind of trite.Regardless of where you may go on your date, it is essential to have an evening filled with stimulating conversation. If you appear interesting, easy to talk to, and witty, chances are you're going to get to go out again. Poor conversationalists, on the other hand, appear to be stammering dolts, unworthy of love, companionship, and even minimal human dignity. It is not uncommon for a lousy conversation to lead directly to your date hiding in the bathroom all evening. Topics of conversation, therefore, should be chosen with care. Never talk about killing bunny rabbits, cancer, infamous Nazi war criminals, or how horny you are. Instead focus the conversation on your date. This gives off the illusion that you're actually interested in what he/she has to say.
* Dinner and bowling -- Getting warmer.
* Bungee jumping -- Too forward for a "Get to Know You" thing. Maybe the second date...
* Long, romantic walks through the park on a moonlit night, holding hands and just talking -- Nah.
* "Wanna just neck, instead?" -- We have a winner.
Toward the end of the evening, you will be faced with that age- old dilemma "Should I kiss my date goodnight?" There are several telltale signs to help you with this quandary. If your date screams, "Take me now, you hot, passionate love-beast!," by all means, kiss away. If halfway through the evening, your date has left you, then, no, a kiss would be too presumptuous. And remember this ancient dating proverb: If your date kisses you goodnight, this is definitely a good thing. If your date hugs you goodnight, this is satisfactory. If your date shakes your hand goodnight, it is probably time to switch deodorants.
What Goes Down Next
If you continue to date the same person, it is very likely that you will be forced to re-examine your friendship status. See how you compare with the handy chart below.
* We're Just Friends -- I like this person a lot, but the thought of physical intimacy makes me retch.After five dates, you and your lucky partner will be officially declared Boyfriend/Girlfriend by the National Dating Regulatory Commission. After this you will be able to have nightly phone calls that go something like this:
* A Special Friend -- As of yet, we have not done the Wild Dance of Love.
* Boyfriend/Girlfriend -- We neck frequently.
* Bastard/Bitch -- What former Boyfriends and Girlfriends become.
HE: I love you.
SHE: No, I love you.
HE: But I love you more.
SHE: Not as much as I love you.
HE: How can you say that? I love you.
(Repeat this pattern for the next three hours or until your parents rip the phone out of the wall.)
Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend status also entitles you to annoy others with public displays of affection, to refer to each other by silly nicknames (like "Poodlemuffin" or "Love Yak"), and to have many fun and entertaining arguments that will further alienate you from mainstream society.
You will also be expected to celebrate the numerous anniversaries of your courtship -- the five-month anniversary of your first date, the sixth week observance of your first kiss, the thirteenth-month, tenth-day and fourth-minute anniversary of the sixth time you decided to get back together after breaking up. Failure to remember these all important days and to buy expensive gifts will result in numerous arguments and a lot of pouting. But you sure do save a bundle.
Now we come to a rather sensitive issue -- teen sex. When pestered about the subject, most adults will respond "Why eat bologna on your wedding night, when you can have steak?" We have no idea what this means, or if sex even is remotely connected with deli meats. Sex amongst teens is usually coded into baseball lingo, in the interest of politeness, privacy, and real cool double entendres.
* First Base -- A gentle kiss on the lips.
* Second Base -- Fun with hooters
* Third Base -- No clue whatsoever. Possibly the ankle.
* Fielder's Choice -- "We watched the movie instead."
* Pop Fly -- Premature ejaculation
* Caught Stealing -- "Her dad walked in on us."
* On Deck -- Still Masturbating
* The Seventh Inning Stretch -- Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww...
* The Dugout -- Where you keep the condom
* Home Run -- An intense mixture of happiness, contentment, and guilt. Lots of guilt. Tidal waves of guilt. Guilt up the yin-yang.
Whatever your position on sex (and most prefer "missionary"...) you must realize that sex is not just another way to kill fifteen minutes of your evening. Sex is a beautiful understanding between two people (so I've been told...), a sharing of one's self, and a felony if your partner is under age. Remember: sex and love are not the same thing! Though it's an awful lot of fun to pretend they are.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
(But Nevertheless, It's Done a Lot)
The final destination of the Express Train of Love is a visit to Heartbreak Station (Neat metaphor, huh?). Every relationship, no matter how divinely inspired, ends with someone getting dumped. This is a law of nature, just like gravity or the fact that it always rains after you wash your car. Misery, door slamming and angst go hand in hand with the heretofore merry game of dating.
It's not always easy to pinpoint what made a person shoot their true love down like a jet over foreign air space. Arguing, fooling around with someone else, writing wretched poetry, and kissing like a dying squid are all substantial reasons for giving someone the old heave-ho.
It's usually the little things that tear apart a relationship, an unkind word, a lukewarm hug, telling him or her "I hate you, you heap of worm dung." When these little things pile up, people start to go ballistic. What it all boils down to is this: People hate being happy. They would rather ruin their lives and the lives of others than live in constant happiness. People are dumb that way.
Throughout the course of dating history, many dumping methods have been developed, refined, and improved by hundreds of dysfunctional couples just like yours.
