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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

Chemical Relief

Wednesday, October 25, 2006




I never could relate to the anxiety highschool students in teen movies feel (yes, I have watched quite a number of them... blame everyone from Molly Ringwald to Jason Biggs) For the most part, it was exhilirating and even during the worst episodes, it was bearable.

Some recurring storylines in such movies:
  • a cafeteria caste syste (best described in Mean Girls)
  • an ugly ducking becoming prom queen (She's All That, Never Been Kissed, and Carrie... technically, Sissy Spacek did become prom queen despite the cow's blood and the fiery demise of a whole auditorium)
  • enlightenment in detention (The Breakfast Club... a personal fave)
  • a philanthropic teacher (Dead Poets' Society, Dangerous Minds... two more movies I really like)
  • and, some form of sexual deviance with pastry.
My highschool didn't have a prom perse, it was an all boys school... correction, it was an all boys Catholic school. In our "prom", students brought dates. It was uneventful and appeared very Pleasantville-sque. We had teachers circling the auditorium like prison wards. There have been several attempts to spike the punch, but alcohol detectors hindered every single one of them. There were no prom queens, but many, I think the statistic now is the debatable 10%, would refute this.

We didn't have detention. Teachers chose either passive aggression, a visit to the assistant principal's office, or an embarassing letter to your parents. We had our fair share of really good teachers but none of them made us yell Walt Whitman's poetry on our armchairs and they didn't reward us with Butterfingers if we answered a Dylan Thomas question correctly.

Our cafeteria is more like a prison mess hall that always smells of sweat and cheddar cheese.

I loved my highschool. Those were four of my best years made memorable by the whole prison ambience and the fraternity between us jail birds. Our classrooms were nowhere near Vassar standards, heck I don't even think they were sterile. But, we never did open heart surgeries in these classrooms... so the air-borne bacteria and the mildew aroma was tolerable, even becoming.

I belonged to a semi-detached class known as the "Science" section... *Nerd Alert*. Contrary to popular belief, there wasn't much difference between our class and the "regular" sections... perhaps three additional subjects, a detailed lesson on how photosynthesis works, the expectation to comprehend advanced Chemistry, and a surprised look from teachers when you do something extremely dim-witted.

I am an admitted geek. Three classmates/friends and I used to play our version of Jeopardy... I know, this places geek on a whole new level, but our anatomy and demeanor didn't make us believable basketball players, which was what all the other students did. We made categories and questions, then alternated being Alex Trebek. One category I enjoyed immensely invented by Marcial was "Chemical Symbols". It was basically giving a clue whose answer is spelled with the chemical symbols of elements. For example:

Question: English Achtung
Clue: Calcium-Uranium-Titanium-Oxygen-Nitrogen
Answer: CaUTiON
(Get it? haha... we were weird eccentric)

This helped with the Periodic Table alot then. I never liked Chemistry before, I found the subject dreary and often times pointless. "You will need this when you graduate!", I remember my Chem professor declaring. Aside from cement mixing, Chemistry has not been at all useful in my profession. Although I did wish I listened in class more whenever I watch CSI.

The tradition of my highschool has died. It is now co-ed. It has been moved to a more antiseptic academic-looking building. Sad. Very sad. Although the old building is still being used, it would have been more appropriate to turn it into a museum with tours ala-Alcatraz.

"This is the cell... err classroom where Mr. so and so spent 4 years of solitary confinement. This is the torture chamber... I mean Chemistry laboratory. And this is the cell where 4 prisoners spelled words with Chemical Symbols."

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