My previous post based on the episode from the TV show “Criminal Minds” has given me food for thought. In that episode, ten years after a school shooting occurred at their high school, there was one group that saw continued to see themselves as above the others. They were even called the “Top Ten.” This group still excluded one young man who felt he should have been part of that group but wasn’t and was still excluded. That exclusion was what led him to start killing members of that group.
That episode and post, along with seeing the video for the song, “High School Never Ends” by Bowling for Soup, had me reflecting on my post high school days. In high school, I was nearly what one of the characters in “Crime Scene Investigation” used to describe his high school days, a ghost. I did engage in some extra curricular activities in school and I wasn’t bullied, except for the odd occasion but unlike most of junior high, I never walked the halls in fear. Saying that, I was considered a ‘loser’ or weird or other things by a number of students.
However, in my own mind, I did return to my old high school in triumph a few months after graduation after I became a marine. Walking the halls in uniform with stomach in and chest out and receiving no hostile or even patronizing rebuffs from anyone, I felt I put any specter of high school to rest. I had become a marine and had made something of myself.
At the conclusion of the previous post, I mentioned how I ran into some former jocks and had a beer with them. I was never friends with any of them in high school so I thought barriers had been broken down. However, I saw one of them a few weeks later and he gave me a patronizing “Hi.” Like those in the “Criminal Minds” episode, he obviously saw me in the same light as high school despite the fact that I had served my country and seen the world through my own eyes, which he had only seen on TV and textbooks.
I’ve never been to a high school reunion. I did try to go to my five year one but no one answered when I dialed the phone number given in the radio advert. By the time the ten year reunion came around, I was already living in the UK. By chance, my mother crossed paths with someone I was in high school with and who was on the committee for the reunion. Not wanting to go on record as ‘whereabouts unknown,’ I instructed my mother to tell this person that I was living in London and married with a baby boy. Since then, I have always speculated if it was announced I was living in London and what the reactions of my graduating class would be. I believe a good number of people would have been impressed that I was living in such a city. However, there would have been others, the ones who thought I was a loser, would have claimed that I was living in the biggest slum in London and working at McDonald’s. Neither speculation would have been correct.
Nowadays, I wonder if I’m still listed as living in London at reunions. I don’t anymore, I live in rural Gloucestershire. I amuse myself once in a great while by speculating what those from the Mainland Regional High School Class of 79 would make of me should I ever run into any of them. After all, while I’m not some corporate big wig or a star in the arts, although I have written and published two books, I don’t think I’ve done too bad. However, in the end, I choose not to worry about it because like Jello Biafra once said, high school isn’t all that important and it’s not the best years in most people’s lives. It certainly wasn’t for me. Although I didn’t hear him say this until 2005, I’m glad I followed his advice in regards to my high school years and those awful years before by pissing on its grave and getting the hell out of town. When you do that, the less significant those days become.