Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We're Not Gonna Take It

I'm not entirely sure I'm proud to admit it, but my high school years were mostly marked by constant attempts to 'get away with something'. Unlike my unschooled kids - who have a choice to go to school or not - school, of course, was just a given. It was what you did. It was how you spent your days. It was your 'job' as a kid.

But because none of it was of my own making, I just muddled through like the rest of the kids. I was bright enough and intuitive enough to know just how much I had to do to stay under the radar, and I didn't find much challenge in the academics. If I struggled, though, I only had to beg off someone else's homework for the answers with a promise I'd return the favor somehow. It didn't bother me one single bit to cheat on occasion, because really, we all knew homework was simply another hoop to jump through and everyone - teachers, parents, kids - were happy just knowing the hoops had been jumped, and if a little, er, forbidden assistance was given, it was usually a case of no harm, no foul. Otherwise known as just don't get caught, stupid.

But I was bored. And as a typical somewhat-insecure kid, I was also always trying to prove myself. And by prove myself I mean impress my friends, not get straight As. Getting As was pretty easy. Impressing my friends took constant vigilance. :)

I'd always been a sneaky little sh*t. There was just something so intoxicating about pushing the envelope, nudging the edges, bending the rules a bit. I don't suppose it was a conscious move on my part at that young age, but I suppose it was, in some ways, an attempt to "stick it to the man."

But I also knew the difference between being a bad-bad kid (vandalism, bullying) and being a good-bad kid (sneaking candy into class, sneaking myself out of class). I knew the difference, I always knew where the fine line lay, and for the most part, I limited myself to only good-bad kid hijinks.

For example, when we did the roller skating unit (only school could take something fun - like roller skating - and make it sound incredibly dull - like "Class, tomorrow we will begin our roller skating unit. And we'll skate in circles! I will be watching for proper form."). Some of my fellow good-bad friends and I grew quickly bored of skating in one large circle while avoiding the upperclass grrls who were trying to lock wheels with us and send us sprawling. (For the record, we were far more agile and athletic than they were so that usually ended badly - for them.) So we'd devise our escape.

There were three of us; two would keep watch and signal when the oh-so-hot-but-oh-so-lacking-in-personality gym teacher turned his head, while the third would skate out the door and down the hallway. How long we'd skate the halls would depend upon how especially lucky we were feeling at the moment, how many stray adults were wandering the halls, and whether or not we thought the mean upperclass grrls had seen us.

I remember the study hall room didn't have a door, so I'd strike a funny pose and skate past the open doorway, eventually attracting the attention of some classmates. They'd wait patiently for me to skate by again, in a new pose of course, and by the time they giggled and the study hall monitor looked up, I'd be gone.

We had to liven up roller skating unit week somehow.

Most of my other antics were similarly harmless - victimless pranks.

So when
"We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister came on the radio during our drive to St. Louis last week, I was instantly transported back to 1984. And then I laughed out loud. And then an old-but-familiar feeling came over me, and once again, I was 14, a freshman in high school, a little sh*t trying to get away with something.

I went to a small high school where the lines between jocks, nerds, brains, and druggies were very blurred (many fell under the "all of the above" category). I was no different. I was a cheerleader and a jock. (Well, as much of a jock as you can be at 5'2" and 98 lbs.) I was a nerd too. I was in the marching band.

That's when wearing a cheerleading uniform came in reeeeal handy. It meant I didn't have to wear those g*d-awful marching band uniforms. Really, they were so horrendous, I may've had to draw the line at being in the band. A grrl's got her standards. No poufy hats and fake, plastic booties for me, sorry. As a piano player I was automatically a substitute percussionist. For marching band, I wore a big-*ss set of bells. They were heavy suckers.

During halftime of the varsity game, the band would wait as the cheerleaders and football players would run over to take our places. It was usually cold, and we were usually both nervous and a wee bit embarrassed. We'd fidget, waiting for the director's signal.

The director would raise his baton and direct the start of our marching cadence, the rhythm to which we'd march to mid-field. I loved those cadences - still do. There's something about an intoxicating drumbeat that makes you wanna shake your groove thang. Shaking my groove thang, however, was greatly hampered by 172 lb. bells hanging from my shoulders. Oof.

One night, the band director raised his baton and we posed, ready. But on cue, instead of the usual marching cadence, Scott, our lead snare drummer (and my future boyfriend), started pounding out a different rhythm. It was one we'd played while goofing around in band practice. It was the cadence to "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister.

We giggled as we marched onto the field. The band director shot "you're in big trouble, mister" looks at us as he marched backwards, still directing. Some of the horn players started dancing as they marched. And then Brian, the bassoonist, started playing the bass line, and then I, carrying the 214 lb bells (they grew heavier by the minute), started hammering out the melody, and before you knew it, the entire band was not only marching to "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister but also singing "No! We Ain't Gonna TAKE It..."

"We're not gonna take it... anymore...."

