Thursday, July 12, 2012

Post 2050 - 1982 In Review, Part One

Welcome to 1982, folks!

I turned 18 in 1982.

On my 18th birthday, I ran afoul of the new student behaviour policy that I teased you about yesterday.  I need to take a few sentences and explain it to you.

In December of 1981, all students received a little note with their report cards, spelling out a new policy.  It was a merit/demerit system.  Students would receive a demerit for contravening any of the rules spelled out for us.  There were an awful lot of these rules.  However, if a student performed beyond a particular expected level, he or she might earn a merit point.  I do not recall what the consequences were for receiving too many demerit points, nor what the rewards might be for getting several merit points. 

The entire program was stupid, with a capital S.  Receiving a demerit was at the discretion of the teacher or hall monitor.  If the person were in a bad mood, or of a really conservative bent, then many demerits could be doled out, and the student would have no recourse of defense.  And it would seem that the effort to earn a merit point would be such that all it would cost was a piece of your soul.

There were complaints quietly expressed by many students.  The seniors, those about to graduate, were insulted to be put in the position of having to brown our noses or be careful about every misstep or every errant syllable that came out of our mouths. 

Anyway, there it was, my 18th birthday, and I was munching on something in a classroom.  A school monitor came up to me and announced I was in contravention of statute whatever-it-was, and was therefore being given a demerit.  When she found out it was my birthday, a moment later, she rescinded the demerit and walked away. 

Real nice of her.

The winter student carnival came up.  Because of my outrageous sense of humour, I was asked to write something for it.  I wrote something along the lines of how, in a school, far, far away, there was a Derek/Bo Derek system in which students would be unfairly nailed for perceived violations of a vaguely-written code. 

We had a student wearing a t-shirt with question marks all over it.  She got a Bo Derek point because she was wearing a t-shirt that had a "questionable" logo on it.  Another girl was pretending to smoke a candy cigarette and got hauled away.  In another situation, I believe that a boy consoled a girl who was upset about something.  Because the only public display of affection that was acceptable in that school was simple hand holding, they were both awarded Bo Derek points. 

If I were writing it today, the satire would be even more pronounced.  I'd have a kid going around like the little dog that follows around the bigger dog (Spike) in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.  The kid would appear every few minutes during the skit  and do some suck-hole task in an effort to curry favour with the authorities.  At the end of the skit, he would be rewarded with the only  Derek point that the school had ever given out in the history of this imbecilic program.  He'd get the point, look at it, and say, "What?  I spend years sucking up to you guys, and this is what I get?  Screw you!"

The Biology teacher was renamed "Mr. Befuddled".  The English teacher became "Ms. Hamlet".  You get the idea.

There was also a skit in which I openly mocked Mr. Sinnott, renamed "Mr. Sin Not".  I affected a Germanic accent and recited the homework that was expected of the class the next day.  It was along the lines of, "Read chapters 1-40 and do questions 1-60".   He gave a lot of homework out to us. 

We excoriated the librarian, Miss Blumel.  A girl dressed up like her and screamed at students for no apparent reason, which is what Miss  Blumel did for sport anyway.

Frig, it was a funny evening.

The next day, at school, Mr. Sinnott gave me a look and then made fun of my nose, knowing I daren't say anything in return.  The Biology teacher scowled at us.  The librarian said she would sue if she could. 

We had our defenders.  The Physics teacher mentioned the Derek/Bo Derek point system a few times.  Another teacher smiled at me as I walked past him.  The history teacher kept that same, serene, Baptist smile plastered on his face. 

Later on that Winter, on a Saturday night, I was invited to go to a party with other classmates at one of their homes.  I reluctantly decided to go.  I am not sure how they got me out of the house.  I was picked up and driven to the house, in Delhaven. 

They started playing games like Twister, but I demurred because I had never played it in my life and it would likely entail having to have physical contact with a girl, something I was uncomfortable with. 

A little while later, a girl announced that she needed to return to her house to fetch something and return to the party.  She did not want to go alone.  She said that she wanted me to go with her.  I do not know to this day if this was previously arranged by the devilishly-fiendish women there that evening, in some kind of divide-and-conquer process.

She and I drove out to the house.  I saw the back of her father's head as he slept in a chair in front of the television.  And we drove back to the party.  Nothing happened between us.  I do not know if something was supposed to happen or not.  Remember what I wrote yesterday about being utterly unable to understand the subtle clues and hints that women drop?  I swear, if she was coming on to me, I didn't detect it at all. 

We got back to the party and played some more games and then we went home.

Graduation was swiftly approaching.  The big day would be Thursday, June 24th. 

Something I had noticed, in poring through my siblings' old year books, was something called The Class Prophecy, or the Class Prophet.  It was a person who would speculate about what would become of the students after graduation.  What they would be doing for a living.  Where they would be living.  That kind of thing.  The feature was usually restricted to one page, with one sentence or so per person. 

I thought I could do better.  Armed with my trusty, and rusty, used manual typewriter, and having taken the typing course offered at the school earlier that academic year, I proceeded to write out a scenario outlining what would become of my school chums.  I would also be including the home room teachers. 

The first one was so fun to write.  There was an overweight student named Bruce.  He had become a boxer and was fighting another student named Bobby, who was a well-built jock.  I had Bruce beat the shit out of Bobby, not because I disliked  Bobby, because I didn't, but because I wanted the put-upon person to win for a change. 

It took me quite a while to write the first draft.  I presented it to the home room teachers, who gave me some feedback.  It was typed up by the school secretary, who chuckled the whole time.  And I was asked to present the prophecy at the Graduation Dinner, 2 days before graduation, on June 22nd, 1982. 

The full story behind this event, and the actual class prophecy, may be found right here

The reading went over very well.  Teachers and fellow students congratulated me.  One girl kissed me.  Each student got a copy of the prophecy, and I remember signing a couple of them.  Nobody threw their underwear at me, though, which was disappointing. 

The next night, was the prom.  I did not go to the prom.  I had offers to go as late as the afternoon of the event.  I just didn't want to go, as sad as that sounds. 

Graduation  was the next evening, June 24th.

Afterward, there was the graduation party, which I only found out about after the ceremonies.  It would be at the cottage of the parents of a classmate.  It was an interesting evening. 

June was over.  The summer awaited.  In the Fall, I would start university.  My life would change, forever. 

Seems like a good place to stop writing.

Expect the second part of this 1982 in review, in a couple of days.  Off to my mother's tonight, for another weekend.


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