Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The 30 year old detention



Is there anyone who hears Simple Minds "(Don't You) Forget About Me" that doesn't get a little flutter inside?  It brings back a flood of a time in our lives that we long to revisit even if only for a day.  Even today's generation raves about how lucky those of us who grew up in some part of the 80's had it from movies to music.  (No one ever seems to embrace the fashion though.  I love it.  I know some of it is making a comeback but not the good stuff that requires a can of Aqua Net.  I want big hair...pronto!)

We watched The Breakfast Club last night on the 30th anniversary of the date of detention and being the nerds we are, ended up getting in a big philosophical conversation.  The Mr and I weren't in high school or even near it when this came out so this was kind of our impression of what high school would be like.  I remember I was so scared my first day of high school that I made some fake barf (gravy, ketchup and the dog's Alpo worked best) and hid it in my room.  Before the alarm went off, I made a yak sound and chucked it on the bedspread.  I got out of my first day of high school.  I don't know what I thought I would do when I eventually had to go because I was then a day or two behind everyone else who had those days to get in their groove.  

What an idiot.

I would say if I had to classify myself, it wouldn't be any of the genre's presented in this John Hughes classic. I considered myself a "neutral."  I was friends with pretty much any clique and I was a "collector of strays" according to my mother.  I was the new kid every year from kindergarten until 5th grade so I had an empathy for new kids with that look of fear on their faces.  I was given the opportunity to be part of flags and travel with the cheerleaders and jocks for the whole freshman year and I saw who my flagmates would be and I wasn't having it.  I had to be true to myself and being stuck with those stuck up bitches would not make for a fun freshman year for me.  I only knew 3 cheerleaders who were human beings not concerned with social status and the rest of them perpetuated every stereotype of the "sporto."  My high school experience wasn't one that I prayed was over fast because of bullying like some but I didn't feel like I peaked then and it's been all down hill since.  It was four years of my life and I do have some good memories but I have no need to go to reunions.  The people I would want to see don't go to them either.  It was a blip on my life radar and it resembled nothing in any John Hughes movie.

The Mr and I lamented over how much we could now relate to Richard Vernon's perspective.

VERNON You think about this...when you get old, these kids; when I get old, they're gonna be runnin' the country.

CARL Yeah?

VERNON Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night... That when I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me...

CARL I wouldn't count on it.

It's one of those things when you're that age.  No matter if you get along with your parents or not (it was just mom and I and we were cool), you just feel like you have some kind of insight that your parents can't possibly relate to no matter how hard they try.  To a degree, you're right.  They won't know what it's like to go to school in your day and the pressures of the current generation.  When people tell you crap like "enjoy these years, they fly by so fast" when you just desperately want to be older and have more freedom, the most you can manage is a solid eye roll and "whatever, old fart" under your breath.  You think because they can't relate to your technology or the pressures you face that they have no life lessons to pass on.  You think it's a sign of them getting old and being even more disconnected.  But what many high school kids don't get is what Hall and Oates said so well "believe it or not, there's life after high school."  High school is your whole world and life at that time and it feels like everything that happens then is the best or worst thing you could ever go through.  There's no telling a kid that it gets better or that the things they feel so deeply now will have them one day shaking their heads at the thought they ever thought it was that big of a deal.  It's all lessons you can try to tell them but ultimately they need to learn it for themselves.

There are always lessons in John Hughes movies and even as adults, we still see new things to talk about and common threads that weave together generations.  I feel so lucky to have those movies as the precursor to what I thought high school would be like.  I may not have had a dude as hot as John Bender but we all know the tough acting but lovable "hood."  I may not have had a faction of rich kids in our school but we definitely had people who thought their shit didn't stink.  We all know adorable "dorks" like Brian Johnson and they were harmless and often some of the most compassionate people in school that are now bosses of major conglomerates.  There's always the weird girl in the corner who doesn't know what to do with herself and is kind of a loner.  There will always be a jock that is out to please his parents or friends and question "why the hell am I playing football/wrestling/playing basketball...I don't even like it."  (Sound familiar Mr.)

So while high school might not have been as glamorous looking as it was in John Hughes world, it did give a little insight to what could be waiting for us.  If nothing else, it gave us quotes to make it through our own experience.

"Eat my shorts."

"Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place."

"So it's sorta social, demented and sad, but social."

"Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"

"You're a neo maxi zoom dweebie, what would you be doing if you weren't out making yourself a better citizen?"

What was your high school experience like?  What's your favorite John Hughes movie?

