Tag Archives: high school

Former Hot, Hunky Jock Becomes An Actor. Surprise!

He was a jock.

He was hot.

And he knew it.

And all through high school he’d hang with his posse. They’d sit on the floor of a well traveled hallway and rate the girls with flashcards. When a 9 or 10 would walk by, the lucky girl would giggle and blush. When a 6 would walk by (me), she’d hang her head in shame and wish she could disappear. I have no idea how the ones or twos got to class. Luckily, the teachers got wind of what was going on and ended the game.

He and his friends made fun of the choir geeks. No slushies in the face (it would have been Slurpees) but they wouldn’t be caught dead at one of our concerts. And the plays? Even when we needed hunky, athletic types for Grease they were too cool to try out.

I remember him making a disparaging comment about one of my friends. One of my gay friends.

“I’m in that play, too,” I said.

“No you’re not,” he shook his head. “You’re a swimmer.” (Our school often won State Championships in swimming so it was a cool sport back then.)

“Yes, and I’m in the play and the choir and the select ensemble,” I waited for his response.

There was none. He brushed it off. In his cool, dismissive way.

“Sorry about the other day,” he said, barely audible, and he walked away.

I suppose he was referencing the day I was rated a six.

We never really spoke again. He was an upper classman. Friends with my upper class friends on the swim team. I ran into him a few times before he graduated at hockey games or football parties (he played) but we barely said hello. And that was OK with me. After his comment about my friend, I no longer thought he was hot.

He had been popping up on my sidebar in facebook. For over a year.  Fifteen friends in common. I’ve ignored it. But I wondered if he even remembered me. I sent a friend request. Just to see what would happen.  And now I’m part of his other 1,886 posse members.

Guess what? He’s in Hollywood. And he’s a hot, hunky actor. Making a fairly good living at it. I’d heard this but didn’t believe it. I’d seen him, thought I’d recognized him in a few television shows, but dismissed it. I thought he went to Cornell University. Majoring in business or some other predictable pursuit. It couldn’t be him. He made fun of us acting geeks, the songbirds singing with the queers.

Guess what? He did attend Cornell. Majored in business. Then, I guess he figured out acting would be a more lucrative career for him than business.

And there he is. On the small screen. Making a living as an acting geek. A hot, hunky acting geek. With fans. An L.A. home. A rock ‘n roll lifestyle.

Well. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less.

7 Comments

Filed under Growing Up, Observations

My! How Time Flies!

I remember, sitting in a large auditorium, listening to the Assistant Headmaster welcome all of the parents of the incoming kindergarteners to the school.

“Welcome parents of the class of 2011!”

And we all chuckled.

My, how time flies!

Congratulations, my sweet, adorable angel. I’m so proud of you!

21 Comments

Filed under Growing Up, Motherhood

Elevatin’ To Another Level – Not Higher, Just Different

I always wanted to be the party girl.

No. Scratch that.

I always wanted to be included.

But I wasn’t.

In high school, the guy I had a major crush on, and who I thought had a major crush on me, went to see Rush perform at the local university without me. I was disappointed and I asked him about it. He said, “I didn’t think you were the type.”

What type is that? Sure, I didn’t smoke pot. Yes, I was the one nursing a beer all night long, pouring sips down the sink when no one was looking so it would look like I was finishing my drink at an appropriate pace. I suppose he and his friends didn’t want me tagging along, judging their smoking and drinking and having a good time. But I didn’t judge. Not really. It just wasn’t for me. I still enjoyed their company. I still wanted to be included. And while we did a lot of things together, I still didn’t feel like I belonged.

That group I so desperately wanted to feel a part of was brilliant. I mean it. All were in Advanced Placement classes. One (my crush) went to MIT on full scholarship (but then got kicked out for dealing drugs.) One went to Berklee and his girlfriend went to Juilliard (she dropped out to become a psychologist.)  Another was in med school when he died of a brain aneurysm. His dad was a surgeon who demanded an explanation and rumor has it, a full autopsy revealed that it was from prior drug use. How they determined this, I don’t know – it is rumor, after all. Maybe it was to scare us straight. Maybe the family wanted to cling to something because Tony had been clean for years.

They were bright. They were funny. They were wild.

And I wasn’t.

Enter college, and I was married by the time I was 21. Still finishing college. But now I was an old married lady. Fellow students wanted to go out and celebrate after a big test but I had a husband to get home to. Pull an all-nighter with a co-ed study group? Too awkward with my husband at home who had work in the morning. With all the detours in my life – changing majors, schools, getting married – it took a little longer for me to finish college. My peers were only a little younger than me but they looked up to me, like some wise sage. Oh, the difference a few years makes when you’re young.

They were bright. They were fun. They were free.

And I wasn’t.

