I forgot something funny from after the graduation all-nighter. When my friend Cole and I were driving home really tired and such. I kept stopping at stop signs and waiting for them to change all the while thinking this stop sign is taking a really long time. We were sitting there for at least a minute when my friend asked what I was doing. That startled me into action and I was fine until the next sign. After doing that twice and laughing about how stupid I was I stopped at a red light and then after I checked both ways, I ran it. We laughed about that and got on the freeway and got home, alive somehow. Sure was a good idea to just let us stay up all night and then drive home sleep deprived rather than drunk.
A few days after graduation my girlfriend and I were driving home one day and when we came to the stop sign off the freeway exit a song came on the radio and my girlfriend stopped and turned it up. She looked over at me and told me this song explained exactly how she felt about me. It was 'Near You Always' by Jewel she watched my face during the whole three minutes and a bit of the song to see if I felt it like she felt it. It is a sweet song and it was really a good description of how young love feels but it was just awkward at the moment. There were people waiting behind us and I was uncomfortably aware of them waiting for us to go and I was trying to make my eyes and face let my girlfriend that I did really like her very much but I wanted to do that and keep the car rolling. I must have looked impatient because she huffed a little and then turned right and drove down main street obviously frustrated with me. In retrospect I should have been more interested in her sincere expression of love for me and drank it in, inconvenienced motorists be damned. There are so few time in our lives when life is good and everything is right and I didn't appreciate it until it was gone. Too bad, I guess there's never next time. As a side note to this story Jewel actually shares my birthday and my birth hospital. She was born exactly four years before I was in the Payson Utah hospital. Cool beans right?
The idea of the all night senior party was to keep us contained and not drinking booze and then driving or doing ill advised sex to each other. The idea was to mix and reminisce for one last time sign some yearbooks and tell everyone we would always love them and never forget them. My problem was that for the second time in my life I was genuinely in love with a girl and it was driving me crazy with jealousy. Every time she would go and hug another guy and laugh with him it was like cold acid was being poured into my brain and I wanted nothing more than to keep her close to me and out of the company of possible kissing accident inducing guys. I had a miserable night purely ruined by my semi-rational fears that my girlfriend would cheat on me or spark an interest and leave me. I walked around and talked to some people but I was mostly trying to keep my girlfriend in sight. I never used to care so much because I could just go find a more or less interchangeable replacement but this was the first time since my first girlfriend that I wanted this one and no one else. Well, in fairness I wanted her to be all mine but I was still looking to keep my options open. That might not make sense if you are not a libidinous teenage boy with little empathy and life experience. We passed the night without incident or much entertainment and I went home with my friend Cole and my girlfriend went home with her best friend.
I don't know what freedom and fun that high school students think lives just outside the confines of home life, free room and board, little to no responsibility and a place where all of your friends gather for a several hours a day but it is a lie. By May all of the seniors were ready to move on to what we thought would be more freedom, more money and more fun - because we were stupid. Whatever the motivation or compulsion to escape - freedom or exile was almost ours, ready or not. We were out of school a week or two before graduation and that is when it sunk in that I would not be achieving my goal of speaking at graduation. The graduation was held at the local college and it was the basic talking and blah blah and then we got to walk where you get your diploma and then walk over for a picture. I had toyed with the idea of doing something funny and memorable but I chickened out and did nothing. After the ceremony I got pictures with my family and went to say goodbye to all of the underclass friends of mine that were in attendance. We hugged and made the un-keepable promises we feel we must make on parting and I went home to get rested up for the senior all night party. It was supposed to the momentous marking of the greatest accomplishment of my life but it was one of the more anticlimactic afternoons of my life.