* The "I Just Want to Be Friends" Shuffle -- In this approach, you soften the blown of rejection by pretending to remain interested in your partner's friendship, when in fact, you secretly hope he/she will drop off the face of the earth, relieving you of any stray pangs of guilt.
* The "I am Not Worthy of You" Facade -- This method relies solely on your ability to deprecate yourself. By convincing your partner that you are unfit to bathe in saliva, you just might spare yourself the agony of having to go out with him/her again. WARNING: Sometimes, this will make you see noble, and as a consequence, more desirable. Use with caution and only on people who are easily fooled.
* Telling the Truth and Being Honest -- Get serious. That trick never works.
* The "Get the Hell Out of My Life" Ultimatum -- The popular choice for generations and generations. Still highly effective and really fun.
* While these methods are all fine and dandy, the most effective way to break up with someone is to beat the other person senseless with a tire iron. You cause a lot less permanent damage that way.
A Little Anxious?
At this point you may be saying to yourself, 'Wait! Is that all there is to love? Manipulation, agony, self-doubt, and inevitable trauma? Why? Why bother, then, with the hassles, the trials, and the tragedies? Why?"
Well, of course, there's a perfectly logical explanation for love, what makes it tick, what makes it turn out good, and what makes it suck. But then again, that's another book altogether. For now just be satisfied with the fact that it beats bowling.
Graduation, or Get the Hell Out Already
Ah, graduation. A time to bid adieu to the final rest stop on your journey to adulthood. A ceremony to reflect upon all you've learned. But most of all, a time to become drunkenly jubilant that you've finally escaped this man-made hell.
Actually, most students could do without the graduation ceremony itself. "Just give us our diplomas," students are heard to mutter, "and we'll leave quietly. You won't even notice that we're gone. Just let us go very far away. Please." But those pleas fall upon deaf ears, and graduation ceremonies are held across the nation. The reason is simple. It's for the parents, so stunned, so unbelieving that they need concrete proof their mixed-up, worthless excuse for a kid actually managed to pass high school and might be moving out of the house soon. And what better proof to give these poor, old fools than a two-hour-long ceremony brimming with diplomas, mortar boards, and "Pomp and Circumstance."
Graduation can be held anywhere -- a gymnasium, a football field, even an abandoned warehouse -- provided that the chosen space is large enough to hold the vast myriad of parents and their camcorders. There is anticipation in the air, nervousness, anxiety, the faint smell of old sweat socks. But then a hush falls over the crowd, as the school band plays the first chords of "Pomp and Circumstance," the most popular graduation theme song in the world. (Followed closely by Billy Idol's "White Wedding.") The graduates, looking every bit the scholars they're pretending to be, march in trying desperately to remember just what exactly it was they studied over the past four years. The principal steps up to the microphone and begins to introduce the distinguished guests -- members of the school board, countless vice-principals, visiting foreign dignitaries, alumni, teachers, and women named Ethel. Forty-five minutes later, when all this is done, the true fun can begin.
The true fun is, of course, the countless speeches given by high school students praising the four years of hardship they have just endured and eagerly anticipating the uncertainty and upheaval of the years to come.
"High school has been the best years of our lives," the pitifully misled fools declare. "And the years to come look just as swell!" Every now and then, the student speakers will throw in a few choice cliches about "reaching for the stars," "giving one hundred and ten percent," and "never look cross-eyed at a large breasted woman." (That last one is particularly sage.)
The reason for the constant repetition of this malarkey is simple. THEM hand-picks the valedictorian from a select crop of students who will parrot verbatim THEM's twisted praise of high school. Even if the valedictorian were to rebel and give a speech detailing his or her true feelings about high school, THEM would react quickly and violently.
Fingers would be broken, cars would be repossessed, younger siblings would be fricasseed, all because of the valedictorian's disobedience to THEM. Consequently, very few speakers feel compelled to alter their speeches drastically from the THEM-recommended path. What we wind up hearing, then, is a sort of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" meets Secondary School interpretation of high school life, which, as you all know, is as accurate as a compass at the North Pole.
After all the speeches are done, all the diplomas are handed out and all the caps tossed joyously into the air comes the moment of vast relief and euphoria.
You will join your fellow ex-students in general celebration, marked by hugs, high fives, and screaming bizarre, nonsensical gibberish. About this time, in the midst of all this joy, you wig stumble upon a question that will linger in the back of your mind like the odor in a high school locker room. That question is, of course:
Don't worry if you can't find the answer right away. After all, this question will only hang over you for the rest of your life. You'll have plenty of time to anguish over your lack of purpose and direction.
Philip Michaels (KingChimp@aol.com) is a reporter for a national daily newspaper. He ain't no nice guy. He's a frequent contributor to TeeVee, and his other work can be found at The Loser Chronicles.
InterText stories written by Philip Michaels: "Your Guide to High School Hate" (v2n3), "The Loner's Home Companion" (v3n4).
InterText Copyright © 1991-1999 Jason Snell. This story may only be distributed as part of the collected whole of Volume 2, Number 3 of InterText. This story Copyright © 1992 Philip Michaels.