September 24, 2008

All The News That's Fit To Store in A Box And Collect Dust For Sixteen Years

Did I ever tell you that I was the editor of my high school newspaper during my sophomore, junior and senior years? No? Well, it shouldn't be too surprising, I guess. I was downstairs this weekend, picking through the boxes we haven't yet managed to unpack (we've been in this house for a year) trying (and failing) to find an adapter for a guitar pedal when I stumbled on a pile of old issues of the hallowed high school publication, the name of which I am withholding lest I give too many details of myself away. Combing through the now-forgotten issues was interesting. I've forgotten so much. And, sure, some of the writing is pretty darn embarrassing but some of the reporting is actually pretty decent.

Because I never want to be accused of not sharing enough with you, not giving you some insight into my formative years, I now reproduce the final editorial I wrote in 1991, my junior year in high school. I've left it entirely unedited, changing only specific names that would bring stalkers to my doorstep.

As we leave Bea Arthur High, whether it is only for a summer or forever, we must all remember what this school has given us and what we have given in return. We must remember the four factors that have made this year, like so many others, so prosperous. Those factors are the community, student body, teachers and administrators.

Bea Arthur High began as a farm school in 1967 when the areas which are now Midgetville, Abe Vigoda Estates and TJ Hooker Acres were cow infested. The community did not play as important a part in the school then as it does now.

Take for instance the Bea Arthur community newspapers. Bea Arthur High has a column in the Bea Arthur Times and there are always pieces of news about our school in the Bea Arthur Herald. Take a look at how many "Arthurites" came out to see the homecoming parade this year. The community is honestly involved in our welfare and our education.

It is said that there cannot be a well-run school without a good student body and this year was no exception. We have proven ourselves worthy of accepting responsibilities. From picking our student leaders to choosing the cafeteria menus, we have demonstrated that the power of a teenager should not be underestimated.

We, as students in Vandalay County, have everything going for us. We are located in one of the best-rated school districts in the country and are faced with one of the most outstanding educational programs around.

Bea Arthur High students are also blessed with teachers and administrators who care about us, rather than making themselves look good in the eyes of the parents. There are few teachers or administrators in this world who would take personal phone calls from students to give us extra help or allow us other privileges we requested. We should consider ourselves lucky.

Throughout the last days of school, we must all remember what the faculty and community have done for us. They have given us a good education while making it seem reasonably painless. Since we walked in the front doors, however many years ago, we have grown emotionally and physically.

We must say goodby now, whether it's for a few months or forever. The memories we have all made for ourselves, the student body of '91, will live forever.

"I'm sad to say it's time to go but until we meet again along the road, remember this, on your journey home, when you hear the thunder's roar, you're not alone. We wish you well." - Whitesnake

First, yes, I fucking quoted Whitesnake. In an editorial. I'd cry but I'm laughing too hard. I was so fucking cool.

The editorial is pretty cringe-worthy. I mean, I didn't just kiss the school's ass. I got a crowbar, opened it up and climbed right inside. The funny - or sad - thing, though, is that I remember really thinking like this. I guess that's just my glass-is-half-full personality shining through at a formative age.

What moments - or any evidence of your youth - do you look back on the most and find cringe-worthy? And - because I can't stop asking questions - who's up for more cheesy high-school editorials?

Posted by Chris at September 24, 2008 6:14 AM

I thought it was good! Well, ok, except for the Whitesnake quote! It was heartfelt and sort of inspiring.
Cringe-worthiest for me is my diary from when I was 10 to 15 years old and entries I continued to make in the blank spaces one and off for a few more years. Yeesh! I die inside to read how shallow and boy crazy and just a mess. There should have been an intervention! I blush when I read it.

Posted by: NancyJak at September 24, 2008 6:51 AM

Ah, the joys of the high school newsletter. You were a junior in 1991? Ouch, I feel old. Go ahead and quote White Snake whenever you want. Song lyrics rock. Back into lurkdom.

Posted by: Christy at September 24, 2008 7:35 AM

I want to move to Abe Vigoda Estates when I grow up.

Also? "Infested" by cows? Did they call an exterminator or something?

As for me, I have a similar themed item (i.e. where I kiss the school's ass) except that sadly it isn't just a newspaper, it's an "interview" I did for the "student of the year" montage they did (I was a nominee, I didn't win it).