I was banned from all school activities based on my sub-stellar. sub-lunar even, attendance and grades. That was going to include the senior 'sob' assembly where they play a montage of pictures of popular kids and friends of the producers while they play songs about how this was the best days of our lives. I was not above debasing myself and begging to, and I quote, 'Please, please, please let me do this one last thing.' All whiny and blubbery though. They cracked and let me if I promised to not make any naughty jokes or make fun of any teachers or administrators. I agreed and they allowed me to participate in the writing and producing of the final assembly of my high school career. I helped write a knock off of Don McLean's 'American Pie' where we cleverly replaced the lyrics about rock and roll with words about the Payson High school experience so that the chorus went, 'Now we're singing bye bye Payson High. . .' and lines about what we had done in high school. It all felt very significant and momentous because, at the time beset as we were with the myopia of youth, everything felt very big and very important and uniquely real. Probably like what was happening at the thousands of high schools across the nation more or less simultaneously. They played memorial tributes and the photo montage and some kids said what they would miss and all the girls cried and all of the boys tried to comfort those girls in the most inconspicuously yet deliberately physical way possible. A good time was had by most and I convinced myself I had done an all time good job, but I doubt anyone but the people who worked on the show and I would even remember anything about it.
On one of our lazy senior-itis afternoons in school leadership class we decided to give productivity a miss and go out into the gorgeous afternoon and play some kissing tag. Kissing tag pits the boys against the girls with the boys on one side and the girls on the other. One person who is 'it' sits in the middle and a boy and girl are chosen randomly. If the person who is 'it' is a girl then the picked boy tried to kiss her before the picked girl can kiss him. Whoever does their job wins and the other person is 'it'. This is a perfect game if you are playing with all cute and fun people because, kissing. It is not fun if the ratio of uglies gets too high and you are trying to decide which kiss would be worse on the fly. This day the ratio was pretty good but about fifteen minutes into the game a girl suffered a womanly leak and didn't notice most of the rest of us did but I, at least, had no idea if it would be less embarrassing for me to tell her in front of everyone or for her to realize it later. The correct answer was both are equally horrifying. A girl tried to get her attention and quietly let her know about her accidental discharge but the girl was too into the game and didn't understand what she was being told discreetly and yelled at the sacrificial Samaritan asking her what she said because she couldn't hear her. The person trying to head off the problem just pointed a finger at her own crotch and nodded her head towards the leak now spreading around her crotch. The girl, still smiling and laughing a little looked down and understood screamed and grabbed her hoodie sweatshirts wrapping around her waist as she ran off crying. We all felt horrible fro her and discontinued the game and wandered over to sit in the shade and talk about anything other than what had just happened. To my knowledge none of us ever told someone else the story and definitely not with the girl's name attached, some things are just too shameful even joke about. It is one of those things I would love to ask her about after all these years and see how she felt at the time but I couldn't for fear that she would still be ashamed and had hoped it was gone and forgotten.
I have mentioned lots of times how very much my girlfriend was into feminism. She was convinced that women had made and done everything of any note in the history of the world and that women were equal, if not superior, to men in every measurable way. One day when I was over at her house she started saying that she wouldn't worry about any guy assaulting her because all she would do is kick him in the nuts. I explained to her that since the very beginning of a boy's self-awareness when guys know they have nuts and that they are extremely tender they are the first thing we defend in any situation not just during the assault of a woman. She told me that if someone ever tried to grab her she would just fight loose using her anger and rage. I told her I didn't think that would be possible against a guy of any size or any strength. She insisted she could get away easily. So I challenged her to try and escape a basic wrestling hold I would put her in and she could try to escape using any weapon in her kicking, punching, biting, arsenal. She agreed a little over-confidently. You have to understand that at this time I was not much bigger than she was, maybe 10 pounds or so, and we were both in pretty good shape, having been rock climbing every day. I closed the distance between us in two steps and grabbed her arms to keep her from punching me I spun her around with her arms crisscrossed across her chest holding both of her wrists under her armpits. She started trying to kick me and so I settled her onto the couch and tangled her legs up in the leg scissor. Her brother who was taking the 'you couldn't get away' stance with me started telling her to trying get away and to fight harder. She was trying her best to kick and to bite but she was hopelessly overpowered and getting really quite angry. I wasn't saying much but her brother was laying it on and she was getting seriously furious. When I finally let her go after about 5 minutes she was exhausted but not so exhausted as to not slap me, call me in a-hole and tell me to leave. I tried to remind her that she had agreed to the challenge but she was hearing none of it. She stormed up to her room kind of rage crying. I followed up after and told her I thought we're just playing around but she didn't see it that way. I apologized and went home while her brother kept making fun of her something I wished he would've stopped. She called me a couple hours later when she'd calmed down and apologized for getting so angry. I never again mentioned this physical challenge reality check and she never asked for a rematch.