I had my first child when I was 29. Two more when I turned 40. That ten-year span puts me at odds again. The parents of my daughter’s friends are exploring new hobbies, going on more vacations, spending more time out with friends, experiencing freedom again. But we still have two small boys at home. Having a blast with them (with less energy than their friend’s parents) we’re a little more tied to the home front, still acutely aware of how much raising children costs, getting to bed early even on the weekends. The parents of our boys’ friends are the ages of my former high school students. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – but there is something to be said for those 10 years of life experiences.

They’re still interesting. They share in parenting joys and frustrations. But every once in a while, a comment will reveal that they’re still green.

And I’m not.

The paths I have chosen have always kept me out of the loop. I’ve never quite felt as if I belonged anywhere, really. And those choices have kept me from being included in things. Parties. Concerts. Study sessions. Play groups.

The odd one out.

Most of the time, I’m OK with that. Most of the time.

But some days, it’s lonely.

I’d like to think that, all my life, I’ve just been on a different plane, a different level.

Not higher, just different.

And some days, it sure would be nice to be dancing with everyone else – at the same concert, at the same party, on the same level.

28 Comments

Filed under Music, Ponderings

Overcome

I know there are going to be a lot of posts like this today. Forgive me for adding to the surplus. But I’ve never written this down before and I think of this event and how it applies to my teaching career often, especially today.

In my parent’s generation everyone knows where they were when JFK was assasinated. My generation knows exactly what they were doing when 9/11 happened.

I was driving to class. The radio set to my favorite alternative rock station. They cut into the song they were playing and began discussing what was happening in New York. They didn’t always have the best taste with their jokes and that’s exactly what I thought this was. A joke. A really BAD joke. I actually stopped to think: wait, is this April Fool’s Day? No. It’s September. This is in such poor taste. I’m writing the station. And then the female disc jockey started to cry. I knew it was real and I was stunned.

I raced to my classroom and plugged in my laptop. Yes. It was true. My students started filing into class. The news had already spread. We were a “laptop” school. Every student had their own. They were racing in to plug in their laptops. Every one worked together. One student starting organizing which news sites each student would scan, looking for the most up to date information. I didn’t stop it. I let it unfold. They worked together trying to understand what was going on.

 Then it started to sink in. One student’s dad was a pilot. Another’s uncle was a congressman. Another had an aunt that worked at the Pentagon. Many had family that worked or lived in NYC. It hit me. My sister traveled for a living.  Students began asking permission to use their cell phones to call home. I snuck a call to my sister. Her plane had been grounded. She was stuck in Milwaukee. But she was safe.

The administration stepped in and asked that everyone shut down their computers. The information coming in was too disturbing. It was a very organized chaos but  parents began picking up their kids from school early. Our school was PreK – 12. My daughter was just two buildings away and all I wanted to do was hold her. But I had to stay with my students that were left.

Later that night, after we put our daughter to bed my husband and I stood on our deck outside, talking. Or not talking. We were still in shock. But the thing I remember most about that night was how eerie and quiet and still our city was. We couldn’t hear the usual planes or trains. It was still relatively early and no cars were going down our usually busy street.

I’m glad I missed much of the video coverage that later was edited. Falling bodies. Thuds on top of cars and pavement. I watched it later, years later in a documentary. I was able to handle it better then.

To handle this great tragedy my students came up with a brilliant idea. We had just had a discussion how certain songs trigger memories. They decided to create a cd to memorialize 9/11. Each student chose a song that reminded them of 9/11. Songs like: In a New York Minute, I Believe, Everybody Hurts, I Will Remember You, Only in America, Imagine. They worked after school creating cd covers, burning the cds for each student to take home. It was an amazing, healing project. I still have those cds. And I play them every year at about this time. To remember the fallen. To remember those who survived. To remember my sensitive, thoughtful, students. To remember the amazing heroes that were born that day.

So many people criticize our teenagers as self absorbed. Selfish. But in my kids I saw vulnerable, sensitive, caring young people. And in 2001 they channeled that energy and created something truly worth cherishing. I dedicate this post to them.

A song that has stood out for me is posted below. I never imagined I would witness such tragedy in my lifetime. I had always felt so safe in my country. I was so thankful that I didn’t live anywhere else. But on 9/11, I was overcome with so much fear, sadness. Simply overcome.

9 Comments

Filed under How We Roll, Music, Soapbox, Teaching

“Beautiful” People

It’s hard for me to separate outward beauty from someone’s personality. I remember in high school, someone was commenting on how gorgeous Gina was. I wrinkled my face and vehemently disagreed. “No. Really. She could be a model,” the someone replied. And I said, “No. Really. She’s ugly.” And then the someone said, “Oh, I know she’s a bitch but she sure is pretty.” I was taken aback. She was right. Gina WAS a bitch. But there was no denying it. She WAS gorgeous. Everyone copied her clothes, her makeup. A lot of the girls in my class wanted to be liked by her. Her looks had a power over many people. But not me.

