Monday, June 25, 2012

High School: Things to Avoid

I'll preface this post by saying that I am an idiot, and was more so when I was in high school. However, Budding Academic, I'm here to guide you through your high school journey with some anecdotes I've collected first-hand from my high school days.

1. Don't Make Racist Comments in the Middle of a Speech

I've always felt that being in front of a crowd made me more witty and charming, probably due to the fact that I was hyper aware of everything I was doing. I liked being in front of people. So in speech class, I would generally just give myself a rough draft of what I wanted to say and fill in the gaps as I went along. I am an entertainer by heart and so I felt that this ad-lib style of speaking came off more organically than simply reciting the words in monotone.

The class was tasked with giving a speech about their families so I planned to talk about each of my family members in turn. My dad is a bit of a procrastinator so in my speech outline I quipped that my dad can't be that much of a procrastinator or else he'd lose his job and we'd have to move to the ghetto.

Only I didn't say "ghetto."

I went to an almost exclusively white school, which doesn't excuse my faux pas, but it does explain why I wasn't murdered after class. Part of my off-the-cuff speaking involved coming up with substitutions of the words I'd written in my rough draft, which was generally a good thing. Unfortunately, this method failed me as I instead said "... my dad would lose his job and we'd have to move to the black community."

Yes, my brain decided to substitute "ghetto" for "black community" in the middle of a speech in front of the class and the teacher. I blame all those catchy rap songs. As soon as I said it the whole class looked a bit shocked and the teacher suddenly got a stern look on her face and looked down, writing furiously through the rest of the speech. The class screw-off gave me an ovation.

2. Don't Make Fat Jokes about Your Girlfriend's Friends

I was far from a Casanova in high school so I wasn't quite sure how to talk to girls. My theory at the time was to just talk to them the exact same as I would my guy friends. So when I got one of my first girlfriends things were going fine, but with a theory like that floating around in my head things were bound to go wrong.

In the previous entry I mentioned my need to entertain people - mainly make them laugh. So one day I was hanging out with her at her locker when I noticed a picture of a particularly large classmate hanging in her locker as she was shutting it. Trying to make her laugh, I offhandedly said, "Wow, I'm surprised you got your locker shut with that picture hanging in there." She lowered her eyebrows at me and didn't say anything, let alone laugh. That joke would have killed with my friends, so I was slightly off-put by her silence. Keep in mind that I am/was an idiot.

Later that day I got a very long note explaining that that was one of her really good friends and that I should be nicer and that she couldn't be with someone who so recklessly made fun of others.

3. Don't Fall Asleep at the Wheel in Driver's Ed

I had an early morning driver's education class. That generally wasn't much of an issue, but the class was during summer so I often spent the night with friends. One particular night I stayed up late with a friend playing old NES games and watching Magic Bullet infomercials, so the next day I was pretty tired.

I'd been reprimanded for cutting through parking lots, using cruise control too much, and running over potholes and roadkill, but I hadn't done anything TOO stupid. In fact, I felt pretty confident. But that morning I was just really tired, so when I pulled up to a red light my body took advantage of the opportunity.

I was jolted awake by a few honks from behind me and was suddenly filled with anxiety as I realized I'd fallen asleep at the wheel in driver's ed. I had no idea how long I'd been out, but apparently I also forgot that I was at a red light so I looked over at my nearly-retired instructor to see if he'd noticed my little doze. Luckily, he must have been dreaming of retirement, because he just looked at me and said, in his high-pitched Southern accent, "Now don't look at me, Robert. It's not my fault he honked at you for not realizing it's green."

Phew. I'm just happy I don't kick my feet while I sleep.

So, Future Collegiate, follow these words and hopefully you will avoid a few awkward situations during your days in high school.