Friday, March 6, 2009


I don't retain any particular fondness for high school, but I also don't look back on it with the seething disdain that so many people seem to harbor. A big part of the reason is that I simply don't remember that time (I usually can't remember what I did more than a couple of days ago without some thought.)

I guess this is good, in a "Tiger or the Rocks" sort of way, because it suggests that I won't miss out on life's little "strawberries." I don't know if that's true, but I can tell you that it makes for awkward Monday morning conversation when someone asks what you did over the weekend and you genuinely don't know. (And then you have to convince everyone that your amnesia isn't chemically induced.)

But I can say that high school was definitely weird, and now I have the persepective to see why. 

It's a time of intense scrutiny.

It is a place where, if you knock over one of the poles on the rope-barrier for the lunch line, making it clang on the floor, the room will go quiet and 300 people will sarcastically applaud you. 

That's not a joke. That's something I saw happen. 

And that's a pretty typical response. When you take a group of people who's grip on social grace is somewhere in the "fumbling" range, put them together in a space that's roughly equivalent to Gilligan's Island, then begin sorting them into recognized groups, that tends to create a somewhat cuthroat environment.

So if I could give those in high school one piece of advice, it's this: 

In the real world, for the most part no one gives a crap about you. 

It may sound harsh, but it's actually quite liberating!

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