Today’s post come from Steve Grooms
I was listening recently to the funny, evocative song “High School” by Pat Donohue. Readers probably know it. The song played often on the Late Great Morning Show. Here are a few lines:
Full of wise guys and zeros and basketball heroes
Who taunt me
That was my school
Full of cheerleader cuties and homecoming beauties
Who haunt me
With tough guys who fright me and girls who don’t like me
Just that I’m not their sort
Back in high school
I’m glad I’m not there any more
The song was a reminder of how high school was nightmarish for me. I was shy. In my eyes, I didn’t fit in with my classmates. I loved outdoor recreation partly because it didn’t involve the social interactions I found so troubling at school.
I have worked out a story to describe my high school years, a story that I share with friends and family members. In short form, my story has been that only two kinds of kids at school scared me: the boys and the girls. I feared the boys because I wasn’t an athlete and some of the kids were pretty scary. I feared the girls because I was so unsure of myself with them. Given the choice of trying to talk to a girl or going fishing, I strongly preferred fishing. My story goes on to say I was too shy to date anyone. My experience of high school was a lot like the story Pat Donohue told in his song.
Recently, however, I’ve experienced an uncomfortable clash between my story and evidence that I wasn’t such a misfit after all. When I attended the 50th reunion of my class, a lot of people remembered me and acted as if they had liked me. Before I lost my box of old family photos, several of them showed me dressed up for dates. I must not have been as shy as I have been claiming, for I was photographed dating on several different occasions.
Now I struggle to resolve these clashing images. I considered my high school years a botch, a time when I hid from other kids and lived almost entirely inside my head. Evidence now says I was actually fairly popular and could have been more so if I hadn’t spent so much time fishing. Now I feel about high school the way I feel about most of my life: it sure could have been better, and I’d like a second chance at it to do it better, but on the whole it wasn’t so bad.
How do you remember your experience of high school?