I was thinking in the shower this morning. I do my best thinking in one of three places - in my car, in the shower, or going to the bathroom. I think I might have some sort of epiphany if I drove my car while sitting on a toilet seat and driving with the windows down in the rain.
Anyway, I was thinking in the shower this morning about how my 10 year high school reunion is coming up next year and I’m really just not all that excited about it. I don’t feel like people generally liked me in high school. I was that nerdy/brainy kid that didn’t have any friends and got picked on a lot.
Yeah, you’d hardly believe it now, right? Me being a programmer and all. But it’s true.
I was in the drama club, I was one of the network admins (remember Novell circa 1990?), and my first kiss was when I was a junior. I never went to any parties or [American] football games… but then, I was never really invited to any parties, and I still hate football.
I was also one of the two valedictorians.
(I gave a speech at graduation. Actually, I had prepared two different speeches - one was the sweet and sugary “we are the future” speech, and the other was a lambasting for how stupid everyone out there really was, regardless of what they might think. My counselor urged me to give the attack speech, but we both knew that would probably ruin some peoples’ graduations, so I gave the sugary one.)
I started wondering about why I had such a shitty time in high school, and I don’t know if it was any one thing. I’m not a socialite. I don’t like large groups of people that I don’t know. I’m not coordinated in the least, so school dances were out; besides, if you can’t get a date, and none of your friends want to go, what’s the point?
My mom was ultra-overprotective, so I could never stay out past midnight, regardless of the day (Friday? Saturday?) or who I was with (the entire drama department - probably 30 people) because I was definitely going to be mugged, raped, and killed (presumably in that order). I still have conversations with her about that, and I think that much of the money I spend today is used in an effort to reclaim some of that lost childhood. I understand what her side of things was, and I don’t blame her. I just missed the ability to really have any fun in high school, and I like to believe that was a significant contributor.
Either way, folks didn’t like me. I think that was sort of reciprocated, too - I didn’t like them, either. That makes us even, right?
All that adds up to me not being terribly excited at my approaching 10 year reunion.
So then I started thinking about when the last time I was actually happy in school was.
In fourth grade, I was on top of the world. I had friends, I was reasonably popular, and everything was good. Even the teacher (Mrs. Stiles) rocked, which is not something I can claim for later educators I came across.
Fifth grade was pretty good, but somehow I just feel like my interest in education peaked in fourth. I skipped the sixth grade (because I am the smartest man alive), at which point I transitioned directly from grade school to junior high. Of course, that means I left all of my friends behind. Not so cool.
After seventh grade my family moved, so once again, friends out the window. I think this is where the downhill really started as far as education is concerned. These were the years that I think I needed the stimulation that I received in first through fourth grades, but instead got pushed through a slow meatgrinder of learning that taught me naught but that education is not supposed to be fun nor challenging.
This further started me thinking… you know what I’d rather have than a 10 year reunion for high school? I’d rather see where my friends from fourth grade are now. How different they’ve become, what they’ve done with their lives.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I do know where my best friend Phil from those times is… Phil’s family moved to Mexico around the time I was in seventh grade. Phil turned out to be an avid mountain climber, and a few years back I got wind that he died while climbing a mountain - I believe in the Himalayas.
I never really kept up with him too much after he moved to Mexico, but sometimes, just sometimes, I really do miss him.