I was fourteen when I realised the purpose of High School.
It is not for academic education.
High School is to teach you what hairstyles are in, what
programs you are to watch on television, the latest slang,
and most importantly, what is and isn’t ‘cool’.
Schools are not run by Ministries or Boards or Principals,
they are run by self-important students who control every-
thing but the curriculum.
Every school has class queens, grade empresses, and the
Goddess. The opinions of these people are important. Not
whether you scored 90% on the history exam, or that your
science project won third place, but that these people
talk to you.
It doesn’t matter what they say, because serfs who attend
High School are not allowed within hearing distance. What
matters is that a low level deputy Queen is seen talking
to you. Immediately, you’re not the nerd who always does
the extra credit project, you are ‘cool’.
Being ‘cool’ in High School is the most important accolade
you will receive in life. You could live to be ninety seven,
you could hold high office, you might be a millionaire, but
if you weren’t cool in High School, you are nobody.
If you are cool in High School, the rest of your life is
coasting. You can walk into an office, ten, twenty, even
thirty years later, and when the person behind the desk
looks up, remembers you were cool in High School,
whatever it is you walked in for, the answer is yes.
It took me a few years to realise social interactions weren’t
part of the high school adventure, they were the adventure.
Classes were given to prevent unsupervised movement of
teenagers, limit bullying, and allow a seat to even the most
When I perceived this, I realised there was no reason to
continue attending High School if I couldn’t figure out
how to become cool.
Then the unthinkable happened.
I was sitting in Nerd Corner when a grade Empress,
escorted by a class Queen, approached.
Every school cafeteria has a nerd corner. It might be called
Stink Central, or Aromatic Alcove, but it’s the place where
the smell of every meal ever cooked resides.
Nerds, who tend to be oblivious to societal niceties, don’t
appreciate why they’ve been herded to this section. Until
they try to breathe.
Heaven, (the table farthest from the point where food is
tortured) is at the opposite end to nerd corner. It might
even have a window.
I was reading my extra credit biography and looked up
when the most significant words ever said were uttered;
“Janelle wants to see you.“
Janelle was the Goddess. This girl sent others into bathrooms
to cry hysterically when she sniffed at their new hair style.
This girl need merely stare with contempt to destroy your
reputation. And she wanted to see me!
Although I made a meal of it, the reason she’d sent for me
was to do her homework. As a human being, I didn’t exist,
but as a homework serf I was worthy of breathing her air
for five minutes.
No one at the school had any idea Janelle ‘knew’
me or why she had called me. I would never tell.
Before the day was out everyone was flocking as if I was
the fount of coolness asking for my advice on a slurry
My life of cool, however, would end on Morbid Monday.
That was the last Monday before Christmas Break.
That was the Monday After the Saturday of Janelle’s
Gala. The Ball this Cinderella was not invited to.