I was a strange little person in high school. I like to blame most of my social ineptitude on the fact that my mother allowed me to go to school wearing tennis shoes. Not cool tennis shoes like Nikes or Converse, but Reeboks. The kind your grandmother wears when she goes to her Jazzercise class.
I also didnâ€™t understand the finesse of plucking eyebrows. So for most of my high school days, I looked like a particularly disgruntled bush baby. That is, until I discovered vodka. It seems discovering vodka goes hand-in-hand with discovering tweezers.
I was an outcast. An awkward, hobbit-like creature that responded erratically to everyday social situations.
For example, most people are perfectly fine with going through drive-thruâ€™s, but they terrified me. I would drive my car up to the speaker, and as soon as the person started talking, I would either A) agree emphatically to whatever menu item they were promoting or B) drive away as quickly as possible.
Luckily, my inability to cook and my firm disbelief in healthy eating has helped me to get over my drive-thru phobia. But needless to say, there was a reason that only theater kids and the non-English speaking Mexican guys wanted to be my friends back in the day.
I had an awful lack of awareness and a masochistic sense of humor that thrived on self-deprecation. The combination of the two was deadly for my social status.
Just to give you an example, my best friend Emilia and I filmed a movie about Emily Dickinsonâ€™s ghost chasing us through the woods, and then we eagerly volunteered to show it to our very unamused class. If that didnâ€™t paint us as the weird kids, then what we decided to do next sure did.
Emilia convinced me to smash up a brown protein bar until it looked literally like a piece of crap and then place it discreetly under the chair of a large black man in the middle of Spanish class. When it was discovered, the room fell deadly silent and the teacher wouldnâ€™t continue her lesson until whoever was vile enough to contrive such a prank threw the s***-like protein bar away.
I walked across the silent room and retrieved my s*** bar in shame. There would be no exciting black guy parties or clubs in my underage future.
By the time I was a sophomore, Emilia and I had become those kids who ate lunch with their teacher. We labored under the impression that the male English teachers we cajoled into letting us eat in their classrooms were actually our friends.
Donâ€™t worry. Iâ€™m still cringing from that one too.
High school was also the time when I based all of my knowledge of other nationalities on the fictional books that I happened to be reading. Thanks to Nabokov, I went around pretending to be Russian solely because I was amazed at a culture progressive enough to welcome incestuous cousins into their midst.
Then I remembered I was from the South, and we basically did that already.
After I stopped telling my classmates and family I was moving to Russia, I began super-imposing different nationalities onto the people around me.
I went through a major Kafka phase and then started telling everyone that my George Costanza-esque friend Daniel was Jewish. He was definitely not Jewish, but I felt that I had led a deprived life because I hadnâ€™t managed to secure a cool Jewish friend. So Daniel became my Jew.
My lack of political correctness alienated me from the theater kids. So Emilia and the Mexican guys were all I had left. And Iâ€™m pretty sure the only reason the Mexicans continued to sit with me was because I called them all â€œPapÃâ€ and I had boobs.
So thatâ€™s been my progression. From strange squirming high-school larvae to deadly-killer-bee/Collegian-columnist. The important thing to remember is that your outcast past doesnâ€™t translate into an outcast future.
Turn that high-school pain into power, and who knows how socially adept you might turn out to be.
But promise to keep it a little awkward, just for me.
Awkward times are ahead my friends. But until we meet againâ€¦Cheers!
Morgan Mayo is a junior creative writing major. Her column usually appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.