Every year for the yearbook the student body was supposed to vote on a whole bunch of different people who would be the most or the most likely too. . . or the best something or whatnot. Generally, this was done by anonymous poll and the winners would then be announced and have their photos taken to be put in the yearbook. In my bid for just a smidgen of high school immortality I decided to go ahead and rig the vote. I gathered a couple hundred of the ballots and took them around to different classrooms, as I was supposed to do, but not like I was supposed to do I instructed everybody to fill in my name in every field. There were several hundred people who did follow the instructions I gave them making me far and away the winner in every single category. The teacher who was the coordinator of the yearbook was not amused as they tallied up the ballots and called me in for a little chit chat. She was under the impression, and quite rightly so, that I may have altered the natural flow of democracy. Yes madam, I am guilty of doing my job and I'm not sorry. She told me that I could choose one picture to be in and the second place person in each field would be in those pictures. Despite my longstanding policy of resisting authority, I agreed to these tyrannical terms and chose to be in the picture with my girlfriend as 'Most Outspoken'. In retrospect I should have picked most likely to succeed. That would've been nice, you know? Success. Outspoken is just code for opinionated and annoying.
The was a girl in my grade who was the fairly pretty ponderous, introverted, poetry-sharing type who asked me several times for me to take her climbing or repelling. In the spring of our senior year there was the definite sense that the window was closing on when we could go. I had lost some interest because I had a girlfriend and the both of them knew about each other. To that end we organized a strictly platonic trip with her little brother along to make sure that it was going to stay that way. There was a gate across the road so we had to hike up about 3 miles carrying the gear and making small talk for about an hour. Her brother had told me how much he knew about rock climbing and rappelling and how he was pretty much an expert in all aspects of the outdoors. When we had hiked up to the top of the cliff we were rappelling off of I could tell right away he may have overstated his qualification because he was having trouble organizing the exact direction in which to put on his harness. We were on top of the cliff that was about 60 feet tall and he was not giving it the proper respect, walking back and forth towards the edge all willy-nilly in a way that gives the guide of any trip with any sort of danger a real sick feeling in the pit other stomach. I had asked him to please stop walking up to the edge until he put on his harness and his rappelling device. He told me he would be fine. To prove his point he walked one more time to the edge and this time actually did grab the rope that was already over the edge and leaned forward and until his chest and torso were literally over the void. Just like in every cheap thriller ever made, he slipped. His legs flew out from underneath him and luckily with the double rope in his hand he was able to stop himself from the plummet with just his legs falling over the edge. I've never been so terrified in my life. I don't think I particularly cared if he died, I really didn't know him at all, I just didn't want them to die on my watch and in my view. I yelled at him and instead of being sufficiently chastened and humbled by his near brush with death he was defiant, saying it was fine because he didn't fall off. We only rappelled one time each and then I took down the rope and I walked back down in a much more surly mood. For the next couple of weeks I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat gripped in night terrors convinced I was seeing this kid slide off the edge to his death. I don't think I've ever taken anyone, but my own children rappelling again. Especially not somebody who knew everything about everything and didn't need their safety equipment attached.