It’s that way for me and celebrities. I think that’s why I’d prefer not to know anything about their personal lives. They’re attractive. Until they open their mouths. And I’ve realized that many of them work very hard to keep people like me in the dark. Some celebrities have no problem standing on their soapbox, telling me how to vote, how I should drive a Prius and take 3 minute showers. Others are the masters of spin.

I used to think Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie were attractive. But I didn’t know too much about them. Just that they were actors and I enjoyed their work. And then stories in  the tabloids started suggesting that Hollywood’s golden marriage was in trouble and that Angelina was the home wrecker.

The timing of certain magazine covers began to interest me. One magazine would have Brad comforting a tearful Jennifer, another headlined Angelina visiting an orphanage in Africa. The next week a magazine would show an angry Jennifer with headlines suggesting strife between the golden couple, another magazine pictured Angelina cradling the new baby she’s adopted. On and on it would go. Trouble in paradise with Brad and Jenn. Angelina, the next Mother Theresa. This happened throughout the year, throughout their personal turmoil. And always, Angelina was depicted (in the major, “respectable” magazines) as the disinterested party to Brad and Jenn’s struggles, just the do-good angel, trying to save the world one child at a time.

Gag me.

It was then that Angelina and Brad began to lose their appeal to me. The world isn’t stupid. We can read between the magazine covers. Brad and Angelina worked on a movie together. A spark turned into a flame and they acted on it, despite the fact that Brad was married. It’s not unheard of – especially in Hollywood. It’s not admirable. But we all have regrets and mistakes in our lives. We’re all imperfect human beings.

But to try and spin to the world that you’re an innocent party? That you had nothing to do with weakening a marriage vow? Angelina’s publicist was working overtime. Don’t look that way – look this way at all of the good she’s doing around the world. Saving the children. It’s all about the children.

Please.

That’s not to say Brad Pitt is innocent in all of this. But his spin doctors weren’t parading him across magazine covers, preaching his world causes.

So now, I can see how Angelina Jolie is attractive to some. And Brad Pitt, too. But I don’t find them all that attractive anymore. And it reminds me that I don’t really know the part Jennifer played in all their drama either. So, she’s just ok to me now, too.

Three actors. Playing parts in movies, I may enjoy; I may not enjoy. But that’s it. They’re just actors.

8 Comments

Filed under People

Facebook is the New High School for Adults

Don’t look so surprised. I know you’ve thought it, too. Sure, you can try to fool yourself. I joined to keep in touch with friends and family. I like being able to share pictures of how much our kids have grown. I lost touch with Nancy in college and we’ve reconnected! Isn’t that wonderful?

Yes. It’s great. If that’s what it’s used for. But there’s a whole new element that no one talks about. We expect the younger set to be catty. After all, they’re young. That’s what they do. And also not surprising is the fact that females between the ages of 18-24 make up the largest groups of users on Facebook. (http://www.istrategylabs.com/2009-facebook-demographics-and-statistics-report-276-growth-in-35-54-year-old-users/) But the group with the largest growth, up 276.4% from last year, is females ages 35-54.

And we haven’t changed. We’re still the same catty bunch from our high school years. Don’t tell me you didn’t look at Karen’s profile, notice that she was still single at age 45 and think, ‘Yep. I always knew she was gay.’ Or how Susie has really put on the weight – you’ve aged much better than she has! Or how “Cutest Couple” divorced within 5 yrs – you predicted that, too. And if you keep these thoughts to yourself, it’s fine. It’s normal.

What isn’t normal, at least from the perspective that we mature and get wiser in our old age, is continuing the catty trend publicly. In our neighborhood “friends” of mine post pictures of their Poker Party Bash (wasn’t invited), John’s 40th Surprise Party (wasn’t invited), Renee’s Birthday Dinner (wasn’t invited), Debbie’s Birthday Night on the Town Celebration (wasn’t invited). I serve on committees, play Bunco, play tennis and go to bookclub with these people. Our children play together at the pool. I thought we were “friends.”

A friend of mine who was invited to the Debbie Birthday Bash refused to be in the pictures they were taking. They asked, why? She said, “Because you’re going to post these on Facebook and someone who wasn’t invited is going to feel hurt. I don’t want to be a part of that.” A discussion stirred up feelings on inadequacy, insecurity, etc. They explained that they wanted people to know they lived a full social life. They wanted the guy that ignored them in high school or the clique of popular girls that always excluded them, people they were “friends” with now on Facebook, to know that they had beautiful friends, fancy cars, gorgeous homes and went fabulous places.

The following night the pictures went up. They all looked fabulous. They all looked like they were having the best time. And about an hour later, Debbie posted the pictures of the Renee’s Birthday Dinner – an event that occurred two months ago, an event  my friend wasn’t invited to. I guess Debbie got the last word.

3 Comments

Filed under Growing Up