Posted by: SciFi Dad at September 24, 2008 7:38 AM

Crap. I failed to mention that the interview is a VIDEO.

Posted by: SciFi Dad at September 24, 2008 7:39 AM

Cringe-worthy high school moments? Um... singing a solo in "Danny Boy" for a choir concert. Dancing with a parasol in "Oklahoma!" (the fact that I still know all the words to most songs in the musical is something I particularly find cringeworthy...).

Our school didn't have a paper, though if we had, I'd surely have written for it. I mighta crawled up their ass. I surely would have used the term "cow infested" (because this town was AND is a pretty rural place). I'd definitely have quoted a song. It would NOT have been Whitesnake. I don't even know what the hell song that was.

Keep sharing. Makes me feel less dorky.

Posted by: sarah at September 24, 2008 7:56 AM

I'm up for more cheesy editorials.

Most cringe worthy were the outfits that I wore. Florescent green plaid pants, matching hair accesories and punk make up. I was the epitome of cool in 1985. :-)

Posted by: Maria at September 24, 2008 7:57 AM

I want to live in TJ Hooker Acres.

Posted by: William at September 24, 2008 8:09 AM

I find my lack of confidence/low self-esteem INCREDIBLY cringe worthy. It took me at least 10 years to realize I was a great kid with a lot going for herself and now I wish I could shake my teenage self and say, "Loosen up! You're awesome!"

Posted by: Robyn at September 24, 2008 8:25 AM

I would LOVE more cheesy high-school editorials. Honestly, it really wasn't that bad, which is more than I can say for most of the stuff I churned out in high school.

Posted by: Fraulein N at September 24, 2008 9:03 AM

Every single yearbook photo. But I think that's par for the course for anyone. I'm sure I wrote some pretty atrocious things for our school paper and I know for a fact that I designed some pretty boring yearbook pages.

I, for one, would like more editorials, please.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at September 24, 2008 9:04 AM

I graduated in a class of 26, with maybe 100 kids total in grades 9-12 on a remote south pacific military base. We have all started connecting on Facebook in the last month or so. The yearbook page scans that people are posting are downright painful to look at. I was never a writer in high school, so I don't have a word trail to haunt me. But the hair...

Posted by: COD at September 24, 2008 9:10 AM

Oh my God, I'm dying over here. The whole thing was pretty good, and didn't really have a hint of 17-year-old until you mentioned your feat of picking the cafeteria menus. But the Whitesnake quote... well that's just 1991 genius. Genius, I tell ya!

More, please.

Posted by: Brad at September 24, 2008 9:15 AM

First off, TOTALLY up for more cheesy editorials.

The world thing I ever found was my journal from my sophomore year of high school. It was just before I started dating my first boyfriend, and instead of being representative of my life that year, it was pretty much could have been named "The (First Boyfriend's Name) Chronicles: A Stalker's View."

I ripped it to shreds, horrified at the thought of anyone, ever, friend or stranger, reading that.

I did find some interesting things from Lit class though. I was not half bad. And I had some opinions... like whoa.

Posted by: caleal at September 24, 2008 9:24 AM

Oh my gosh my cringeworthy moment. We have this thing at my school called the "Untalented Hour" basically a variety show anyhow most of the seniors skits make it and the seniors always have the sendoff. Anyhow, we did a sendoff where we did a finale too the song American Pie but we changed the words to Memorial High (my high school) cheesy...except it stuck and became our stupid "senior song" for the REST OF THE YEAR. As seniors we had to hear AMERICAN PIE for the entire year anytime anything having to do with us as seniors. Oh my god I wanted to drive to a levee and drive off and kill myself by the end of the year. I graduated in 1991. I am soooo old.

Posted by: Dee at September 24, 2008 9:29 AM

Oh yes, more please!
Cringe-worthy for me - most everything in my teenage journals and my Senior Year paper. The theme had to be All About Me. I remember thinking I was so introspective. My teacher probably got a great laugh at the time.

Posted by: Diane at September 24, 2008 9:31 AM

Please, please...more cheese!

What makes me cringe are the notes I wrote in yearbooks to two separate was the quarterback who I had made out with a few times and therefore thought it was love, and the other was a guy I was just starting to date and we both just KNEW it was love. I just hope those guys have trashed their old yearbooks so no one ever reads those words.

