Killing Ground: Junior High

After getting up and making coffee for Abby and myself, I sat here at my computer and waited for inspiration. What was I wanting to look up? Hmm. Oh, I remember: what does philharmonic mean? Is it a guy named Phil with a harmonica? Not really; when I was 12, I actually wanted to be in a philharmonic orchestra. (Sidebar: when I told this to my dad, he said with a laugh, “You’ll starve!”)

As I looked it up, I guided my iTunes to some Leonard Bernstein pieces to which I listened when I was growing up, mostly from my dad’s collection of albums. (Side sidebar: I avoided the Ray Conniff Singers and the Percy Faith Orchestra [Side side sidebar: except for the one called “Bewitched” with the insanely hot barefoot woman on the cover, which I hid under my bed.])

Image of me making pictures when I was 15, at the landfill where we hiked, which we called "Section A"
Image of me making pictures when I was 15, at the landfill where we hiked, which we called "Section A"

As I played these often tender and intimate orchestral pieces that were my musical mainstay in the mid 1970s, I thought of how innocent and vulnerable I was as that teenager, and I wondered how I could have possibly survived the social killing ground that is junior high school. Particularly wounding for a sensitive teen like me was romance, and how unfair it seemed that one cute girl after another was with one idiotic douchebag after another. How could she like him and not me? I imagine it was a pretty universal sentiment for kids like me.

As my life went on and I became the growing adult I am today, I discovered that my feelings of those days were most certainly misgiven, since all the guys in junior high are douchebags, and all the cute girls are, essentially, bitches (I know the one for whom I pined was a dreadful bitch, and remains one to this day.) It is, I have discovered after many years of ponderance, the way of youth.

I didn’t talk to my parents much about these feelings.

If it’s any consolation, most of the douchebag guys who humiliated and threatened me back then have had pretty miserable lives as adults. Divorce and obesity, mostly. It seems that they peaked when they were about 14, and I am still peaking now, more than 30 years later. I don’t wish them pain, but I am amused observing their karma.