Where Do I Even Begin?
This is ground zero. The origin story, if you prefer
Everyone remembers their High School experience like some version of Godfather, or, with any luck, Heathers minus the beautiful celebrities. But the truth is rarely ever that intense, or epic, at least to anyone who wasn’t there. In order to give it any sense beyond a source of early education, we all become particularly adept and framing those years in a way that gives that four year span a narrative ark, to take us on the journey from naive Freshman to Jaded Senior. My experience was no different than anyone else’s, in that it was absolutely unremarkable next to that of anyone else, and the most important genesis that has ever been committed to print. When I recall the secret history of this vanity project that only lives on in my memory, I hear it as my Richard II. Or, at least, my Three O’Clock High. While this unreliable narrator is certainly biased – not to mention a double for the main character – I can promise that this is as true as any story that you can make up yourself, and then some.
Like any good story, there are all the usual inconsequential details. There is an ensemble cast, each of which will loudly proclaim their own version of events where they are the protagonist. The settings have the permanence of the Pyramids and the protean nature NYC over the last 100 years. There are a handful of villains – extra credit for those who can lit crit an argument for the narrator as the antagonist – but on the whole it’s a character study, with Herculean Tasks and anecdotal period piece sketches. It is my story, a simple story, a complex story, and most important, set in the ’90’s, and told in three acts.
It goes without saying that little can be said to recommend my time in High School, save for this particular narrative. In the same way that most of life is a baptism by fire, working on these publications galvanized me in a way that I still feel to this day. Some people remember the prom, and other’s have the A/V Club to given their past some color. The Big Game is the climax for some, and others speak recall the time they got the scoop for The School Paper. Cheerleading, School Government, lunch room politics, theater, band. The roles we played all served different functions in each other’s version of this story. Curiously enough I was none of these things, an outsider in a number of ways who wore many hats, and yet felt comfortable in none. Not smart enough to be a nerd, and too smart to be a jock, both a rule-follower and breaker, at home both studying and blowing off my work. I was constantly between places, never fitting into either and wanting to play a role in both. In order to make a place for for myself, I had to write my way in. For me, these publications are the Rosetta stone, a meta-text map that revealed me entirely and set a path I’m still following.
And, as with everything, we begin in medias res, sometime in the previous millennium.