How To Be Cool In High School
Start early – be interested in girls when you’re in the fourth grade, and be the second or third kid in school to get a girlfriend. Play basketball, baseball and/or football. Be the one of the best players on all your teams, every year, but quit because “it was getting too serious and coaches suck.”
In the seventh grade, have a weird but intriguing relationship with a 16-year-old who has a brother your age and an AIM buddy profile that says “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number.” Make sure people know about it, and when they ask, remain vague and say things like “It’s none of your business what base we’re on now” and “We’re not like, technically dating, but you know…”
Begin high school. Have a close-knit group of predominately white, upper-middle class punk-rock friends who are weird in an interesting, not-too-weird way, and in which the females are, according to conventional standards, hot. Date an attractive Asian girl. When asked about your sex life, remain vague. Remain vague in any and all situations requiring personal information regarding sex, drugs or any other “iffy” activity – depending on who’s asking – in a manner that implies, to those who perceive you as a person who does drugs and has sex, that “sweet sex shit went down” or “you got really fucked up.” The trick is to execute this in a way that can also be perceived as “cute modesty” by potential sex-interests or people less sexually-advanced than you. This effectively allows people to think what they want to think. This will increase their interest levels.
Over the summer between freshman and sophomore year, become increasingly depressed and introverted, but maintain some semblance of “the old you” to those who knew you when you played sports and were more “mainstream.” Dress uniquely but in a manner that is still, by conventional standards, attractive. Be quiet and nice, most of the time. Remain friendly with “the popular crowd” but at such a distance that removes you from all potential drama and dislike.
Be in a band when your sophomore year starts. This is the new you. Play shows at houses, coffee shops and occasionally small venues. Become friends with older kids in better bands. Adopt radical leftist values and talk about them over late night PBRs and American Spirits at one of their duplexes in a nearby college town. Allow pictures to surface on Facebook.
Support your best friend when he becomes the first person in school to “come out” in your junior year. Say things like “I’m not gay, but I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it” and “It’s not like he like, tries to suck my dick at sleepovers” while grinning. Agree that there’s a difference between gay people and gay people. Be a liberal. Don’t be outspoken regarding anything, ever. Conversational input should be minimal and – despite being different – never in extreme conflict with the general consensus of the person(s) you are talking to, unless said person(s) already know what you’re about and “look up to you,” in which case say anything you want, ensuring an element of ambiguity and certainty, partially because you want them to think about what you said later, and partially because you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Let yourself move into senior year without even really noticing it. On top of house parties and keggers, add ‘cultural stuff’ to your mix of social gatherings – Rocky Horror Picture Show, art walks, foriegn films, etc. Always act unaffected in a mysterious, intriguing manner when attending. When someone accidentally ashes their blunt on the party host’s parents bed and someone else rushes over to tell you about it, say “damn” and sip one of the beers from the six-pack of bottled beer you brought for yourself. When the keg runs out at 2 a.m. and everybody’s drunk, offer to buy more beer because “no one really i.d.’s [you]” and you’re “not really that drunk” (despite having had ten beers).
Apply to a state school, get in and plan to go there. When people ask what you’re going to major in, make a complicated facial expression and say “I think I’m going to stay undecided for a year…” then something like “I’m really just using college for four more years of my parents paying rent and stuff while I launch my [writing/music/art/acting career].”
On Graduation Day, slightly modify an aspect of your cap and gown in an alternative manner. Make sure the modification is easy to hide so that when you’re receiving your diploma, your parents can’t see it. Tell the classmates who ask that you “want to give the school that took so much of your life away from you one last ‘fuck you.’” Smile and interact with the students you’ve spent so much of your life with. Make plans to visit each other and hang out during breaks despite knowing that the chances of you ever seeing or ever wanting to see these people again are slim to none. Drive away from the ceremony alone, listening to music at a low volume through speakers, thinking about someone you always wanted to have sex with but never pursued.
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I had a number of other essays I wanted to write tonight. There were other topics that deserved attention, essays I humbly felt might shed light on the human condition, on the difficulties and odd experiences we all deal with on a daily basis. But here I am, writing a defense of pubic hair.
6. The Usual Suspects
When your audience is this big, how can you really “know” it?
Metaphorically or literally, you will be hungry. Hungry for something to do, somewhere to go, some point to getting up in the morning.