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.
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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