Hopefully we've been away long enough that the clock's wound down and someone's spilled coffee on the map or used it for a dartboard. I've given the thieves some fodder and the stalkers probably knew the rest already, anyway. Now maybe you're still wondering about that high school. Maybe you forgot and now that I've reminded you, you'd really like to know what put me on the defensive before the story even started. Not that this has been much of a story so far.
Once I mention Oakwood High School and slip back onto the luser radar made possible by our great friend and enemy Google, it'll be time to drop the gloves. Back when I made my first attempt at a personal site (with embarrassing megabytes of copyright violations and unoriginal crap), I had a brief meaningless page about the great town of Dayton, Ohio. I think I had devoted at most four sentences to those longest two years of my life at OHS. One of them went something like "the work was too easy and the people were too hard." The other three may have held something a little less innocuous, but that's the one I remember. That's the one that triggered the loss of my internet flame virginity, before I had developed my asbestos skin.
Maybe you went to the type of high school where 'school spirit' meant football, homecoming, getting wrecked, and fucking the prom queen (or king). chances are, you did. That's what it meant at OHS and in nearly every movie I've seen or book I've read that involved public high school. It's the kind of 'spirit' that grows up into 'patriotism' and conquers rational thought with raw, visceral adrenaline. Maybe I'm broken somehow for not sharing this love of school or country, but I hope I'm not the only one that sees danger in defending something to your death or the death of others just because of the geographical coincidence of where you happened to be born.
I've had theories about the identity of the cowardly individual that popped my flame cherry. At one point I settled on one person to carry the burden, simply because he represented to me the kind of idiocy and narrow-mindedness I thought it would take. It wasn't worth my time to engage in endless speculation. Even if he had signed his name (or he was really a she), I'm sure I still wouldn't have replied. How do you argue with someone about a book if he's never read it, especially when it's been right there on the bookshelf the whole time?
I would call those two years a low point in my life, but i still wouldn't trade them for anything. I know if I hadn't gotten out by transferring, I would have gotten out some other way. Maybe I would have just dropped out like my dad and brother, but I doubt that would have led to Cornell. Maybe I would have ridden it out and gone to whatever mediocre institution my lazy academic performance could have afforded. Maybe I would have gone straight for the Darwin Award and dug a six-foot hole for myself. This section isn't called depression because it was a minor dip in the road, unless you would consider the Marinas Trench to be 'just a depression.'
Why not trade in those two years for nice happy new ones? Why is this getting such a prime-time spot in the identity programming line-up? Some of our most powerful definitions aren't in terms of the things we stand for, but the things we stand against. Oakwood misery put a hard edge on my art and writing that's hard to get any other way. Really, what is art but the means to express the disaffected view of a world the artist can't interact with normally? For the first time in my life I got a taste of what the so-called 'real world' is really like, but even those two years of clouded hell weren't without the occasional ray of dawn sunshine. If I had never suffered through Oakwood, I never would have met her.
What identity smörgåsbord is complete without a course or two served family style?