In spite of growing up in a backwater, rural, “Leave it to Beaver” type town, I managed to have the closest thing to an inner city high school experience without actually having to live in da ‘hood. It was close enough, believe me.
Allow me to explain.
There was only one public high school (this was before the whole open enrollment business) in Marion. So this was a small town with a very large, very overcrowded high school. The principal’s naivete was astounding, which didn’t help matters. I remember his bellicose and positively fictional speech to the parents and student body at one of the school open house events (1985) in which he proudly declared, “We don’t have a drug problem here at Harding.” Yeah, right. Charlie Sheen is high on life, too.
Today I would rebut the principal’s rhetoric with far more cynical, and likely far more accurate commentary, as in, “Don’t piss off your supplier, because you’re getting the really good shit if you are that stoned.” In fact, since this guy was a likely a draft dodger from the 60’s, he should have known drugs a lot better than any of us young punks. No one had a problem finding or buying drugs, so in that respect, there was no drug problem. You want drugs, they’re everywhere, buy ’em here, buy ’em there, toke and snort away- no problem!
The guy in the locker next to mine sold cocaine, pot and God knows what else out of it. My friends smoked cigarettes and pot in the crapper every chance they got. The surrounding school systems had the Sheriff’s Department come in for regular, unannounced K-9 raids in their high schools, but we never had a single K-9 raid in the four years I was there, announced or unannounced. You can’t fool narcotics dogs. That’s probably why the narcotics dog was never brought in!
I went to school with some downright demented individuals. Everyone did, but there was an amazing range of bizarre and abnormal pathology in my high school. There was the kid with the green teeth, the booger-eater, the kid who killed and ate flies, and the kid who puked at lunch every single day, so the custodian pretty much followed him around with the Vo-Ban all afternoon. I can never forget the smell of Vo-Ban and slightly used chocolate milk no matter how hard I try. That was back in the day when I actually had a sense of smell. It’s tragic that I would have that sort of dreadful olfactory memory. Why do I forget the delightful fragrance of fresh peonies in May, but I sure can remember the stench of used chocolate milk and Vo-Ban? Sometimes I wonder about myself. A lot.
Imagine one of the above “sanitary napkins.” Then picture it used. Then imagine yourself sitting on the crapper in the school bathroom stall. Look up, and what do you see? One very heavily used “sanitary napkin” precariously stuck to the ceiling with a tiny little bit of previously used adhesive, poised to come loose and land directly, nasty side down, in your hair. That was the first and last time I found the courage to step foot in that bathroom.
Imagine sticking your hand into your book bag and retrieving this. Yep. Mayonnaise or someone’s spunk? I did not bother to put it under the microscope to find out. I threw out the book bag and everything else that came into contact with this little “fun bag.”
Admittedly I got pranked a lot. But the disgust and downright visceral sense of nausea and violation I experienced when I stuck my hand in that nasty mess sticks with me to this day.