Wednesday, January 19, 2011

High School in the Eighties.

I went to a progressive high school.  It had tiered classes, to adapt to student readiness(that was eventually quashed as some kind of Ayn Randiness).  It also had art, drama, philosophy and religion classes to complement the gym and shop classes.  I don’t know why they chose our school; we were a violent gang ridden school.

I was lucky to pass some time there as a youth.  I didn’t manage to graduate from that school, that came seven schools later.

But that isn’t this story.

In my first bout of high school, I drew up a carefully prepared presentation in my religion class using Chicken Shit Conformists, by the Dead Kennedys, as the soundtrack.  We devised an entire primitive religion and acted it out.  The entire scripture was based on the characters dim memories of the last burning light bulb.  It was a world of people trying to make sense of a world they didn’t understand. They prayed to fixtures and outlets.  And they were afraid to venture into the outside world—it was too big and too bright, and so they cowered in the bowels of an abandoned high school and built myths based on shadows and emptiness.  And so generations passed.

The power went out during our "performance" and the PA sounded an ominous deep voice asking "Are you there?  I need you to listen".  We worked it in to great dramatic effect.  Our primitive practitioner dropped everything he was doing and stared skyward at the voice.  The pronouncement ended and our heroic primitive was no more informed.  He eventually braved the outside world and then returned to try and tell his people that they were lost in an empty space, and that they could have freedom in an Eden.  They killed him.

My teacher let us finish up and then shuffled us off to the office and we were failed.  Too bad, we worked hard on it.  We had based it on the Old Testament and Platonic Philosophy (and some old punk know how). Oh well, youth!

This anecdote sums up my feelings about the relevance of high school.  You don’t even need a diploma to get into university.  If I would have known that back then, sheesh.


  1. I never heard about that. Which teacher was that?

  2. don't remember her name. older fusspot -- picture an evil angela lansbury. i think the only other class she taught was typing if you want a snapshot of the range of her imagination she already hated me due to my underdeveloped ambitions at becoming a speedy typer.

    BW might remember, he has a better track record for retaining brain cells than i do.

  3. that project sounds awesome. hah :)

  4. I really don't remember her name- I remember being kicked out of class for contradicting her saying Alexander the Great died at the age of 23. Also- she was one of the gifted teachers- and started off our first class by saying "None of you better think you are special."

  5. hate mail! yay, the true test of a public identity!