Pocono Mountain Nightmares

I was one of the unlucky ones who went to high school at Pocono Mt. Senior High. Football ruled. We got the first day of deer season off. And if you were "different" (i.e., you had your own opinions and didn't dress like everyone else), you were a target for administration and peers. You were asking for it. You deserved it. You were different, and they let you know it.

Gym class, as many people know, was the worst. We had a "teacher," whose name I can't remember, call us "tampons" because we weren't running fast enough. He also called the class "fags." Oh,the tolerant '80s.

I'll admit that I gave administration its share of grief. I excelled at it (as anyone who works with me can imagine). I challenged them at every step. I threatened them. I pulled pranks. I know I wasn't a saint, but I can say I was a product of my environment ... and it got me watched.

The administration at Pocono Mt. kept me under a careful eye. They deemed me homicidal and suicidal. They fabricated stories about my friends coming to them in fear and disgust. They thought I was as dumb as they were and that I wouldn't question that, but I did. And as soon as they were confronted, they fell apart.

I got to thinking about this because of Columbine. It's been in the news this week. Now, I could see wanting to shoot fellow classmates and administration, but I would not have been as random. I always turned my hatred to those who deserved it. (I picture that gym teacher checking his underwear every morning, praying those drops of blood will disappear, but not telling anyone out of fear. Happy cancer, asshole! Maybe you should use a tampon to block the flow.)

Back in those days I did a 'zine. I ran a photo of a KKK rally and stated that it was a shot from our administration's annual picnic. I offered suggestions on how to deal with the staff, including the one that since they acted like Nazis we should let their neighbors know what they are dealing with by painting swastikas on their houses. That was when I started to learn a lot about libel laws and a publisher's responsibility. In the administration's favor, they didn't sue me ... and one of my more liked teachers definitely had a case when he woke up with a swastika painted on his house. Funny how that comes back to bite you sometimes.

If those Columbine kids did it out of anger, I can understand ... to a point. Too much was too random. Random anger loses its message far too easily. (Look at the confusion surrounding that incident.) That much anger needs to be directed like a laser. In that sense, those boys got it all wrong.

For those of you still in school ... have a great day. It won't be forever, but while you are there have some fun with it. Remember ... these are the best days of your life.


Nikki said...

Remember when the witchcraft issue of my zine almost got me kicked out of Catholic school? Oh, and then there was the part you wrote about a certain rich hippy girl who had very well-connected, well-respected parents. That certainly didn't help my case. Of course, I almost got kicked out of that school on a semi-annual basis all on my own, so I can't put any blame for that one on you. You're still on the hook for my fear of mountain men though.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

I do remember all of that. That was the first time I seriously thought I was going to get sued. You, too, if I recall right.

Remember when we bought Stormtrooper masks and robbed Wendy's? Good times. Good times. They were so scared. I'm trying to sound tough and you're saying, "You shouldn't torture chickens!" That girl kept screaming, "That's K-fry! Don't shoot me!"

God, I still laugh.

Tina said...

On this side of the earth I used to skip classes altogether, directing my anger elsewhere. Actually, that wasn't entirely true. As long as I was elsewhere, I was not angry. However, being a truant gets you punished. Punishment for skipping classes is *drumroll* being kicked out o school. Am I the only one who doesn't perceive that as punishment? :) They didn't kick me out of school though, but they didn't encourage me to come to classes more often either. And it wasn't my peers that I disliked, it was the lack of interest in our teachers that I was fed up with.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

I loved being in in-school suspension. I definitely took the Rorschach view that I wasn't trapped in there with them, they were in there trapped with me. (It's how I approach work, too.)

When it came to my peers, a lot of them angered me, as did many of my teachers. Mostly, it was administration, though.

Hmmm, I see a theme here. Hey, we need to link blogs, too.