Still haunted by high school hijinks
If you’re like me, you never did or said anything hurtful or stupid during your stellar high school career 40 or 50 years ago. That’s why I was so shocked when I read that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney harassed a prep school classmate back in the 1960s by clipping his long blond hair out of his eyes. Horrors!
Of course, Romney’s insensitive behavior is in stark contrast to that of President Barack Obama, who walked on water when he was a high school student in Hawaii. Except for his drug use, that is. In his 1995 autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama admitted that he “tried drugs enthusiastically.”
Here’s an excerpt:
“Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow (cocaine) when you could afford it. Not smack (heroin), though … I had discovered that it didn’t make any difference whether you smoked reefer in a white classmate’s sparkling new van, or in the dorm room of some brother you’d met at the gym.”
Well, it’s reassuring to know that young “Barry” Obama was just another pothead in the local “Choom Gang.”
I think it’s only fair to apply the same high school deportment standards to President Obama that his campaign managers apply to young Mr. Romney. Both of them went to fancy high schools – Romney to the very preppy Cranbrook Academy in suburban Detroit, and Obama to the exclusive Punahou School in Honolulu.
Some of us less-privileged scholars attended public high schools. Mine was good old West Seattle – “Westside High, our alma mater, we stand true to thee” – which still stands as a monument to academic achievement and teenage hijinks.
I hereby wish to confess a couple of youthful indiscretions: There was that nasty column I wrote about our beloved football coach, and there was the time my buddies and I drank dandelion wine at lunch time. The class “brain” brought the wine from home, and it was truly awful. The results were disastrous; I’ll spare you the gory details.
And then there was the time I followed the lovely JoLee Davis home from school. It wasn’t harassment, however, because she didn’t know I was there. And finally, there was the time I tried to suck up to my English teacher by reciting the classic Joyce Kilmer poem, “Trees,” at a school assembly. It didn’t work because I forgot the words. Nice try, no cigar.
So those are some of my shocking high school misdeeds, or embarrassing moments. Of course they don’t compare to what Romney did, and I never tried “blow,” but I did my level best to fit in with the other kids in my class. Didn’t you?
These days, however, almost anything kids do or say is classified as bullying or harassment. There can’t be any winners or losers, and Tag is outlawed because someone might be “It.” Enough, already! Why don’t we put high school hijinks off-limits during the political season and pay more attention to serious issues like the struggling economy?
• Editor’s note: Guy W. Farmer says he was a model student at West Seattle High School, but we don’t believe him.