I told you before the first class and only I have ever gotten an 'F' in was AP English. The teacher and I spent a lot of time, when I would go to class, arguing over whether or not different interpretations of the works were valid. Now that I've been through college and met with a lot of other literary criticism I know I was right. No one, even the author sometimes, knows why they wrote some of the stuff and if you want to chase down the final authoritative interpretation of any work you are on a fools errand. There are hundreds of schools of thought and personal interpretations of every great novel, play or poem and with no chance at objectivity all that have justification in the text can be equally viable. She was more of the opinion that whatever she thought was right was actually right and if your essays didn't reflect that they were wrong. The good news was that I had an AP test that would be judged by outsiders without her input. She told me over and over that if I used my style and my ideas I wouldn't do well on the test and that I need to do it her way. I disrespectfully disagreed. When I was reading the test and taking the test I was excited, this wasn't going to be hard at all. My confidence was justified when the couple of weeks later we got the test results back and I had scored better than anyone else in the class. I couldn't wait for the next class. Now, in my opinion, smartassery is an art and when I came in that day with my paper I was intent on painting my masterpiece. I asked quite loudly around what everybody else and scored most of had scored enough to pass but then I told him that I'd scored higher than all of them by not listening to the teacher. I told her that now objectively we could see which method worked better and if she felt like apologizing I would accept her apology then and frankly forgive her. She did not feel like apologizing, I forgave her anyway because that's what the bigger man does. I never went back to her class and I think that made us both happier.
There is no denying that I was generally a pretty selfish and self-serving kind of person or in the parlance of the day a (air quote), douche, (close air quote). Generally, though I was doing it for some sort of reward like a girl, or a grade, a trophy, or to take a shortcut to having a good time. There was one time after school though when I was going past the chemistry teacher's classroom and a kid I knew from Santaquin had just finished taking a makeup test and put it on the teacher's desk. He was a bit of a goofball but basically an okay kid so I don't know why I did what I did next. I went into the classroom took his recently completed test off of the teacher's desk and took it with me. My friend asked me why I took it and I told him something which wasn't the truth because whatever it was did not explain why I was being such a jerk for no reason. On the way home I took the test and tore it up into little pieces and threw them out of the window. Later that afternoon when the acid haze of douchebaggery had passed from my mind I tried to figure out why I had done that, but there was literally no reason. To this very moment I'm not sure why I took that kid's test, I mean I don't even think it was to be funny or anything, it was just a random act of un-kindness. I felt a couple times like I should tell them what happened or at least make up some legitimate sounding excuse as to why I had thrown away his test but I never worked up the courage. Once again, total class act on my part.
Another funny thing about that chemistry teacher was that for his favorites he was not a huge stickler for attendance. If you missed a day because you just didn't want to come to class all you had to do was tell him you were off doing something more fun and he would excuse you. Or because we had him the first class after lunch if we are running late my friend Cole would buy him some coffee and then when we came in 20 or 30 minutes late he'd start to yell at us and Cole would tell him he got him a cup of coffee then hand it over and go sit down and it would be like nothing ever happened. I'm not sure if they teach that in college when teachers are learning to teach but is not a really good method for maintaining a sense of law and order. it would be pretty funny in a sitcom, but as I understand it those classrooms in high school situational comedies are more made up than real.
My chemistry teacher used to joke about all kinds of things that aren't very funny to joke about but one day he took a line that was really scary. This particular day he was exceptionally mad at bird over something or another and threatened to go out to his car, get his gun, come back and shoot him. The two reasons I didn't think this is funny was first; he did have a gun and second; he didn't just say 'I will kill you' he told us the specific practical steps his plan would need to come to fruition. Everybody got really quiet and the teacher told my friend and I that he liked us pretty well so if he did end up shooting Bird in the head and then locked himself in his office and had his gun in his mouth threatening to kill himself that we were supposed to come talk him down. We looked at each other and then back to him and told him he had a deal. This is simply good manners, because if the psychopath who is threatening to shoot a student in the head asks you to talk him down from suicide you say yes. Common, flipping, courtesy, not to mention the oldest rule in the book. He never did end up shooting Bird, and its kind of a shame too, I would've been pretty heroic talking the madman out of whatever he was planning to do next.
