Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NES: A Romance

When I was in high school a group of guys formed a kind of club, a kind of preparatory frat called NES. This didn't stand for Nintendo Entertainment System (or I might remember them more fondly) but rather Never Ever Sober. They made t-shirts that said "NES" over the left breast and had cartoon beer mugs on the back and they'd wear them on Fridays (probably; I should fake certainty in the style of a memoir) with their self-made boot-cut jeans (snipped and frayed along the outside seams at the hem)--this last bit I actually found kind of fashiony.

Despite knowing these guys to be basically major d-bags, I had a crush on one of them when I was 15. He was a year older (at the point when that seemed like a lot), his name was Howard and I called him, to be quite honest, Howie. I'm pretty sure the crush was mutual; he was always "grabbing my ass," as the saying went, in the hallways and one time a few years later he kind of kidnapped me from a party and took me to the bar where the NES crew was often served underage.

I don't think it was so much shyness on my part or the girlfriend on his that kept us apart, but the fact that we came from different worlds. He was in NES, I was in NHS. (Actually I wasn't, but that would be a good James Freyian detail to fake.) We both knew it wouldn't have worked because I was evidently so much smarter than him. I mean, he cheated off me in "Keyboarding." The guy on my other side, a hardcore, tattooed, shaved-headed guy whose name just now returns to me, it was Kyle, he cheated off me too, and probably also had a crush on me. In those days it was something of a badge of honor not to freak out when one was being openly harassed. (I learned that skill too well, I think, and tend to remain emotionally placid while intellectually appalled.)

15/16 was a hard age. I was old enough to know what was cool, what I liked, but not old enough to access it. No one at my high school was really "my type." Probably because it's nearly impossible to be my type (extremely secure/self-confident despite not fitting into the mainstream ideal of the American boy/man; my type is a combination of ego and the weird) until you're 20 or so. I mean if you're sort of androgynous and prefer reading poetry or playing chess to team sports, it's hard to be very egotistical in high school, at least without it seeming like a grand front. And in fact it probably is. For lack of smart, confident, unconventionally attractive men at Franklin High, my sexual energy got directed at people like Howard instead.

Even in college, I really wasn't interested in anyone in my class. I spent most of my freshman year crushing on a senior who, again, wasn't available. But that's really a story/post in itself, I think, so I'm going to take a tip from Dan Boehl and serialize this mini-memoir/romance. Stay tuned.

13 comments:

  1. Typing, essentially, but I guess because we were using computers instead of typewriters??

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  2. So, did you have to draw out the keyboard, and he couldn't even get through qwerty? How does one cheat in Keyboarding?

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  3. For some reason I never had to take keyboarding. I don't think it was required for everyone. But I remember other people taking it.

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  4. Christen: I don't remember. Thanks for breaking the memoir spell. I feel like somehow he cheated.

    Matt: Yeah there was some other class you could take instead, but my dad had this story about one of my grandfather's being saved from death in some war because he knew how to type, somehow. So I learned to type. It's probably one of the more useful classes I took in high school.

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  5. The typing class my my JR High was fierce and notorious. We were harshly penalized for mistakes (according to my mom, the teacher used to carry a stick, but she was forced to give it up by the time I attended) and we were forbidden -- ever -- to look at the keys. Fortunately, the text we were to type was always right before us, and so my little spelling "issue" was never in play. I had no need of cheating.

    Interestingly, the ability to type once saved my grandfather's life. Back channel me for that one ...

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  6. National Honor Society. See why it's a good dichotomy?

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  7. oh, awesome.

    i wish i had learned to type the official way, it's probably better for you or something, like eating lots of fruits + whole grains.

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  8. eh, better for you schmetter for you, I eat lots of fruit and whole grains and my body is still falling apart rapidly.

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  9. I don't know, what exactly do you have to do to be in NHS? Maybe I was in NHS, jesus, I don't remember. If it's just GPA I must have been.

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  10. Oh you know what I think I was thinking of National Merit Scholars. That's an SAT thing right? I was not that. I was probably in NHS. Ugh. I could never write a memoir.

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