Maybe some people go to their high school reunion with no motive other than to share a good time with old friends. Not me. I RSVP’d to show my former classmates I wasn’t the loser they remembered. Just to be on the safe side, I brought an entourage – my sister Joyce, husband John, and two friends. Sure, it practically screamed insecure, but at least I wouldn’t wind up sitting at a table by myself. I wore my favorite outfit – an ill-advised Evan Picon vested skirt suit that failed to stand the test of time.
I wanted people to think I transcended high school but in truth I was obsessed with it – so much so that at age 29 I posed as a high school student and returned to Wilcox as a student for a brief spell – but that’s another story.
Suffice to say, it’s no coincidence that well over half of my scripts and teleplays concern high school kids. It became my specialty. It was easy to channel adolescent minds, because my own mind was mired in adolescence. While I might be excessive, I’m not unique.
In Ralph Keyes’ excellent book Is There Life After High School, he distills his experience, research and interviews to three major points.
- These memories focus on comparison of status and
- High school is the source of indelible memories
- Status comparisons continue long after graduation, in a society shaped fundamentally by high school
On the outside, I’d travelled far since high school but on the inside the neurotic outsider I used to be ran the show. I drank too much, talked too much, got too giddy and too grandiose. The harder I tried to be one of the cool kids, the more I proved I was not.