If you member back a little ways I told you about a girl in Florida that I dated, and that I led her on a little bit, what I hadn't really made clear, I think, is that I'd never stopped leading. So when she came out for a visit the next spring I was sort of committed to my new girlfriend but she was under the impression the we were still keeping our thing on a low simmer and were going to reignite it soon. The old girlfriend called me and set up a time we could get together to go rock climbing and I still chickened out of letting her know that I had another girl in my life. That would've been the ideal time to tell her, you know, Before they met? Anyway, I set up to meet her one afternoon that spring of my senior year in a parking lot in a town a few miles north so we could go climbing in the canyon that was close to there. The thing is somehow it worked out that my girlfriend found out about it and she invited herself along. When I pulled up in my truck to meet my Florida girlfriend I had my current girlfriend in the cab and there was no way that was going to end well but I pushed forward anyway. What added to the awkwardness of the situation is that they both thought they were my girlfriend and I hadn't really cleared that up. Also, somewhat ironically they were both dressed almost identically wearing khaki shorts, a white tank-top and boots with socks. When I first pulled up beside old girlfriend she looked pretty happy to be seeing me after a year. That happy look kind of melted away into confusion when she noticed there was a girl in the truck with me. I got out and said 'hi' and introduce my girlfriend not as my girlfriend but by her first name and did so conversely with my other old girlfriend. They were both looking each other sizing things up and realizing what the situation exactly was. They were pretty polite at first but then they started in with some passive aggressive jibes and both of them being quite high toned didn't help to de-escalate the situation. In fairness to them, this whole thing was entirely my fault. We drove up to the canyon across town, got geared up scaled a couple climbs and the whole time the tension is mounting and each girl is trying to stake her claim by making sure that she was as close as possible to me and touching me whenever she could to establish dominance. The problem being is that they were both way too intense to be cowed and things just got more and more uncomfortable. After about an hour climbing I feared violence was about to break out and I suggested we called it a day. When I asked what the Florida girlfriend was doing that night and before she could respond my girlfriend who was most adamantly against PDA reminded me that we already had plans and kissed me square on the mouth. That was the coup de grace in the Florida girlfriend, who I still thought was really cool decided she'd seen enough and said she was busy anyway and left. I never talked to her again. I just hope all of the other men she met in her life weren't such selfish jerks. I thought with all the public kissing my girlfriend was going to be more into me and reward me with some making out. But somewhere in her love addled mind she also felt that being brought along on a date with an old unbroken-up with girlfriend was not the coolest way to spend an afternoon either and she was cool to cold for a day or ten.
Alright, now back to the girlfriend already in progress. By the spring of our senior year we've been dating for a couple of months we were pretty much understood to be exclusive. That is to say I understood that we were exclusive, she may have been fuzzy on that fact. A kid that I had to kick off the friend team in junior high because he was dishonest and a bit of a turd had come back from Idaho for a visit and was staying in a house right next to my girlfriend sisters house. I had known that they were hanging out a little bit but one day when I came over to her house to chill I overheard her on the phone talking with her girlfriend about how she didn't mean to but they had just kissed. She talked to her girlfriend about how bad she felt and how she did not know how to tell me. After I heard her, I made some noise like I was coming in for the first time and played it cool like I didn't know was going on. I was hurt a little but not so much as I found an opportunity for some real top-level manipulation. I came in over-nice and over-cheerful telling her how much I missed her and how much she meant to me. That said put her into some deep guilt and I decided to keep my foot on the gas pedal of shame. I asked what she been up to, she said not much so I asked if she'd been hanging out with my old friend. When she told me that she had, I acted excited and asked how he was doing. She was getting more and more sad and was looking wracked with guilt. I started asking her what was wrong because she looked sad, she said she didn't want to tell me, I sat down by her gave her a big hug and told her if anything was wrong I was there for her. Then I pushed her over the edge by telling her the only thing I cared about was that she was happy. She broke down crying and said she was sorry, I asked what she was sorry for. She said she didn't want to tell me, so I said that was fine and laid back on the bed. She was still sitting up and she turned and told me it had to do of my ex-friend. This is when I really turned it on, I asked if he was okay, pretending that I was hoping he wasn't sick or something. She said that he was okay but that they had done something. I was still playing it cool, pretending I didn't know already and asked her what she had done. She finally worked up the courage and got out that they had been wrestling around and when they went to the floor he'd kissed her and she kissed him back but that then she felt immediately guilty and came right home. I whipped up the saddest face I could have and said a line that I had heard from a movie somewhere, "I guess I just love you more than you love me." Bam! She tried to give me a hug and stood up and told her I needed to go think about this she asked me couple times not to leave but I felt my leverage was increased by my absence. I went and got in my car and drove up the canyon and sometime during that drive it actually sunk in that my girlfriend had kissed my douche-bag ex-friend and my fake indignation and manipulative ways give way to actual rage and puppy dog hurt.