This is why women change their name when they get they can disavow all the stupid things they did under their maiden name when they were silly young girls.

Posted by: Teresa at September 24, 2008 9:42 AM

Hell, as someone who taught high school English for a decade before stopping (giving up in despair *cough*), you should be thankful that at least what you're looking back on is literate. Albeit cheesy. All high school students are cheesy or full of angst.

As for me... um, I was in high school in the mid to late 80s, so I'd say the fashion makes me squirm... especially the perms I'd get every year.

Posted by: mandy at September 24, 2008 9:52 AM

I want to live in Abe Vigoda Estates. It would take me at least a year to get through all of my Godfather jokes alone.

I graduated from high school in 1989, so pretty much all of my clothing and hair choices from my high school years are cringe worthy. Oh, and I quoted The Lost Boys on my yearbook page. To be fair, I also quoted Thomas Jefferson. But then again, I also quoted INXS. Yep, one big long cringe.

Posted by: bad penguin at September 24, 2008 9:55 AM

I know exactly what you mean...I am being harrassed by high school classmates for my contact info for the big 10 year reunion (which, needless to say, I really do not want to attend)--and I was thinking back, just this morning, on my days of Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook...I can almost recite a piece pretty similar to the one you wrote...

Posted by: Liz at September 24, 2008 10:24 AM

I look back on High School Life and realize that you live and you learn. Hopefully learn.
I think the editorial was pretty good. You've had talent all along, in my opinion!

Posted by: Maribeth at September 24, 2008 10:47 AM

oooh - good stuff!!! Cringe worthy - I was in HS from 1981-1984 so LOTS of the clothes. And the bangs - my god, the bangs! Also - the local radio station (rock and "new wave" back then) had a top 10 at 10 and I had this odd fascination for writing it down in a notebook EVERY NIGHT! Cringe worthy indeed!

Posted by: Sue R at September 24, 2008 11:10 AM

The first thing out of my mouth was, "OMFG He's frelling quoting Whitesnake!" And yes, I'm psychotic to beg for more of such punishment.

Similarly, I wrote a graduation song for my 9th grade class, Thailand's equivalent of junior high graduation (HS is 10-12th), music and lyrics AND performance that didn't actually happen. I don't remember the song much now, but I had it on tape somewhere back home.

And for 12th grade, even after I've left, I wrote my class another song for the senior concert while I was home in the summer. The concert was to raise money to help build a new building for our school. The song was something like "A dream to build our legacy on". The featured artists (a twin-brother superstar boy band) actually sang it with the class to the piano I pre-recorded with a tape deck. I've never seen the footage of that performance, but apparently it was a big hit.

Posted by: oakley at September 24, 2008 11:11 AM

I should add that the reason why the 9th grade song wasn't performed because our class was secretly planning an off-campus graduation party and our very own yearbook, unauthorized by the school, and we got caught. (Only 12th grader gets a special section in the yearbook for graduation. We didn't think it was fair. We asked if we could be included and request was denied.)

We did have to each pay for our party and publishing. Someone had to go and tell their tightwad parents and we got busted. The class ended up getting a 2+ hour of lectures from various teachers and principal on how wrong sneaking around the authority was. The we were forced to abandon the yearbook project and to hold a lame-ass party on campus with the cafeteria as caterer and a CD player as our entertainment. Needless to say, I refused to perform my song out of protest.

The kicker of it all, the following 9th grade class was the first to also get their own graduation section in the yearbook along with the 12th grader. Yeah, you're welcome.

Posted by: oakley at September 24, 2008 11:19 AM

I, too, was editor of my high school newspaper. My front page editorial poetry was read at commencement. Fairly high on the cringe-o-meter. I DO remember one heavy ethical debate about glorifying (on the front page) a senior who had committed suicide. His friends wrote a poem and obit and wanted it on the front page and I resisted because, hey, who wants to reward the guy who killed himself and what happens with the next suicidee? We ran the obit for him but, sadly, I was right. The other two suicides that year were NOT put on the front page. FWIW, I went to a large urban high school and, at the time, Vegas was the teen suicide capital of the country. Sad but I was proud of my hard-nosed (and correct) editorial stance at the time.

