Friday, September 21, 2007

Never Dazed But Kind Of Confused: High School Memories

Over the past few weeks I've been thinking about my high school years a lot, because of the following three things:

1) Seeing the movie Dazed and Confused for the first time,
2) Going to my cousin's high school football game, and
3) Getting an invitation for my high school reunion (I'm not saying the year!)

Let's take these events one at a time.

Dazed and Confused

This might just possibly be the worst movie ever. I can already hear the cries of outrage... CALM DOWN. I realize that many people (and most of them seem to be guys) love this movie, but within ten minutes of putting it in the DVD player, Miss M and I looked at each other and just shook our heads. I said, "This is going to be REALLY bad." And it was.

I think it's the kind of movie that if you initially watched it when you were younger and/or closer to the age of the people in the movie (high schoolers), you may feel differently about it than if you first watched it over a decade later. For those of you who don't know, the premise of the movie is... ummm.... that's the problem. There is basically NO PLOT. It trails a bunch of upcoming high school freshmen and seniors on their last day of school before summer vacation, but nothing really happens. On top of that, there was absolutely nothing I could relate to in this movie. I never was, nor did I hang out with, any "stoners." The seniors at my school did not terrorize incoming freshmen by paddling the guys or plastering the girls with various condiments. There was no creepy older dude hanging around all the time saying, "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."

However, my husband swears to me that some of the things in the movie happened where he grew up (like the paddling?!?!). He claims that that's what many small towns are like. I fear for our nation!

There were only two semi-OK things about this movie:

1) A lot of recognizable people were in the cast: Jason London, Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Joey Lauren Adams, and Adam Goldberg.
2) Matthew McConaughey's character was very funny, and I liked his "All right, all right, all right!" lines.

Otherwise, this movie cannot be redeemed. But it did get me thinking about how lucky I was to have attended a normal high school!

Back in the Bleachers

I had the good fortune of being able to catch one of my cousin's high school football games last weekend, and what a trip back in time that was. It was unusually cold that night, and as I snuggled down in a blanket looking wholly "uncool" with about ten mismatched layers of clothing on, one word kept popping in and out of my mind: "fleeting." The high school years are so... fleeting. But yet when you're in that period of your life, everything seems SO important and SO dramatic. I would have never been caught dead in as much as a simple coat back in the day for fear of looking like a dork, whereas now I resembled the Unabomber perched on a bleacher cushion, whining for my dad to get me hot chocolate. How far I've come!

I shook my head as the "cool kids" walked back and forth and back and forth and back and forth in front of the stands, just wanting to be noticed (and no, they didn't have coats on). I chuckled as the "cool kids from the other team" walked in front of OUR bleachers and were met with "BOOO!"s and shouts and hollers, which was exactly what they were hoping for. I surprised myself by still knowing the moves to the cheer "BE aggressive! Be-e aggressive! B-E A-GG-R-E-SS-I-V-E!" (Yes, I was a cheerleader before my clumsy ass broke a vertebrae trying to learn walk-overs on my own... most people who meet me now find this hard to believe (the cheerleader part, not the clumsy part.)) I embarrassed myself by thinking everyone was yelling the name of some player named "Buddha Chang" when in reality they were shouting "Move the chain!" (Something about yards and downs, I still don't get it.) But I smiled as I saw my cousin out on the field, every once in a while turning around to ham it up to get the crowd to cheer... he was having the time of his life. I was happy for him. And they won.

The Reunion That Wasn't Meant to Be

I get back home and what is sitting in my Inbox but a note from with a high school reunion invitation! I have been to all of the reunions held to date and have immensely enjoyed them. But alas, I will be traveling during this next one and cannot make it. That did not stop me from clicking through several of the profiles of long-lost friends (the best is when they have pictures!) and obsessively checking to see who else has RSVP'd, though!

One of my favorite things in the world is learning "what's become of" people I used to know... I'm fairly good at keeping in touch with anyone I had been close to, but I love love love reading or hearing about lesser-known acquaintances and the turns their lives have taken. While I would never want to live high school over again, I have to admit that those years are when many of the defining moments of my life took place, and so I've had a good time thinking back through everything. I'm just thankful that I didn't have an experience like Dazed and Confused... or else I guess I wouldn't even be able to remember high school in the first place!

- e

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