Somehow in all the excitement to tell you about everything that was happening I forgot an entire love interest. The whole girl and her friends actually. One of the perks of being a senior was that they had a new batch of young and untainted women coming up who viewed us as older wiser and possessing of cars, driver's licenses and money. Most of the girls our age had already been picked over pretty well and everybody knew who had dated whom and all the various details of their love lives and other such gossip. With this new batch of girls there was a group of friends who had quite a few cuties so my friend Cole and I preformed a little joint maneuver to get two of them separated from the pack. I was under the impression that these young ladies would have a lot less self-esteem and therefore be much more susceptible to suggestion. I asked the one of them I had singled out to a dance, the cheapest of the year. It was called 'Recession' reflect its inexpensive nature and the idea was to do everything on the cheap. For our date we went up the canyon and climbed to the top of very tall pine trees and tried to swing them far enough back and forth to jump from tree to tree. I never worked up the courage but my friend James pulled it off several times. I think mostly we just watched him. We went dating, dinnering, dancing, good-timing and at the end of the night I thought a little kissing would be a forgone conclusion. That was because I was older and cute and had shown her good time and she would do what I wanted I thought. I made my move and she politely declined and said that she liked me as a friend but she was not very interested in me romantically. What new devilry was this? She was acting like a full-blown regular person with their own tastes and interests, who knew? Cole was having a little more luck with the girl he was perusing and I think they turned the corner into kissing, borderline going out, when things came to an abrupt stop in one of the funniest breakup stories I've ever heard. I don't want to mess it up, so if you're reading this and you feel like it Cole, you might want to tell your version in the comments.
That chemistry teacher was never really a stickler for that newfangled political correctness and whatnot. He was always telling us massively inappropriate stories about blood, gore and dismemberment which you might find very appealing if you are a fan of the 'Saw' movies or the Holocaust. He would start out telling us that he had a funny story about something in the tone halfway between fond reminiscence and giggly recounting, he would then tell us about a time a lady's head got blown off or some other charming tale. She'd been using a pressure cooker and didn't know that she needed to release the pressure before he took the lid off and when the lid came off, in his words, it took the top of her head clean off and blew her brains all over the room. That is sure enough funny stuff. He told lots of other stories of warring paramedics, or maybe it was war, paramedic service. Either way if you had the sense of humor of Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer you would be rolling your seat. There was a man scheduled for execution that January that I was in his class and he offered an open wager to the class that some bleeding heart liberal would get him an appeal or a pardon before they shot him and that was eating a hole in his soul. He offered coffee and donuts as stakes if someone would take the 'he gets shot' side of the wager. I decided to take him up on that and the deal was struck. Just his normal teacher-student stuff. That night the man was indeed shot with three executioners bullets through the heart; Hooray for me! The next day, true to his word he did have a donut for me when I got the class and he said it was a small price to pay for that scumbag to be shot. His only lament was that he didn't get to see it personally. Yeah… That's what we were all thinking.