Eventually the crowd giggled, while the opposing team's stands looked rather befuddled. It was like a scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. We did it again a few more times, during other games, but the first time was the most fun of course. Our band director was a good sport, too. He did his obligatory scolding, but I just know he laughed when we weren't looking.

Ah, the good old days.

What antics did YOU pull in the old days? Or heck, last weekend? Give 'em up!


whimsigal said...

You know what? I didn't really do much in high school. The craziest thing I did was skip about 30 days of school before getting caught. My antics took place in my 20's when I went to work for my dad at his telecom company in 1994. Oh god, my co-workers and I loved to play practical jokes on each other but this one is my favorite...

Our quality control guy was uptight. A real walking bundle of nerves. Not only that but he looked like he stepped out of the 1970's. He wore big gold chains, tight polyester pants, and a member's only jacket. Oh! And he cut his hair with a Flowbee. You know, the infomercial thing that you hooked up to your vacuum cleaner? Anyway, he was a grumbly gus and we wanted him to lighten up a bit so one day I cooked up this scheme. It involved a Tootsie Roll midgie and some instant grits. It was a work of art friends. I created a poop masterpiece out of candy and grits and left it in the doorway of his office. Oh how we nearly peed our pants anticipating his reaction to seeing the "poop" sitting there on the floor. What I didn't anticipate was him completely freaking out, thinking he had a giant rat in his office and calling up the bldg mgr to come up and look at the poop. I mean, it looked good but I thought it was still obvious that it wasn't REALLY poop. His office was right next door to mine and I was MORTIFIED when I hear him get mad. I just knew I was going to be in trouble. Well, Chuck went to get some coffee and I seized the opportunity to go and grab the poop before the bldg mgr saw it. When Chuck and the mgr came upstairs and the poop was gone, I thought Chuck was going to have a breakdown. He couldn't figure out where the poop had gone. Well, at this point, I had to fess up because Chuck was upset about the "rat". Needless to say, he didn't see the humor in the joke and I got in a tiny bit of trouble. But I still enjoyed the prank nonetheless. That's my bit of devlishness for today and I hope you don't think any less of me for it!


Beverly said...

A boy on the newspaper staff wrote a column about how he went "cruising for women," and I edited out the "wo."

Maria said...

Oh boy. Too funny. I really think Laura you and I may have liked each other in school. I was a bit more of a loner/loser type. W/out the Alley Sheedy hair. I didn't hang w/the brains and I didn't hang with the popular girls. In between was me. But I was a quiet rebel. Chewing gum when I was asked to take it out. Skipping classes and trying not to get caught. Getting a "hall pass" and using it for the entire class. Actually going down town for one class. Never got caught on that. I could look guilty and innocent all at once so the teachers felt sorry but suspected me all at the same time. I wish I could remember one shining incident but I can't. Scanning.... No. Nothing is coming. By and large I like those good memories but otherwise I homeschool so that my daughter doesn't have any school memories. Sometimes you have to laugh so you don't cry and that was school for me.

Not June Cleaver said...

OMG high school was sooooo long ago, I have either forgotten or blocked most of it. However, I did once post a "mean girl" story last summer as part of a music meme. Scroll down to "Leather and Lace" to read about it.

Gosh, what I do remember was mastering the art of not getting caught. At anything. Everyone thought I was such a good girl. **evil grin** I was like you in flying under the radar by doing the minimum of what was expected to maintain my low profile. I love your roller skating prank. I could just picture it in my mind!

Mrs. G. said...

I perfected the ability to sleep while sitting up...with my eyes open.

I also had my period for 87% of all my PE classes.

Stephanie said...

I'm not tellin what I did last week :)

You know I'm not gonna take it, never have never will. You know I love 80's hair bands :)
Great post :)

piscesgrrl said...

Evie! I will never be able to think of you without laughing about fake poop! LOL

Beverly - I honestly laughed my fool head off at your brilliant move. You go grrrl. I will love you forever just for this story.

Maria - we could've skipped class together! Darn. We were so close and yet so far! and now you've moved across the country.

Not June Cleaver - this mean grrrls story makes your "not june cleaver" moniker quite apt! And um, yep, been there. Bad me.

mrs. g. - 87%? Aren't pubescent grrl's cycles wacky? Or is just that male gym teachers were gullible? Maybe they just didn't care either. ;-)

stephanie - shame on you for not sharing. Long live 80's hair bands! I loved White Snake, too.

Silvia said...

Just have to say, do you remember the MTV video for that song? LOL!

KMDuff said...

I was so boring and good in high school...but love the stories! Heck, I'm still boring! The best I have is sneaking off on trips (while I was in college) without telling my parents (who were 2000 miles away, so what could they do anyway?)

ggang said...

I was a goodie, goodie too except when it came to helping my friends. I skipped class once and only once because a friend of mine whose Dad was abusing her needed someone to talk to because she was thinking of moving out of her house, and so I cut chapel. Do you think it was the right thing to do? I did my detention proudly and still remember that as my Rebel with a Cause moment. Sorry to say there probably haven't been as many of those in my life to date as there should be. Maybe I should do something about that. . . .