Graduation season is now over. This time of year, I always notice how different high school is in America compared to the rest of the world. It’s a tough time no matter what country you spend your teen years in, hormones know no borders.
The older I get, the more ridiculous prom and formal dances seem to be. Teenage girls in dresses indistinguishable from the ones hookers and hostesses wear in Japan and Thailand. And yet, we wonder why teenagers feel pressure to lose their virginity on prom night. (If you are a teenager reading this, please don’t lose your virginity on prom night or worse yet, home- or court- warming. Take your time. You have the rest of your life and plenty of time to get HPV. You don’t have to collect all the strains before graduation like class credits. )
I have always hate the American obsession with its high school sport. It’s a devotion and obsession that replaces logic and individual thought, fueling a hatred for a neighboring school whose only crime is that the last two numbers of their zip code are different. The kind of trash talk I heard against my high school’s rival are the things you’d say about someone who raped your dog. I think our rival high school was actually accused of that. It’s a part of the high school experience that can only be justified if it replaced actual war. I am happy to say Noam Chomsky agrees with me.
I wish I knew I would never ever have to see anyone I went to high school with if I didn’t want to so I never ever should have cared what anyone though of me.
One of my most rewarding moments in recent memory was being invited to my high school reunion by one of the “popular” kids and having to decline because I was touring the U.K.
For your enjoyment, I am including my Facebook response to the general high school reunion invite to prove that things can and do get better.
“I can't go to my high school reunion. So let me catch the people I went to high school with up on what I've been doing. My skin has cleared up, I got money in the bank, I'm dating a 27-year-old and I still have no idea why most of you friended me on Facebook in the first place. It's not like we were friends in high school. I graduated a semester early to get away from you all and get on with real life.
I'm very happy and I've never looked back except to see if you gained weight and ya have. I guess what I'm saying is thanks for entertaining me over the years. It doesn't quite make up for all the mean shit you used to do and say about me and my disability but it is only a matter of time before you're disabled too. So there.
High school was a pretty shitty time for me and I will continue to be baffled by anyone who wants to revisit a time and place where the most popular hangout for the most popular kids in school was a parking lot next to a truck stop with showers.
(if you are offended by this, I'm probably talking about you)”
I’m Spring Day (real name, hippie parents)
Moving back to the United States after having lived in Japan and traveling the world for 16 years has been a bit of a head fuck, especially since I now work in the U.K. My blog “The United States of Shock!” is where I give my brilliant and bitter two cents, pence, yen and euro on my experience with culture shock and current events. If you have any questions you would like to have answered in a snit, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org