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I went to Geneva Community High School in Illinois. It sucked ass. That's the executive summary. 1: Dave The "Shrimp" So, most people now don't realize that I was just a tiny little kid in high school. My final growth spurt didn't even happen until I was in college. I looked 12 when I was actually a Junior in high school, driving a car. I was 4 foot 11 inches and 98 pounds. For real. Not great for picking up the ladies. But also not great, was the fact that I went to a school full of sadistic, fucking bastards. So being small, as it turns out, was quite a detriment, as it made me into the school punching bag. Scumbag after scumbag would show how "tough" they were by picking on someone who was *literally* half their size. Way to go guys. It's no surprise I turned out anti-social. It wasn't until college that I realized that not everyone was an asshole, after all. 2: A Gib Thosty With Sprinkles To Go We had this English teacher - I think his name was something like Gabe Thostenson - but we all called him Gib Thosty. I think it sounded like some frosty treat you could get at Dairy Queen. A large Gib Thosty with cherries and whipped cream.. Anyways, he seemed to us to be a kind of philosopher king, and we all looked up to him like Robin Williams from the Dead Poets Society, but over time his philosophy seemed more and more self-serving. I started to wonder if he really believed in all that he claimed, or if it was just a show. I had a final falling out with him when he was angry at me for something and he announced to everyone: "David, you are exactly what others perceive of you" At the time we were reading the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand which he was espousing with fervor, all to the joy of our young, anti-establishment ideals. And his comment, of being defined by others, was exactly the kind of viewpoint you would expect from the evil nemesis of the book, Ellsworth Toohey. So I was in the practice of making shirts back then (by hand, folks, this was before cafepress), and the next day was St. Patty's day. I made a shirt that night with a (not-surprisingly contrary) Saint Patrick's design on the front "Kiss me, I'm not Irish (and my favorite color is blue)" and a special message for Gib on the back. The next day we had to do word definitions. We had to pick a word from our reading assignment and then get up in front of the class. I knew what word I was looking for, and spent hours scouring the book until I finally found it. When I got up I walked slowly up to the front of my room. On the back of my shirt the class (and eventually Gib) got to read: "You are exactly what others perceive of you." -Ellsworth M. Toohey There was a gasp from the class when my I got to the front and everyone could see the shirt. When I got up to the podium I read my word and it's definition. "Hypocrite: a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he does not hold" I walked back to my seat in the utter silence of open mounths. I can be a real brat when provoked. Gib and I didn't get along after that. And over time his sheen started to fade for other students who were also beginning to catch on that perhaps Gib was simply playing the part of a wise leader. He never really forgave me for that incident, near as I can tell. At one point he threw me out of his class because somebody else was talking in class. That's an odd thing to be punished for, but you never know what The Gib will do when angry. I wasn't sure where he wanted me to go - I asked him if I was supposed to go to the principal but he told me he didn't care, I just had to get out. It's perplexing to consider this some sort of punishment, but since I didn't commit the crime I didn't ponder it for long, I just had a good free hour wandering the halls. 3: London Buscatching My family did the Europe thing when I was 14? or so. My wonderful parents were kind enough to trust my brother and I to run loose. We spent about a week in London, and my parents spent the whole week stopping at each of the tourist attractions. My brother and I spent the first two days visiting all the same tourist attractions, at warp speed. I distinctly remember sitting on the Underground and plotting the most efficient course for the day. Our stop came up and we ran upstairs and around the corner of a building. There was Big Ben. Having seen it, we ran back down to the station and barely caught the next train to whatever tourist spot we saw next. After those manic two days were up, my brother and I spent the rest of the week spending our parents money hanging out at cafes and riding the buses. I guarantee we saw more of London and had more fun than our parents. :) 4: Bob Cheeseman For President I have this friend, Bryan Leake, who was a fellow geek in High School. We had no friends except our army of geeks which ate together every lunch hour. Amongst this small group, Bryan was known as "Bob Cheeseman." Don't ask me why he had taken this name. Bryan did many unexplicable things. Anyways, this was a moniker that was, by the simple nature of our group's "popularity," completely unknown to the rest of the school. During our Senior year, we were getting tired of all the poorly drawn posters going up for the class elections.. "Vote for defensive tackle Mark The Shark for Junior class vice-treasurer!" All of them are well on their way to successful political careers, I'm sure. Anyways, we had a computer and a printer and endless geek energy on our hands, so we broke into the high school late at night and plastered the walls with variations on: "Vote for write-in candidate: Bob Cheeseman for School President" When we were done, about 1/4th of all the posters in the school (counting all classes and all positions) were for Bob Cheeseman for President. The administration has no sense of humor. The posters were all ripped down and a stern warning was given on the PA system the next morning threatening to find the evildoers who had made a mockery of their elective process. While I suppose I risk post-graduate detention now that I've posted this, we never got caught. Somehow the administration got wind that 'Bob Cheeseman' was a joke nickname for Bryan and that Bryan and I may have been involved, and I recall being angrily questioned by an otherwise hip science teacher, which was a surprise. Their furor over the incident was pretty amazing, considering the lack of fury they had, for example, over me and my friends being regularly attacked at the school. Go Geneva Community High! 5: 1988? - Mom Torture Mr. Cooper was our chemistry teacher, and he was a good guy. I liked him in particular because he let me do what I wanted. The class helped him haul some old Chem books out of a storage room to the dumpster one day, and I asked if I could save one from destruction. He chuckled, "Sure, Dave." I'm guessing he thought I had some desire to further my Chemistry studies. It turns out I didn't. See, in high school, I pretty much never did my homework. This qualified me for what the guidance counseler would have labelled as an "underachiever" or, if he was feeling generous, he might have labelled me as "bored." So it was a strange feeling that day to have that hefty book in my otherwise fairly empty backpack. I took it home, opened it up and left it on the kitchen table. I then sat next to it and proceeded to cook my brain on the television while I waited for my mom to come home. I heard her pull up and I turned off the TV and stared intently at the Chem book. My mom walked in the door and said hi. I stared intently at the Chem book. My mom repeated her greeting, somewhat concerned at the fact that I seemed to be studying. I stared intently at the Chem book. My mom, starting to get worried, asked how I was doing. I stared intently at the Chem book. My mom asked what was wrong. I waited for a moment, then, staring intently at the Chem book, screamed out: "I can't take it anymore!" And then I started ripping pages out of the book and flung them about the kitchen. My guidance counseler probably would have labelled this activity as "evil." It took a few minutes to calm my mother (the school teacher) down and explain that the book was actually trash. Damn that was funny. This story, I hope, should also serve the dual purpose of elucidating my lack of desire to have children. 6: 1989? - Dave invents Porn TV I don't remember much of this, but my friend just reminded me that when I was a Senior in High School we came up with the idea of hard core porn TV. I was thinking we could have porn game shows and the like. I called the FCC, but they didn't think it was such a good idea. Just think of how different my life would be....
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