Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rebel Without a Clue

I was a year ahead in public school, but Cousin 2 and I attended Sunday School and Hebrew School together. Lucky for me, there were a couple of real monsters in Hebrew School, so my antics were under the radar most of the time. Hebrew School culminated in a Confirmation ceremony. Our putz of a Rabbi at the time thought it would be groovy and hip to perform Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream (or whatever it's called) instead of a traditional confirmation ceremony. We all had feeble, reedy voices and no one wanted to do it. No one. But this psycho-rabbi could not be dissuaded. It was beyond idiotic. Oh, sure, he was fired the next year. I've managed a smile here, just because it's finally over.

My teenage years were a torment for me, and I made sure to spread it around. Don't be fooled by these pictures; they might have been the only smiles I produced during that 6-year period.

I'm not sure why I was so miserable. I had almost no self esteem, and yet that didn't stop me from acting like an arrogant little brat, at least to my family. I guess we are willing to expose our very worst to the people we believe will always forgive us.

School was torture. It was the very beginning of "mainstreaming," putting the really stupid, remedial kids in classes with the rest of us, and dumbing down the curriculum for them. I did brilliantly at subjects that interested me, and had no cares at all about getting Ds in classes that didn't interest me. At least once a year, I was hauled into the guidance counselor's office for the "We Know You're Not Stupid, We Have Your Test Scores" speech. I was bored out of my gourd, and had a "zero tolerance" policy for boredom.

I skipped school a lot, but often went to the public library. Or attended Vietnam war protests. Dad recalls dropping me off at the high school's north door, and driving around the block to bust me sneaking out of the south door. I broke all the rules and attended half-days both Junior and Senior years, and I still couldn't manage to get to class more than twice a week. If I could attend twice a week and get Bs, there was no incentive to go every day just to get As. There was actually some question as to whether or not I would graduate; I think I was short the number of credits required. But the administration finally decided that handing me a diploma was much better than dealing with me for another year. (Or more!)

But it left such a bad taste, I really had no interest in going to college. I took a few classes at a local university extension, but my heart wasn't in it. I'm sorry I didn't go away to college, but the money might have been wasted; I'm not sure I was ready to put for the effort required.

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