High school parties

I’m not very active on Facebook. I have joined and I posted a picture of myself. We also have a church Facebook page and a Facebook group. I accept friend requests from people that I know. I ignore requests from people that i don’t know. Some of the people who have asked to be my friend are high school classmates and I have accepted several of those invitations. Through one of them I also accepted an invitation to join a group called, “You Know You’re from Big Timber, Montana, if you remember . . .” I’ve never posted to this group, but from time to time I read things that have been posted, mostly ones posted by my sister. She is a member of the class of 1969, and is involved in planning a reunion for her class for 2019. I remember that our mother wasn’t much for high school reunions until her 50th class reunion and that after attending that reunion went to as many as she should before health prevented her from attending. Perhaps my sister will have a similar pattern, though she has attended a few reunions over the year. She does, after all, live in the town where our high school is located.

I, on the other hand, haven’t been much for high school reunions. Part of reason is that I didn’t graduate from high school, so I don’t know to which class I belong. I entered high school with the class of 1971, but in the spring of 1970, I submitted my college test scores to a college long with my application and was granted early admission on academic probation. I headed off to college the year that I would have been a high school senior and never looked back. I was listed as a high school dropout on my high school academic record for several years. However, after I had graduated as valedictorian of my college class and earned my doctorate before my 25th birthday I once requested my official high school academic record and it showed me as a student who transferred to another school following my junior year. I have, however, referred to myself as a high school dropout on some occasions.

I simply don’t have many pleasant memories of high school. I had a few good friends. I dated a little bit. I played in the band and sang in the chorus and enjoyed both of those activities. I got an A in geometry the year that I was studying for my private pilot’s license. I passed that test without a problem. I attended pep rallies, but thought they were strange. I voted in student council elections, but thought they were a sham. I had little respect for the principal, who later was forced to resign amid a scandal that I never fully understood. I was on the prom decorating committee my junior year. I succeeded in convincing a girl I had met at church camp, who was from another town, to attend prom with me. It was our first date. We fell in love and got married, but that is another story.

So when people post all of their nostalgia comments about high school, I just don’t find them very interesting. High school wasn’t the high point of my life. I don’t look back on those years fondly. My life seemed to get a lot better after I left high school.

I’m pretty sure that success or failure in high school is not an accurate predictor of how the rest of one’s life will go. It certainly isn’t a predictor of college success. I know of a student who was a star athlete and a member of the high school honor society who essentially partied himself out of college his freshman year. I know another member of the honor society who never went to college. But I also know those who were successful in high school and also successful in college. I have a friend who I met in high school who is a very successful physician and has had a very remarkable career. On the other hand he’s been twice divorced and has had quite a bit of sadness and pain in his life. I don’t have any friends from high school with whom I’d trade places, but I’m happy with my life as it turned out.

So why I am I reflecting on those long-ago days? It is that the crazy public arguments over the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh have plunged the entire nation back into high school. He said . . . she said . . . there are different versions of what happened at the party. There are exaggerated stories about who was drunk and who was not and who was making out with whom. I didn’t believe the stories when I was in high school and I didn’t want to hear about what the combination of high school students and beer did to their social lives. I wasn’t a partier in high school or college. But I was forced to hear about all of the kegs that were tapped and consumed, all of the risky driving that occurred, and the sexual exploits of my classmates. I didn’t find those stories interesting when I was in high school and I would have preferred not to hear about them.

I don’t want to hear about them today.

But today we are all in high school and the entire nation will be watching as people who are all dressed up in their best suits and ties try to recall what did or did not happen at a drunken high school party in the 1980’s. It is important business. It is a well-justified examination of the character of a man who is being considered for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our land. The woman whose memories include the trauma of being the victim of an attempted rape has been called a “lying whore” by television commentator Steven Crowder. At least he used YouTube to make his statement instead of using a permanent marker on a locker door. It seemed like a similar thing, however. Christine Blasey Ford has received death threats and threats against her family. This is serious business. It will shaped the lives of real people for years to come.

That’s what happens at high school parties. Real people engage in behavior with real consequences. Not all of my high school classmates survived high school. Some died in car accidents that demonstrated in a very graphic way the dangers of drinking and driving. Real lives are permanently affected by stupid choices made at high school parties.

I am grateful that somehow I was able to stay away from the high school party scene. I’m not enjoying the public rehashing of high school parties of those a decade and more younger than I. But our entire nation today is facing the consequences of high school parties. And we will have to live with the results for the rest of our lives.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!