The Nervous Laughter of Revelation: The Dog Days of Summer School ’94

Let’s talk about my educational pedigree. It’s going to come up eventually, I’m sure wielded as a weapon to imply I’m an imbecile. Socially, maybe, but I’ve read a lot and not just Dragonlance novels. I missed the shit from high school because I was too busy being a rebellious punk. More on why I rebelled against my education later.

I didn’t graduate high school with the rest of my classmates. My history teacher Mr. Talia failed me, but he was cool so I didn’t mind, and I think I failed English? I had to go to summer school for a few weeks that summer, and sadly it was nothing like the Carl Reiner’s 1987 classic and Mark Harmon vehicle “Summer School”. I quote the film to this day and am occasionally gladdened when someone gets it. I mean, fuck me runnin’, read this little gem of an exchange:

Francis Gremp?
Don’t ever call me that, the name’s “Chainsaw”.
As in “Black and Decker”?
As in “Texas Massacre”.

Summer School, 1987

Summer school was pretty forgettable, but knowing my CPTSD I’ll have a flashback to it at some point. That’ll be fun. The teacher was some fella who I believe worked for the White Plains School district and honestly all he did was tell us, “Here’s the x-number of things that are going to be on the multiple choice test at the end, and if you pass it you’re on your way.” So I hunkered down and just memorized which circles to fill in. C…C…C…C…C…C…C…C…

After I fuckin’ rocked summer school, I got to drive over to the high school office and grab my diploma, it was one day mid-summer, who knows, and I was finally a graduate. I got to go to some graduation parties, one of which heard Dipshit D’Agostino* tell me “I knew you could do it!” To this day I have no idea why he said that and what made him think I needed to hear that from him specifically, but that’s neither here nor there.

I auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. That was in ’95 or so? My old man was circling the drain and my mother was a future-blog- post of her own so I struggled concentrating and giving my studies the attention they deserved. I don’t blame either of them for it, understand, but they had their role. There I was, presented a chance to potentially change my life for the better, but I had a chip on my shoulder so big I couldn’t see around it and so despite being a gifted performer I flunked out of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Luckily I paid attention while I was in class so I never forgot my lessons. I can still write in phonetic English and I gave up on pronouncing my R’s correctly a long time ago.

[Ed: First I keep doing these “Ed:” things because they entertain me, I have no idea if I’m using it in correct journalistic fashion but I hope you’ll indulge me. Second, I wish I had given hip-hop more of my attention earlier in life; I dabbled in it but mostly stuck to the loudest, angriest, grungiest, metal. I suspect I wasn’t nearly mature enough to have embraced its message at the time, but it’s a language unto itself and must be heard to be believed. Four hundred years from now it will be their classical music and Mozart will be their antiquity. *bong rip* Third, I don’t actually remember off hand when I attended AADA in relationship to when my dad passed. I believe he was still alive while I attended because when he did finally go I was working a nine-to-five. His death affected much more than I ever suspected, and in unfortunate self-defeating ways. Fourth, I also absolutely nuked my SATs, I don’t think I broke a thousand. Take that, System!]

After AADA it was odd job to odd job for a few years, mostly retail, mostly with lots of lashing out at the world. I’ll save the odd jobs post for another day, including a treatise on what it’s like to work for someone who may or may not have been a ne’er-do-well.

But anyway, went to Community College for a couple years, also a blog post unto itself and what a fuckup I was then, but I gave my classwork my all and you can pull my fuckin transcript to verify, fuckers. That was followed by a few weeks of classes at one of the state schools where I hoped I could find a way to sort of ease my way into their drama department and then 9/11 happened. At that point I said fuck it, I’m moving to LA and so I did. Also a blog post unto itself.

So. I barely graduated high school, kicked ass academically at community college but nuked almost every relationship I made therein, hit up the state school then came to LA. I have no degrees of which to boast. I’m just some dude.

But you matter to me, and I hope that matters when you next need it to.

Be well, Traveler.

Wade in.

*Name changed. Haven’t spoken to him in years, could be an angel now for all I know.