Posted by: rebecca at September 24, 2008 11:35 AM

if you weren't already married, i'd propose to you simply for that Whitesnake quote. as it is, i shall just have to be content at being one of your many admirers. le sigh indeed.

well done Chris Cactus circa 1991! well, done!

Posted by: pea at September 24, 2008 11:41 AM

wow. I was the yearbook editor for the last 2 years of my high school career. I have a "letter from the editor" in my senior book that sounds very similar to your. But alas no Whitesnake quote. I was not that cool. Long Live The Class of '95!

Posted by: punk rock mom at September 24, 2008 12:10 PM

In my move last summer I found mixed tapes I'd made for Nick. Things titled Heart songs. And Issas rockin tape. Somehow those did not make it to Colorado.

I also have yearbooks from seventh grade on.

Posted by: Issa at September 24, 2008 12:14 PM

One time I was visiting my mom's family on the East Coast. It was the first time my sister and I had been away from my parents for more than a night or two. I remember calling my mom and saying on the phone, "sister misses the dogs, but I miss you." I really meant it. But damn if that line didn't get quoted over and over and over again that summer. I cringe now when the family reminds me of it.

We can never get away from the things we do or say as kids.

Posted by: NGS at September 24, 2008 12:17 PM

Some cheerleaderish girl in high school used a line from The Dead as her senior quote in our yearbook (which I was the editor of; I feel you, dork) and I remember thinking how PROFOUND a quote it was. I remember saying as much to her, and I am pretty sure that was the first and last thing I've ever said to her.

I would have been blown away by your Whitesnake line. I would have thought you were soooo introspective and deep.

Posted by: Mr Lady at September 24, 2008 12:29 PM

most cringeworthy has got to be old yearbook pictures! Boy was I hot mess back in the day. The hair! the braces! the glasses! nightmares of them all haunt me!

Posted by: Kris at September 24, 2008 1:50 PM

I was the editor of my HS newspaper (and yearbook...sad, I know) my junior and senior years so completely understand about the editorials and such, you are far braver than I to share them!

Posted by: Dianna at September 24, 2008 3:19 PM

One year my hair was SO BIG in my school picture that you couldn't even see the top of my 'do. My hair was out of the frame (and this was the early 90's in GA so they probably had that piece set wide for all the peeps with big hair). My hair? Still too big. My hair would've kicked your mullets ass and then ate it for an afternoon snack AND THEN quoted G'nR, because that's how it rolled.

Posted by: mymilabean at September 24, 2008 4:11 PM

Definitely more editorials. So did the ass-kissing save you from getting in trouble for the ensuing senioritis pranks the next year?

Posted by: Heather at September 24, 2008 4:50 PM

I was on the high school paper too. We tried to be cutting edge, writing articles about graffiti and drugs. But then the principal would come in and cut all the "questionable" material out. Once, I wrote an article about what was going to done to the vacant mall at the end of town. I felt all important calling the county building offices and stuff. They just lied to me and said it was going to be made into a skate park. Yeah... That mall is STILL there. So much for being a pro journalist.

Posted by: Tink at September 25, 2008 9:11 AM

I can't even think right now because I can't stop laughing that you quoted Whitesnake. Hysterical!

Posted by: Leticia at September 25, 2008 4:55 PM

Cringeworthy - In one of the choir revues, a group of us sang Cabaret and we wore different colors of shortalls and danced with canes. Hee!

I was on the yearbook staff my junior year and co-editor my senior year. I'll have to see if there's anything I can share.

Your Whitesnake quote reminds me of my brother's review of an AC/DC concert for the school newspaper his senior year. The teacher wouldn't let him write that the singer mooned the audience so he wrote that a full moon rose over the arena.

Posted by: Kelley at September 25, 2008 5:29 PM

Monday thru Wednesday, lots of coffee, Thursday and Friday, call in sick. Which, is exactly what I've done for this week.

Posted by: OS at September 25, 2008 10:15 PM

Oh, and put the comment on the wrong post, that makes the week suck way less. I have to completely up your awesome rating for quoting Whitesnake. Funny, one of my most cringeworthy high school moments was being quoted in the school paper.

Posted by: OS at September 25, 2008 10:20 PM

when I visit I am bringing an 8ball and madlibs... for fun you know :)

Posted by: stinkerbell at September 27, 2008 3:32 PM