How mark monday Got Himself Placed on the Honors Track in High School and So Became a Smashing Success in Life... through Fighting and Lying!
in 9th grade, on my last day of school before moving from Virginia to Orange County (mid-school year), some joker told me that he was happy i was moving. so I grabbed my lunch tray and proceeded to bash it over his head repeatedly. I hate people who are discourteous!
in the Vice-Principal's office, I was told "This is the Last Time. You are Suspended for a week!"
to which I responded: "ha, ha, this is my last day, I'm moving to California tomorrow, stupid!"
and to which I was told: "We will hold your records until you have served your suspension, no matter where you go." ...Uh Oh
so I moved to Los Alamitos, located in beautiful, peaceful, sunny-beyond-belief Orange County, California. I went in to register for my new life, second semester 9th grade. I got my id, filled out the forms, was told to return in a week, when school started up again after the break.
but that next week, they were perplexed - for some reason, my old school wasn't sending me my records! and yet my old school was also not communicating (God Bless Administrators Everywhere) and so my new school did not know what was going on. the trusting administrators at Los Alamitos High then just went ahead and asked me this key question:
Why Don't You Just Tell Us What Classes You Were In?
it was a make-it-or-break-it moment. in Virginia, I was purely Average. I was average at being average. but I was struck with inspiration and decided to lie and put myself in all of the Honors Classes. Advanced English, Advanced This and That. and they believed me! I couldn't believe my good fortune.
so merrily I went to Mrs. Bennett's Honors English class. upon walking in, I noticed they were doing some foofy role-play about The Illiad - which i had read like 3 years earlier. I thought to myself man they saw right through me! I'm back in Average Classes.
ha, I quickly realized I was wrong! the academic standards in California were so low in comparison to Virginia (and South Bend, Indiana, where I went to school before Virginia), that Honors English was actually not just equivalent to regular ole English in those other states... it was actually far less challenging. goodbye, Average Kid. hello, new Straight-A Student!
Los Alamitos was the site of much controversy in the late 80s, when a School of the Arts (located within Los Al at the time) student was not allowed to exhibit her explicitly lesbian painting - unless it was covered up and the tagline "Let me live for the day when two women can love each other in peace" was changed to "Let me live for the day when two people can love each other in peace". Happily, the ACLU got involved and swinish school principal Carol Hart had to relent. Uncovered lesbianism on display at Los Al!
Los Al and its past teachers have been on my mind a bit.
one day in Mrs. Busenkell's Advanced Placement English Class for sophomores, we were given a typically bizarre assignment: pick a student, follow them around, study their actions, report back in an essay. Being the new Straight-A (well, not really) Go-Getter that I was, I chose to spy on 2 people. the first person, someone i liked. the scond person... an Ex-Friend. my report on him was scathing. lots of "he is a follower" and "he laughs at everyone's jokes like he wants a medal" and "superficial trend-lover" type comments. etc. Mrs Busenkell couldn't believe someone could write such a savage report on - get this - one of her son's best friends. so with typical Los Al professionalism, she shared my report with my Ex-Friend. what kind of teacher does that? apparently a Los Al kind of teacher, circa mid-80s. her decision to share one student's paper with another student exacerbated tensions between me and that Ex-Friend for years. he finally got around to telling me about it at a recent birthday, after I guess finally making peace with it some time ago. I had thought that paper was private and could never figure out why my old Ex-Friend never warmed up to me, even after we had resolved our differences. and so a potentially great friendship between two queer teens was nipped in the bud due to teacher shenanigans. believe me, my friend could have used some support - being a closeted gay teen was no picnic for him, while being queer has always been no problem for me. maybe I could have helped him not go down some rather questionable paths if that wedge hadn't been driven so deep.
hey Mrs. Busenkell, this one's for you!