Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Best Four Years of Your Life


Twenty-Three Years Ago I was fourteen and entering in the auditorium of my High School. It was Freshmen Orientation and I was wide eyed at gathered new students who would be in my class. They were animated with nervous excitment.

I was months away from reaching my full adult height of 6'1" and looked like a collection of sticks that was being held together by an Iron Madien tshirt and a pair of black courderoys. I had a greasy mullet, bad skin and was plauged with constant hard-ons that seemed to be inspired by absolutely nothing.

High School would be a chance for me to meet some friends or girls even, but a breakout of cold-sores on my lip that week had me folding myself into a brown metal theater chair somewhere in the back. Trying to be invisible.

I can clearly remember the speech the Principal gave. He was inspiring and hopeful and told us how these next four years would be the best four years of our lives. How we'd always look back fondly at what happened here. We would become the men and women we would be BECAUSE of our experiences in those classrooms. It was a limited time last chance to be full of hope and wonderment before being released out into the world.

Months later Bruce Springsteen would release the song 'Glory Days', which incidently is about My High School. Bruce had walked the same halls.

What the Pricipal didnt say was that the Puerto Rican kids would torture the scared White Freshmen kids for the first 6 months flicking them in the head with their fingers as they walked by. My lanky height and neary-complete-two-halves of a moustache would keep them from realizing that I wasnt an upperclassman however.

I've thought about that speech every once in awhile over the last 23 years. My theroy is that it was written before kids regularly went to college, because those four years were really the best five years of my life. The speech is handed down from principal to principal to deliver to incoming Freshmen. Everyones heard it.

Was he right? Maybe in some ways, but not completely for me. I was was too idealistic-naive-uncomfortable at the time to understand what the hell was going on.

Do they still give the speech?
I'll let you know, My oldest son is at Freshmen Orientation right now.

7 comments:

US MALE said...

That was not nice of Rios to torture you in high school.

Leonesse said...

And so it all begins again...

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only wise ass that got his ears flicked. I will bet that those were the best 4 years for those ass holes that
terrorized us. If you never got out of there those probably were the best years of your life. I will bet that those guys are still in Freehold or
maybe they are working in Newark at the docks now. Shit maybe there lives are pretty good now?????? I don't think I would want to do those years over

ginger b said...

And now I'll have that song stuck in my head all day.

Thanks a lot!

No really, thanks. I was humming some damned Justin Timberlake song...

Chris said...

I dunno... High school sucked for me. College is where I bloomed. I have very few friends from high school that I still hang out with, but I really miss my college pals.

In hindsight, I didn't understand high school, or my role therein, until after I got back from basic training after my junior year.

Anonymous said...

isn't that a photo of Bunce Hall?

Melissa said...

High school is what you make it, and I think you're too young to make it much of anything. I alternately loved and hated high school. So did my son, who just graduated this year.

College - now THAT's where it's at - but only if you live on campus. And I didn't. School wasn't my thing - I graduated after 10 years in college on the night-school plan.