05 April 2010

things i wish i'd known...

I teach high school, and I see the replication of mistakes I made as a young buck, and I truly wish I could have had someone tell me things I needed to know, those things nobody wants to tell you, but if you knew, would have changed your entire existence. As I though about this list, it was apparent it would be extensive, so I'll just write about a couple of these things...

1. Peer pressure is some bullshit, but a necessary evil. Choose your
concessions wisely- they can literally define how people perceive you.

I was pretty square in high school, and I thought most of the people around me were stupid. This is a sure fire short circuit for a great majority of group-think activities that you get into, because the driving mechanism behind peer pressure is the desire to model someone's behavior. That meant that most of the time I had no desire to get involved with whatever stupid shit was being suggested. Most people don't have that sort of discipline, so it's necessary to make prudent choices when you do succumb to peer pressure. For example, the most outlandish shit I did was something called ice blocking- where you buy a block of ice, go to the golf course, and slide down the hills at night, after the course is closed. It wasn't until much later when I found out what kind of damage that could do to a golf course (note: my knowledge isn't what stopped me from "blocking" but instead an unusual amount of laziness, and old age (desire to deal with cops for destruction of public/private property has been at an all time low for 20 years now). A couple of my friends picked up nasty cocaine habits from peer pressure, some still have a pack and a half smoking issue, some still hit the sauce like they were Ike Turner-and nobody saw that as being a decision that would stick with you. My decision is probably at the root of my love for destruction of private property, but I digress. Similarly, I remembered how much peer pressure played a role in how we dressed- and fashion was the bees knees in high school. I always had to make sure I had the newest Gordon Ga Trail shirt (anyone that catches that reference, answer in the comments- I'll find some way to reward you!) or Levi's 501 jeans. Had to make sure you had the right shoes (the new Jordans). My parents were cool with spending a littlemoney to make sure I was at least in the right area code fashion wise(moms actual quote: the kids really weird, at least let him dress not like a dork). She did, however, want me to make a fashion move I wouldn't give in to: the Jheri Curl...

...You were wise to not follow that trend- the Jheri Curl was a
terrible idea, and the fact that there are no pictures of you rocking the drip-drip means you win.

2. Funny is good, but for every mean thing you say about someone, you have to say mean shit about yourself, too.

I spent most of my high school experience being an arrogant douchebag. Sure, I had my advocates, friends that either didn't care or legitimaelty enjoyed the 4 year string of rants and insults I called high school. When you're "that guy" you burn a lot of bridges in high school (hey Michelle, sorry about that thing I said/did to make you hate me) but as a kid, you really don't learn the finer points of insult and ridicule. Over the course of time, I figured that most people are willing to laugh at the misfortune/complications of others. Schadenfreude is a word most people don't know and couldn't spell, but it's at the core of our voyeuristic, disaster pornography society (I ain't gonna lie, I like to watch) lie a bunch of people waiting for the car to crash. But this admission makes people feel like douchebags, so they don't openly ROOT for bad shit to happen, but are fine when it does. Similarly, people love seeing someone get insulted, enamored with sarcasm and ridicule- just not themselves- unless the jokester is self depricating- in which case the sky's the limit. Somewhere in the psyche is a release switch that indicates that if someone is willing to poke fun at themselves, then you should "lighten up" and deal with it- if they're going to make fun of themselves, then they don't take themselves very seriously, so stop taking yourself so seriously. It's also a pretty decent indicator that, if they make fun of themselves, you have no chance of getting away.


  1. Love it. Glad I didn't read the draft when we were on vacation :o)

    Seeing the final product is much better. It's like hearing the punchline before it's polished... funny... but not fall down laughing funny.

  2. p.s. The serious stuff is pretty cool too... and dead on right.

  3. Couldn't you just have your sister make you a Gordon Ga Trail shirt? It worked for Theo.

  4. Your posts are always the best part of my day. I would double down on these for law school too, just add that some people are too worried about protecting themselves from being 'seen' to make wise decisions in either context.

    Hope April treats you well.

  5. I'm really glad someone caugh the Gordon Ga Trail reference.

  6. Damn. Am I too late to have Lisa Bonet make me a Gordan Ga Trail shirt?