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:

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