If the Money Fairy suddenly appeared and offered a million dollars for me to relive just one year of my high school experience, not only would I tell her, "H-to the-ell NO!" but I'd also slap her clean across the face. Then I'd knock her wings off. And stomp all over them.
Yeah, so that's a dramatic scenario, but a true one nevertheless. Don't get me wrong. I have many fond memories of my three years as a Warner Robins High Demon. (Yes, three--back then the Freshman class held court over at the junior high schools.) Two of my fellow Class of 1993-ers were in my wedding almost nine years ago, along with a faculty member who was never my teacher but more like a big sister. Several WRHS pals are over there on my blogroll. A state and national School of Excellence many times over, those hallowed halls were where my mother spent most of her teaching career before retiring in 2001.
But would I do any of it over? For a million dollars? Ain't no way.
Two weekends ago I watched a little independent, documentary film called American Teen. I saw a preview for it on a flight back in August and queued it up in on Netflix.
About 20 minutes into the movie I realized my entire body was clenched. Wringing my hands, fiddling with my hair, tapping my fingers on the remote...all while curled into the fetal position. During this film hundreds of memories from 1990-1993 invaded my brain. I was a nervous wreck.
Can you say angst?
In some form or fashion I identified with each of the five teenagers whose senior year stories are highlighted in American Teen. I was never a jock, geek, princess, rebel, or heartthrob. In fact, I was never anything that could be labeled, boxed, and sold at the Senior Superlatives store. My friends were nerds...drama buffs...artists...geniuses...athletes...marching band members...cheerleaders. I also had stoners, get-arounders (ahem!), partiers, and comedians as friends. So while I cannot pin a definite label on me-as-a-high-schooler, I recognized myself in the American Teen gang because I had a bit of geek, princess, and rebel in me. OK, so I wasn't a jock or a heartthrob...but I dated 'em...and stuff. Sigh...
For an hour and a half I sat in bed, watching the movie, vicariously reliving my senior year. The good (befriending Kelly, an anchor of realism in a storm of facades), the bad (Ric, to this day I regret that one puke-filled night...you know of which I speak. Thanks again for taking care of me!), and the ugly (two words: Sprite and Peppermint Schnapps).
And suddenly I'm singing, "If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now." Indeed.
I loved American Teen, in spite of the angst. It made me nervous and jittery and brought up memories I thought I'd firmly hidden in the recesses of my mind. But it also made me grateful...'cause I know I'd never go through any of that again. Amen.
Who were you in high school? Did you wear a particular label? Would you go back and do your senior year for a million dollars? I want to hear all about it.
*I'll give a prize to the first person who identifies the title of this post. Without Googling it! Be honest! Kelly, I wrote it on your bed at Ga Tech, remember? Good times. Precious memories. Oh, and no...I don't know what the prize is. Perhaps an autographed picture of Vanilla Ice? A copy of one of the Sweet Valley High books, maybe?