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Saturday, September 20, 2008

High School Reflections

Maybe part of the reason I am not enamored with Facebook is that I don't have terribly fond memories of High School. Not only was I not popular, but I was probably terribly UNpopular. See, we lived in a wealthy suburb of Memphis. Really wealthy. Kids drive Porsches to school wealthy. And my parents divorced while we lived there. My Dad's good-paying job in the computer industry suddenly didn't pay nearly well enough to cover two different homes (his and ours) with two different sets of bills. Oh, and he was an alcoholic, so that ate up money. And a smoker. My mother had had jobs before we were born, but not as a "professional" in an occupation, and she had been a stay at home mom for 12 years, so she did not have any sort of money making fall-back. Anyway, she went to nursing school, we nearly went broke and almost lost our house, and I was a poor kid in a rich school. Add in my social ineptness, and you could just paint a target on my back.

My saving grace came from two fronts. First, I became involved in the theatre, and everyone there is a bit odd, and most are not at all popular either, so I fit right in. That the theatre teacher was a tyrant who could speak to us in and with any words he wanted and could force us into indentured servitude with our grade held as hostage went totally unnoticed by the administration since our theatre program was one of the top 3 in the country, and our budget (thanks to the requirement of selling thousands of dollar of ads EACH) was tens of thousands per show. The quality of those productions is probably why local theatre leaves me underwhelmed. Our program was amazing, but if you wanted to reap the benefits, you also had to be subject to the abuse.
My second saving grace was that I was smart.
Being smart comes in handy when the popular kids tend to be, well, less than smart. But for my friends that think I am smart, let me say, my school was FULL of crazy-smart people. I mean, I (and I say this not to brag but to explain) qualified for Mensa based on my IQ and my ACT scores. And I graduated 69th in my class with a 3.9 (out of 4.0) GPA. (We had 609 graduating seniors.) I went to school with a guy who spoke 7 languages and got a PERFECT score on the SAT. In fact, more than one person in my class did. Our school did not "weight" grades, so we all competed on the 4.0 scale, which explains the 68 people above me with a 3.9 something. Our Valedictorian and Salutatorian BOTH had a perfect 4.0. I forget what broke the tie. These people were all crazy smart, and most of them equally as quirky and unpopular as I, so at least there were lots of people in my same situation. And because we all were in the same classes, we were all "friends" on one level or another.
So what brings all this up? Facebook. My class valedictorian is one of my "friends" and it's funny that the very thing that bound us together in high school, our intelligence, matter SO LITTLE now. I mean, it may matter to her in her life in corporate America, but my kids have never asked to see my credentials, and I have long since lost the ability to WOW them with my stunning intellect. I discovered at my husband's class reunion a few months ago that who your friends were in high school and who you would be friends with NOW are frequently drastically different. I don't understand someone who brags that they are going to a booze-a-thon, and they don't understand me not going bored out of my mind at home with my kids all day. And there seems to be no way to find the people with whom I WOULD actually have anything in common. We were amazed at his 20th reunion to find some people who chose to never have kids, some whose kids have already graduated from high school, some in the middle like us, and one just expecting her FIRST child. Really everything you've done since high school defines who you are now, and who you have anything in common with, but given the person people may remember me being, I am hesitant to reach out beyond those I really knew well, even though those fringe friends may well be the people I would have the most in common with now.
Anyway, Facebook is fun, and it is fun to reconnect, to see pictures of people now, and to see whose life surprises you and who is doing exactly what you thought they might be. And my reunion is next year, so it's nice to reconnect before that. But like I said before, I know who my friends are...and none of them even knew me in high school!
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Leisa said...

I am so with you there, I am boycotting facebook, I got a blog and too many friends.....

see I should be folding laundry but I am reading my "friends" dissertation on facebook.

Besides your blog is like facebook for me, I see what my old highschool friends look like (ie Craig) and get updated here and there..

cindy said...

I agree with you---I know who my friends are but it still kind of fun to see what everyone else is up to!