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8 comments:

  1. I am glad we watched that last night. It is amazing how you can see different things in the same old movie as you get older and wiser and your perspective changes in life. We both did get the advantage of seeing it as kids before we were in high school as kind of a preview of what high school was like. Then we got to see it in high school to see how closely our lives resembled the life portrayed in the movie. Now we do see it from the perspective of 30 years beyond the scope of the movie and while we do sympathize more with Mr Vernon than we would have ever wanted to, it's still nice to understand the struggles that are unique to high school and how those things shaped our own lives much in the way the lives of the kids, and their parents and even the Janitor and the Principle were all shaped by their high school existences. Brilliant movie by a brilliant man. Thanks John Hughes!

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    1. I am too. I just hate that we've turned that corner where we can relate to the adults just as much as the kids. Can adult diapers be far behind? LOL When Carl says the kids haven't changed, you have, I think that was applicable then because it was before the internet. Now though, it's ALL changed and not for the better. I feel lucky beyond words we were the last generation to be completely computer free for the majority of their school experience. Social media is the devil when it comes to high school and they don't even realize it.

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  2. If I had to choose just one favorite I guess it would have to be Breakfast Club, or maybe Pretty in Pink, but mostly I just lump John Hughes movies into one category and call that in my top 10. My high school was nothing like the movie (duh) but I think the movie just distilled the cliques and interactions for us. I knew people "like" each of them but didn't really run with any of them. I was more neutral too, I had friends in most of the major cliques and I spent a lot of time alone too because the one thing those friends had in common was that they weren't in any of my classes.

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    1. I know, it's like John Hughes = one movie.

      Hurray for neutrals! :)

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  3. I have good memories of high school, and my weight was the only thing that kept me from attending various reunions over the years. This year--it's been 45 years since graduation--YIKES!

    I am not of the John Hughes (80's) generation, I had already been married 10 years by the time the 80's hit, and had two little boys. But I really appreciate his movies and reliving that era--it was FUN!

    I was a good girl in high school, so my parents had nothing to complain about. I was a joiner at a fairly small school (67 in my graduating class in 1969), so got involved in just about everything, except sports since I am not gifted in that area. I was, however, student manager on the volleyball team (the only girl's sport that existed back then), and attended every single game. I was also in plays, music activities (both singing and band--even though my talents in those areas are also limited--there's something to be said for less competition in a small school), and journalism (editor of the school paper). My friends were the popular girls: cheerleaders, athletes, and even though I was not one of them, they were nice girls. The only thing that made me feel as if I didn't belong, was the fact that they all had boyfriends, and I, being only slightly overweight at the time, did NOT. I'm looking forward to that 50th high school reunion, cause I plan on being at a normal weight (still) at that time! This time I'm going!!

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    1. I'm not surprised you were a good girl in high school! ;-) You were quite the joiner! I remember my mom tried to force me to join the tennis team because I had a crush on Boris Becker back in the day. She signed me up for the team and they were like "your first game is in two days!" I didn't even own a racquet! I don't know where her head was there but I quit and never even met the coach. She also really pushed for the flags thing and when it didn't work out (my choice because my friend didn't get in and I wasn't going to be around those other girls), she told me I was going to do SOMETHING in high school. I told her not to try to relive her youth through me and instead I spent my teen years going to pro-wrestling matches, concerts and meeting tons of rock bands. WAY better than joining clubs I had no interest in! LOL

      Have fun at the next reunion!

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  4. My high school experience was pretty awful. There were some good times in there, but way too much pain and turmoil. I lived two weeks with my mom, two weeks with my father, never unpacked my suitcase. I got along with most groups without issue, but I was also the butt of some painful jokes at Homecoming time my sophomore year. I personally was glad to be done with it, although I do love going back there and visiting the area and seeing the school. It's gorgeous and has been in quite a few movies. Even the dude from Ghost Adventures went there and graduated a few years after me. =o) I don't stay in contact with anyone from back then (thus why I don't go on Facebook) but I don't hold any resentment anymore. We all did the best we could back then and no one really knew what was going on behind closed doors. It was a rich community so lots of spoiled kids and I was bussed in from the "not rich" area. Lots of high achievers, too. I was content to skate by with B's. A part of me does wish that I would have finished college. But to go back to those angst-filled days? Nope. And I agree--the fashion rocked! Matching harem pants in bright colors to your pumps? You know it! Plastic beads and bangles to match the headbands--a must. Hair teased a good six inches off the scalp--a no brainer. I went through a faze where I shaved one side of my head short, left the other part of my hair long, dyed part of it purple and wore turquoise high-top Converse sneakers. My mother still talks about those days...ha!

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  5. By the way, speaking of the 80's, I'm sitting here watching the Goldbergs on ABC. Do you ever watch that? The mom is ALL about the 80's! Tonight is a repeat, but the mom buys her younger son(who obsesses over the Goonies) parachute pants for his first dance. The clothes will bring you back.....and she's got the whole barrel curl/feathered look going. Thought it was timely to your post. =o)

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