Friday, July 06, 2007

How I made it out of high school in one piece (remains a mystery not unlike any miracle of life)---Part II

Short note about the Hump Day Hmm for next week: Late again! But better late than never! Next week's topic is courtesy of Snoskred:

"The things you carry with you"

It might be advice, it might be quotes, past experiences or thoughts, it might be what you literally carry with you. Even some seemingly silly advice like that can make for lifelong habits, for better or worse...

Also, I made a button:

Hump Day Hmm

I have a text file I'll send to each participant who wants it, past, present and future.

Many, many thanks to the wonderful Queen of the Mayhem for the grand compliment of


When we left off in Part I, our High School Heroine was protesting her innocence overmuch. All she needs is an oversized t-shirt and a creepy nondead guy in a hockey mask to leap out, make some inhuman noise and attempt to slay her for her lack of conformity and piety.'ll find that apparently it is more likely that our heroine is the one in the mask playing a prank on a friend...

8 Were you a nerd?
Julie: My gosh, yes. Better yet, in junior high I was a total geek. By high school I'd gotten my act together and was merely a nerd.

Kim: What's with the past tense?

Julie: Hardee har har. No it's cool. I'm a nerd. I'm okay with that.

(I really struggle with memories of friends and fun---such as acceptance, hobbies, activities, crazy events and situations, dates and busy schedules---which are in total conflict with how I remember feeling and viewing myself. I felt out of it, not really confident of place or self, like a sort of overlooked nerdy girl.

I do recall feeling gauche, de trop and other French words for "not cool or included" at times. I used to sing "Left of Center" along with Suzanne Vega and other tunes from John Hughes films with sincere emotion. But that doesn't quite mesh with some of my favorite memories; when I think back, I always had a fun group of friends and some crush or another.

I think it's a matter of confidence (which I had some of) versus self-esteem (which I could have used more of) and where, as a youth, we focus our attention. Sometimes I focused too hard in the wrong direction, such as paid too much attention to my own sensitivities and was not sensitive enough to another person, or paid too much attention to what I lacked and overlooked what I had. Or just looked the wrong way, became unobservant.

I think I actually probably hurt some feelings of people who genuinely liked me and thought of me as a friend because I didn't believe someone like that--cool, popular, whatever---could really be my friend.

Later, in college, I'd run into this guy or that girl and they'd remember me fondly, and I'd be surprised, "What? Huh? You liked me?"

I nearly fainted in shock one time years later when we happened to run into one another at a bar, this one guy said, "I always wished I'd had the courage to ask you out, but I didn't think you'd say yes to someone like me, and you always had boyfriends."

I always felt like I liked people but that it was one-sided.

Ahh adolescent angst.

Regardless, I was not the most popular kid. I was, however, a kid with a good circle of very diverse friends who were fun, nice, and enjoyed doing entertaining things.

When you have a lot to distract you---hobbies like dance, activities like theater, and the group of friends you often find there, especially if it takes you out of your high school---you don't notice the school cliques as much. Or, maybe you care less. I did notice the popular kids, even ran around with them now and again. Some were nice, some were snotty, just about like you'd find in any other clique. And since I was a random clique hopper---rockers, jocks, academics, performers, punks, artists, and so on---who was more likely to choose people than groups, I had ample anecdotal evidence to draw on.)

9 Did you get suspended/expelled?
Kim: You are not going to get away without explaining the nickname.

Julie: Sigh. Okay listen, in my defense, it was unfair. Long story short: These two guys, David and Jim, who happened to be very nice guys, and I were doing our senior project for theater class. David came up with the plot, I did dialogue, and Jim was the cameraman. It was a pretty good story, if I do say so. It was about the struggle of a Mexican immigrant to get across the border to get to a better life...

Kim: Get to the point. People are going gray reading this.

