You never really escape the prison that was high school, even if you move away and age some twenty plus years. Ever since the media learned that nostalgia is a cash cow as big as Paul Bunyan's Babe each succeeeding generation gets bombarded with products designed to make you long for Planet Of The Apes action figures, Transformers, Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight", parachute pants, flannel, poodle skirts, and more always more even if I am still waiting on the big Micronauts revival.
So some of the above list is more accurately junior high or perhaps even elementary school, but I still would have liked a Dr. Zaius doll (action figure) in high school. If the media wasn't enough we are all, absent of some tremendous blow on the head, carrying around our memories of those days. You never know what will set off these little ticking timebombs of remembrance. It might be a phone call from somebody you weren't really friends with in high school. Note: those phone calls are almost always about money. Perhaps you'll hear a song on the radio so indelibly linked to those days that it circumvents any other interpretation. The Gap Band's "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" is like that for me always evoking sophomore year at Riverdale since it was used as the homecoming theme.
You can try and wipe out years and still they come poltergeisting back. The one year I wouldn't mind pulling an eternal sunshine mind move on would have to be the year of hell I spent at Oakland High School. Maybe it was your standard freshman year experience and things would have gotten better if I hadn't moved and switched to Riverdale, but I doubt it. I had just moved back to Murfreesboro after spending a year in Smyrna and most of my old Murfreesboro friends were attending Riverdale. So I was one lonely dude.
Just a few of the bad memories I'd like to forget: having my favorite baseball cap stolen and thrown on top of the school's roof by a thug who outweighed me by a couple hundred pounds, being spit on by a classmate, enduring Mrs. Overton's study hall right after her algebra class, slicing my right index finger open with a band saw blade, and being forced to sell candy bars. It was such a bleak year I didn't tell my parents when it came time to order a yearbook.
There were only a couple of things that weren't cruddy about that year. One was that I had a steady girlfriend. Of course, she attended Riverdale. She happened to be the first girl I had ever worked up the courage to call on the telephone a few years earlier when we were in 7th grade. I didn't give up on her until she was mine and then I treated her like crap until we broke up. I guess my karma balanced out since I didn't have another girlfriend until after high school ended. The other decent thing about my freshman year was just a ticking memory timebomb until just the other day.
I live next door in Smithville to a metal head named Mello who happens to be from Princeton, Indiana. This is rather strange and mysterious to me due to the fact that one of my customers in the automotive manufacturing world is located in Princeton. It's also amazing to me that he plays guitar and likes many of the same bands I did while growing up. Sure, Van Halen, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Kiss were massively popular, but it's not often that I run into people around my age that worshipped at this mighty altar of rock and roll like I did and still do. My neighbor doesn't really appreciate punk rock like I do, but nobody's perfect.
I was over talking to him the other day and he mentioned that he was in a cover band with the rather dubious name of Atomic Trunk Monkeys. They play shows around Murfreesboro and I believe they will open for a revamped Dokken soon. I wondered if the players in the band were around our age. Mello said they were so I asked who was in the band. It was a long shot, but there was the slim chance that I might know them. It turned out I knew one of them. You guessed it. I was led back to that horrible freshman year at Oakland.
Lunch time was the absolute worst. I had nobody to sit with or talk to for the half hour. I'd wander the halls eating my peanut butter sandwich and then buy some candy to sneak during my afternoon classes. Then one day I ran into a kid I vaguely remembered, either from Central Middle and/or Mitchell-Neilson Elementary named Neal. Maybe I was wearing my Molly Hatchet shirt or maybe he was wearing a Kiss one, but for whatever reason we started talking to each other. Lunch break was now the highlight of the day. We'd talk about the bands we hated and the bands we'd like. I'd given up on Kiss by this time and Neal couldn't let that happen so he made me a tape of Music From The Elder when it came out. I had that cassette for years.
Funny how I had forgotten that good memory until Mello had told me the name of the singer/rythym guitarist in the Atomic Trunk Monkeys was Neal. I haven't seen or spoken to Neal, but he did confirm the story to Mello. So maybe I'll catch one of their shows sometime and see what kind of recollections Neal has about our freshman year. Long may the bad memories be repressed and more good ones found.