Kurt Vonnegut said, “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” I recently had a nightmare about being trapped on a boat with the lovely folks in my graduating class, and, with all due respect, Vonnegut is wrong. True terror is to go to sleep and discover what would happen if your high school class captained the ship. Here are some of the laws of our secondary school vessel:
1. Marijuana is legal.
This is literally the most important law and the first that anyone from my high school would pass. And if we’re being honest, if this weren’t the first law passed, the captain would be overthrown by mutiny. Mostly because all of the shipmates would be unused to their newly sober states and would need a new channel for their excess energy.
2. Certain people will arbitrarily be chosen to be the first mates of the ship, and you will arbitrarily show them respect.
In fact, these people may (probably will) be inferior to you in almost every way. They might, for example, do things like pay to lie down inside of machines to make their skin orange, which clearly no sane or intelligent person would do. They might also refuse to help out with anything on the ship and make you do all of the real work. Their actual actions matter not: You will worship them, or you will walk the plank.
3. Everyone sleeps in really uncomfortable hammocks, because comfort doesn’t matter.
Nothing on the ship really matters except how cool an activity makes you, and hammocks are the epitome of cool. Beds are too mainstream. Other “cool” things that are foisted upon you on the ship include wearing ridiculously tight clothes that inhibit you from doing your duties at sea, and being pushed into the shark-infested water to “prove yourself” to your crewmates.
4. If you want to leave the ship, you can’t.
If you really want to, you have to work incredibly hard while everyone else slacks off. Even when you see no end in sight, and especially then, you have to keep working really hard, and then—if you’re lucky—you can leave. But only if another more advanced and competitive ship accepts you into their sailing program.
Sorry Kurt, but I know for a fact that I will never experience the terror-inducing sensation of discovering that my high school class is in charge. There is one primary reason for this: no one from my school will ever run the country. I don’t mean to be cruel, but I went to school with these people for twelve years. I saw them smoking joints out the bathroom window, ordering pizza during a bomb scare, skipping class to sit across the street and stare at the looming brick building that resembled a prison much more closely than a place of learning. I know, I know: Things change, people change, and if they do, I will be thrilled to be able to retract my statement. Until that happens, though, I believe it can be a truth universally acknowledged that running the country would be considerably more difficult if one had slept through literally every period of U.S. History sophomore year.