Julie: Okay the plot called for a rifle. This was ages before any actual school shootings. So nobody thought a thing about it. The theater had an exterior separate entrance. David took the rifle in and checked it into the props area with the teacher. We went on to our regular classes for the morning, and then cut out (legally this time) in the afternoon to film the big climax scene, which happened to be at the local police station. We had permission from the police, and some officers were going to be extras. They were really nice about it; I think one was somebody's dad.

Kim: Getting grayer by the second.

Julie: Anyway, we checked out the rifle from props, headed to David's car, which was a tiny sports car, two seats only. Jim was following us in his truck. David stuck the rifle in the back window ledge and we sped over to the police station. We had just arrived when the alarm went off for some emergency situation. They told us we'd have to reschedule, there was a problem at the school. We asked which one, and it was ours. We begged to know what had happened. Apparently there was an armed man in our school. How terrifying! The police said we were so lucky to be out that afternoon. They told us that we should wait right there, and not go back to school until they knew it was safe.

Kim: Get to the punch line.

Julie: Okay it turns out the "armed man" had a woman with him and drove an orange sports car. It took us like thirty seconds to figure out it was us. So we turned ourselves in to the police, who were very understanding. The unamused people were the ones with egg on their faces: the campus security guy who called it in and the campus cop who got caught napping. That cop gave us each an ear blistering, telling us how irresponsible we were blah blah blah. The Principal had to weigh in with more threats and blustering blah blah blah.

Kim: As I recall, he said your days of getting off on innocent little honor student were behind you and he was on to you, with your secret plots and school skipping.

Julie: How melodramatically Ferris Bueller.

Kim: I loved that movie. What do you think Wayne Newton is doing now?

Julie: Probably not talking insensibly to kids, making bizarre and vague accusations and innuendos. I can only be grateful we didn't know anything about Homeland Security or we might have been labeled Terrorists and shipped to Gitmo.

Kim: I don't know, teacher's aide to Ms. Z might be just as bad.

Julie: God. UGH. Maybe so.

Kim: The really hilarious thing is that you, David and Jim were quintessential good kids. That's why everyone thought it was so funny.

Julie: We were good kids! We solved the mystery, after all and got everyone calmed down. Nobody actually did anything wrong. It was just a mistake.

Kim: Yeah but it haunted you, rifle girl.

Julie: Ha ha. I know, that cop was like a virus. He'd follow us down the city streets, try to catch us doing something wrong. He was desperate to arrest us or ticket us or anything.

Kim: And how did you get him off your back...share that please.

Julie: I blackmailed him. Okay? Happy? I trailed him like some Pink Panther version of James Bond and I caught him doing something naughty. We agreed to leave one another alone.

Kim: That was priceless.

Julie: Really. I don't understand why I kept getting this "bad girl" rap with teachers and administrators.

Kim: I can't imagine, Miss Mouth.

10 Can you sing the fight song?
Julie: Great scott, did my school have a fight song?

Kim: What's a fight song?

11 Who was your favorite teacher?
Julie: Number one, my geometry teacher Mrs. Briggs. She was fantastic.

Kim: Do you remember the crying crazy algebra one?

Julie: Who could forget. Did you ever get tired of hearing how Morgan Fairchild was her babysitter?

Kim: Only about the 30 millionth time she told it.

Julie: Also, the newspaper teacher. He was good, gave us life skills.

Kim: He was good. What about our anatomy and physiology teacher?

Julie: Ida. She was great.

Kim: She liked me better than you. You were so squeamish about dissecting.

Julie: Well ick, who wants to hold a real frog. And you! Your rabbit had babies and you delivered them, GAG.

Kim: It was cool. Hey what about the psychology teacher? I always thought he was a little off.

Julie: Yeah, I never got that walk on the wild side thing. But I got an A because I know all the 60s bands.

Kim: What that has to do with the price of tea in China I'll never know.

12 School mascot?
Julie: Erm, a horse.

13 Did you go to the prom?
Julie: I did.

Kim: Me too.

Julie: You were so drunk you teetered all night.


