In My High School


Blaine Larsen’s “In My High School” is one of my favorite songs.  It’s a soothing melody that reflects on what life and people were like in high school.  I wish I can say the song brings back memories, but the song says nothing about juvenile delinquents who knew of no etiquette, decency or common sense.

One of the things we apparently found hysterical in high school was fire, and it happened more than once that the whole school would have to be evacuated because someone torched the garbage.    After one particularly bad incident, a fire marshal lectured us on the obvious dangers of fire and told us it wasn’t something to be played with.  I don’t recall that making any difference.

Going to a private school, we were clever enough to be rudely respectful.  At every assembly, whenever the situation called for an applause, we would just keep on clapping until our hands got tired.

We of course played tricks on each other.  A common one was taking someone else’s backpack, emptying its contents, turning it inside out and putting the stuff back in.  One time a student told the teacher his bag was missing and he prevented the class from leaving until it was found, only for the student to realize that the bag was right there all along, merely turned inside out.

Teachers, though, took the blunt of the abuse.  Those who couldn’t control the class were guaranteed spit balls and if they really lacked control, students would unapologetically start throwing objects.

My religion teacher in my Sophomore year was an elderly brother who had been teaching for multiple decades.  Lacking any conscience, we didn’t hesitate to take advantage of his advanced age.  He liked to use a podium to give his lectures, so someone in class often took the podium, hid it in a large garbage bucket and rolled the bucket into the hallway.   The brother then went ambling around the school looking for his podium.

The brother also loved to talk about a commendable woman named Dorothy Day, a social activist.  Her sense of sacrifice had little meaning to teenage boys, who instead took the opportunity to play with the brother’s memory.  Everyday, someone will ask him to speak about Dorothy Day, and he will inevitably go on a tangent to tell us about the same stories he shared the day before.

For some reason, religion teachers had it the worst.  The teacher I had my Junior year was a man who, on the first day of class, talked about how God called him to move his entire family from Florida to New Jersey so he can inspire us with Jesus’ teachings.  Such honest but misguided confession was a sure-fire way to receive no respect from immature teenage boys attending an all boys Catholic school.  By the second day, he had no control.

This poor Italian man had the misfortune of looking exactly like Mario from the Nintendo game.  Alas, every day some student in class brought in a Gameboy and played Super Mario Brothers at full volume so the entire class can hear the BGM.  Nor did we accomplish anything meaningful in the class.  Whenever he gave homework, someone in the back will yell, “Not doin’ it”–and no one did.  Whenever he gave tests, we put our desks together and blatantly copied each others’ answers.

For the record, I never participated in any of the events above.  But I can’t claim the high moral ground either since I did nothing to prevent them and found them all to be rather amusing.

More than a decade later, with the passage of time, some maturity and some life perspective, I now know that how we were and what we did were wrong.  Anyone with a conscience would call us the most horrible human beings for treating people who deserved our respect.

But the darnest thing about my memories from high school is that, yes, I now know that much of what we did was wrong, but I still think they were terribly funny.  To this day, I get a huge chuckle remembering the terrible things we did.

If you ask me how I haven’t matured since high school, I’ll probably say that I find what happened in high school to be still amusing.  Great thing about being a kid is that kids have boundless wittiness.  The problem is that kids have no conscience to temper it.  I’ve reached that point in my life where I’ll probably let the horseplay go on for a while, but I won’t sit idly by and have a teacher who taught for decades and a teacher who uprooted his family to be relieved of their duties during the middle of the school year.

I guess that’s progress.

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4 Responses to “In My High School”


  1. 1 Anonymous June 22, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Very true accounts of Bergen, Joe. Sadly, I perpetrated alot of the aforementioned tomfoolery – i.e. hiding Bro. JJ’s podium in the bathroom, spitballs, drawing Super Mario on the blackboard as said Italian religion teacher lectured. Great times. And I only did these things because I knew that I would get away with it…. and to look cool.

    – Anonymous BC grad ’00

    • 2 joesas July 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm

      Anonymous,

      So you’re the one! LOL. You’ll back me up when I say I didn’t do any of that stuff, right?

      Yes, doing these stupid things were cool. And that’s why I miss high school.

      Joe

  2. 3 Larry September 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Hey joe,

    I am catching up on old blogs and this one caught my eye. I forgot all about the repeated fires at BC. I now wonder if that lecture played some role in my joining the fire dept… Haha do you remember th full class detention we served in the cafeteria sophomore year? I will say if was fun while it lasted. Side note- how do those brothers put up with it all year after year? It boggles the mind. Have fun in Tokyo, see you at the restaurant when you visit the states.

    • 4 joesas September 7, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Larry,

      Thanks for commenting! Weren’t those high school days crazy times? I look back and remember what kind of punks we were and I agree I don’t know how the teachers tolerated us. We were unsalvageable delinquents. But I guess some good came out of it ’cause you joined the fire department??? LOL.

      Thanks and I’ll definitely drop by again when I’m in the states. Your restaurant is honestly amazing.

      Don’t be a stranger!

      Joe


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