The dance we were going to was The Sadie Hawkins Day dance where the girls asked boys and therefore far fewer people went. After the cute, quiet girl asked me she brought by my shirt which was the Sadie Hawkins Day dance tradition so that we could all be matching matchers. It was actually a really nice green corduroy shirt, much nicer than any I had so I kept and used it for a long time after the dance, like for ten years or so. The kids we were going with, mostly athletes and their girlfriends, jet setters as we called then. They were almost all football players except for two kids it been on the wrestling team with me. We weren't exactly friends on the wrestling team but we knew each other. Even though I didn't know any of the kids we hit it off really well and by the end of our date and dinner were all laughing about inside jokes. The funniest thing was after dinner we all went to the bathroom before we left to go to the dance and three of us were in the bathroom together and we overheard an old man doing mighty battle with his bowels, swearing out and cursing God. This struck us as exceptionally funny and we repeated things we heard him say for the rest the time I knew those guys. Thank-you random stranger with gastric-intestinal struggles, you sir were comedy gold. After the basically uneventful dance the kid who was driving us in his family's van noticed a little rattle, a thump and some vibration. True to my hamartia of always knowing something about everything, whether I do or don't, I suggested maybe the van was simply out of alignment and that sometimes driving faster was the key to smoothing that out. For the record, driving faster is virtually never the solution to a car problem. Fortunately for us he only tried my solution for a couple of seconds until he decided to stop the van and see what might be the problem. The problem was four of the five lug nuts on the front passenger tire had broken completely off and we were down to a single lug nut holding tire on, and precariously at that. Even I didn't have a solution for that so we had to stop on the side of the road and wait for rescue. A lot of people claim the wheels fell off of their date this is the only time, to my knowledge, it literally happened. We finally rounded up enough rides and we all got home and as I had promised to I called my girlfriend to tell her about what we've done and play up the comedy of the night and down play any close dancing and cuddling then may or may not have gone on. After I'd gone away to college I did actually go on one or two more dates with that Sadie Hawkins girl but nothing ever really came of it.
Even though I had a really steady girlfriend I was still prone to little flirtation especially with the cute underclass girls that were in my chemistry class. There was one there that was really cute and had a boyfriend who was also in class. I used to make a point of insinuating myself between them, turning my back to him and asking her how she was doing. She was a cute and shy type of girl who blushed when I flirted with her which was nice. She was much more Martha Stewart and less girl power than my girlfriend. Which is the kind of woman I have a little trouble getting interested in usually because a lot of times they're really eager to please and I prefer a little abuse from my females. Anyway after a couple of weeks of flirting and sitting by her and whatnot I had heard that she broken up with her boyfriend, who was actually a pretty cool kid, so I bet I felt a little bad for him, but more excited about my prospects. There was a girls choice dance coming up and I playfully begged her to ask me even though I had a girlfriend and I knew my girlfriend wasn't going to take me. So it was a half joke, have hope sort of situation. And lo and behold she did ask me out and I asked my girlfriend if she thought I was okay and my girlfriend laughed and said, 'Sure, whatever, I am not taking you'. So I did whenever, which is generally not a good idea if a girl suggests to do whatever.
For the record, I didn't learn any chemistry in chemistry class. The teacher was not very focused, not very knowledgeable, and not very interested in us. What he was prone to was long meandering stories almost always with an inappropriate-for-the-age-group payoff, and spasms of rage which I have discussed previously. In fact we were so busy not learning diddly that we ran out of time and didn't even get started on squat. All this not learning left plenty of time in class for goofing off, messing around, messing off and, God willing, even goofing around. We would talk, joke, flirt with underclass girls, you know? The basic required stuff in the core curriculum for chemistry I would assume. Most of it wasn't very productive but one day one of my brothers friends who sat in front of me had a book called the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I was drawn to it because it had the words "DON'T PANIC" in large, friendly letters on the cover. If any of you are fans of the book will recognize that I stole that last line from the book, if you're not a fan of the book, I made up that last line all by myself and it's pretty funny. Anyway, he was a pretty mellow kid named Jeremy and asked if I could borrow the book because he said he had finished reading it. I got one page into it and I was hooked. The book I had my hand was actually five separate books that had been bound together into one big omnibus edition and from the time I started reading in the alleged chemistry class straight through until about four o'clock in the morning I was consuming some top-notch sci-fi parody comedy as fast as I could. I finished all five books in about two days and then had that missing-a-step in the dark feeling I get when there is no more story and I am still unsatisfied. I have recommended it to anybody who asks me ever since. In all honesty though, the first two or three books a pretty good but the last two are not quite as clever and wearing a little thin. Yet and still, one of my all-time favorite books, so chemistry class was not a complete waste of time. Well, I thought so at the time until I went to college and had to take chemistry 101 and realized that I had not learned one shiny sliver of a damn thing at all about chemistry or following advice from the cover of books, and I panicked.