Julie: OMG and now I remember, you walked out of the Ladies' with your dress tucked in your hose! You told me you'd love me forever because I fixed it for you and took you back to your date. That was so Sixteen Candles.

Kim: Yeah well you footloosed all over the dance floor to "Dancing with Myself."

Julie: That was a good song.

14 If you could go back and do it over, would you?
Julie: No. God no.

Kim: Ditto.

Julie: Although if I had to, I wish I could carry back some confidence.

15 What do you remember most about graduation?
Julie: The plethora of social events that preceded it. We had lots of hoity toity traditions such as a debutante dance where seniors introduced juniors, a couple of special invitation only parties and dances (yeah yeah rude and exclusive) and I did that. Then we had tea parties, and things like that.

Kim: She really means she most remembers graduation day where we all cried in joy that high school was finally over.

Julie: Okay, that.

16 Where were you on senior skip day?
Julie: Believe it or not, I did attend school that day. I skipped on either side of it though.

Kim: We did wear shorts, though, remember? And several of us got sent home because they were more than half an inch above the knee.

Julie: My legs are long. All shorts are short on me.

17 Did you have a job your senior year?
Julie: I did. I started working because I was going on a backpack trip through Europe with some other kids from high school and had to pay for half. I worked at a restaurant and that was dreadful. Then I got a great job at a health club. In the morning, I left my house at 5:30 a.m. and opened up the health club. I stayed there until 8 and then sped to school. After school, I picked up these sweet girls from elementary and watched them until their mom got home. So senior year I had two jobs.

Kim: I remember that health club job. You hired quite a few of us. That was a great job. Oh yeah and the stylist there did us all up for prom!

18 Where did you go most often for lunch?
Julie: We were not allowed off campus and I hadn't hit my free-and-easy to skip periods yet, so I ate in the cafeteria or senior year, I usually ate in the senior lunch hall (only seniors were allowed).

Kim: We never ate lunch together did we?

Julie: No, we had different lunch periods.

19 Have you gained weight since then?
Julie: I'm three inches taller and at least fifty pounds heavier.

Kim: It's not as bad as it sounds. She looked like a piece of paper. A little substance is not a bad thing.

Julie: Thanks. You know, I still credit you with a bad Ben & Jerry's and tabloid habit when life looks bad.

Kim: I had all the good ideas.

20 What did you do after graduation?
Julie: I worked all summer, played a lot, had big dramas and went off to college.

Kim: That's the understatement of the year. Now you decide to get all succinct.

Julie: I already told the "Morini pulled my test applications for placement" story. Anyway the upside was I got to go early to college.

Kim: I didn't need an excuse. And the school stuff is the least of it. Frankly that summer your love life beat the pants off All My Children, and that was in the Luke and Laura and Tad and Jenny days. Kim Delaney sure has come far, hasn't she.

Julie: I know. I'm liking Army Wives. Remember the time I got to have lunch with Michael Knight at the Hard Rock Cafe? He was even better in person. Well the few times he actually got to speak. Who was that other guy? DeLaurentis or something? Nobody could get a word in edgewise around him.

Kim: That's rich coming from you.

21 When did you graduate?
Julie: Uhh in the late 80s. Good enough?

Kim: Oh for goodness' sake. It was 1988.

22 Who was your senior prom date?
Julie: My boyfriend at the time, Richard.

Kim: You almost didn't have a date. He thought you stood him up.

Julie: We overtaxed whats-her-name---Ellen maybe?---who did our hair and makeup. She was like Annie Potts in Pretty in Pink. You guys went first and I went last and got home a little late. For some reason this made my date think I stood him up. He actually picked a fight with me about it. I got so upset I dropped my mom's diamond earring down the sink drain. My step-dad had to take apart the pipes to retrieve it.

Kim: Do you remember Audrey's nickname for your boyfriend? The Dreamboat.

Julie: He was a nice guy.

Kim: He was...

Julie: Hey, hush, my husband reads this blog, and he knew Richard, okay?

Kim: You stunk as a girlfriend.

Julie: Yeah, I did, I guess, in a lot of ways. I think I owe a lot of apologies to a lot of people from about 1984 through about 1994. Myself included.

23 Are you going/did you go to your 10-year reunion?
I did not. And now the twentieth is almost here.

24 Who was your homeroom teacher?
We didn't have home room.

25 Who will repost this after you?
I want to open this up to anyone who wants to share their high school story, and I say the more the better. At the least, you in my favorites, my blogroll, and any commenters...count yourself tagged (but only voluntarily).

If I could, I'd tag my old friends, you know, any and all of the people who gave me all this rich fodder and memories.

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert


Kyla said...

Again, so fun!! Rifle girl, what a hoot. This was great stuff. I love what you did with it.

For the record? I WAS walking while you were in high school. *lol* I turned 1 about the time you were entering your freshman year. I was 4 years old when you graduated (getting closer to 5, though). I was probably in my living room telling my mom "My arms are too tired to pick up my Cabbage Patch dolls!!" while you were walking across the stage. *lol*

Lawyer Mama said...

This waas a riot! Rifle Girl! Baaahaaaa!

"I really struggle with memories of friends and fun---such as acceptance, hobbies, activities, crazy events and situations, dates and busy schedules---which are in total conflict with how I remember feeling and viewing myself. I felt out of it, not really confident of place or self, like a sort of overlooked nerdy girl."

Um, yep. Totally me. And you are only 2 years older than me. Stop referring to yourself as old!

So are you going to your 20th? I'm trying to talk T into going to his. For some reason I think watching him go through high school angst is much more fun than ME experiencing it!

(I may have to make a liar of myself & actually do this meme.)

Lawyer Mama said...

Ooh & I want the button!

Sober Briquette said...

It's been fun hanging around with you and Kim.

I bet you'd have a decent time at your 20th - especially because all those people really liked you and you didn't realize it.

Thanks for the photo :)

slouching mom said...

Not only did I find this a laugh riot (an eighties expression in and of itself), but your prom photo is adorable! You are adorable!

I wish we lived closer. You make me laugh.

Emily said...

My high school was so cheap we dissected worms instead. And my criteria for a partner was someone who would do all the touching, too!

Cathy said...

Hey, I'm an '88 grad too!

Hilarious posts, both of them. And I'm now positively swimming in my own high school memories...

Thanks so much for the ROFL nomination!!

flutter said...

Dude. anybody who loves some bossa nova is automatically in the badass chicks club. :)

Mad Hatter said...

That rifle story was fabulous. Positively fabulous. As was the construct for these two posts. BTW, you were waif thin in that picture. I'm so glad to hear that even after your WW this past winter, you are a woman of more substance.

thailandchani said...

This was a great post! I truly enjoy it... it made me laugh and I related, too. Interesting considering we are probably double digits apart in age.

It really doesn't change much, does it?

And your prom picture is very, very pretty! :)



Mary-LUE said...

Well, the second half of this very special episode of The Ravin' Picture Maven didn't disappoint! I love the picture. You really know how to do asymmetrical!

I think it is interesting how our views of high school can be so schizophrenic, both fun and tortuous. I know that there is a part of me that would respond like you regarding doing high school over again. "NO!" Yet, there was some great things that happened, too.

I'm thinking about whether to do this one.

mayberry said...

So much fun ... I wonder if I have my old yearbook around here somewhere...

jen said...

this. was. hilarious. you. fox. you.

Aliki2006 said...

Great tales--hilarious ones, amazing ones, crazy ones!

theotherbear said...

Gee I enjoyed reading all that. I have no idea how I got here (following random links) but you wrote a good story there.

Jenny said...

Rifle girl, you rock.

But god, you were so skinny. You look better now.

PS. Everyone at my school had a rifle in their gun-rack. You would have totally fit in there.

Magpie said...

You are funny. So is Kim. Thanks.