A Punk Rock Prom

For reasons that should be very obvious to our regular readership, I never cared for high school dances, and I made it my business not to go to one.

Now, this failed for a variety of reasons and during my full tenure at high school I went to 3 dances. This is the story of one of them.

So, I had made the decision earlier that year to not ask out anyone until college. To be fair, the girls in my class weren’t interested, but also, I had my mind totally fixated on the future. Getting the hell out of my small town and not looking back. As a result, I did not go to my junior prom. Instead, I hung out with a friend and watched a bunch of movies. This was a point of pride in that I skipped the cost of a tux, food, flowers, and limo (or whatever misc sundries kids did back then).

My plan leading into Senior Prom was exactly the same. I still hated my high school, and now I was even closer to the exit. Conditions on the ground had not changed (at least, as far as I was concerned). The biggest difference was that this time, I would be the only one not going. Literally everyone else who i would consider a friend was going.

In fact, my punk rock friends had a whole thing planned out. You see, starting senior year, our punk rock group had expanded to include girls from the high school the next town over. Many of them weren’t dating, but it was a think of, everyone wanted to go to everyone else’s prom. And the math worked except for one. My memory is fuzzy on the circumstances, but she wanted to go to hang with her friends….but couldn’t find anyone to take her. Didn’t go to our high school, so she couldn’t just crash. If anyone asked me, I don’t recall.

All of this mix of drama and stubbornness got resolved from the most unlikely of sources. And, I hate to speak ill of the source, but I’m going to do it.

You ever have those people who are just super stoked about the events of high school. Not that they wont move past it when they graduate, but the kind of person that is just REALLY happy about like being part of the high school. Well, this girl turned to me randomly and asked me if I would go to prom with her. I suppose Sadie Hawkins style, back when it was barely still a think.

I suppose I should be grateful of the phrasing, cause she could have asked what I was going for prom, and I would have said “Nothing.” Cause it would have never entered into my head that she was going to ask me out. Lucky for me, it wasn’t the case so I said, “Oh yeah boss. Taking a punk rock girl from [other high school]. You don’t know her”

Well, shit, I was stuck. I called punk-rock-girl-who-was-left-out as soon as I got home. She had a long term boyfriend, and I was like “Listen, you wanted to go. I gotta go now. Nothing is going to happen. I literally just need a date. You interested?”

And that was it. Done.

The actual night was just planned with the dance being something you had to attend. We would wear the appropriate attire (I did rent a last minute tux and got a corsage).

First, our dinner wouldn’t be at any kind of restaurant where you would have to spend big skrilla. Nope, we did fast food buffet at a friend of mine’s house. We had like a 24 piece of popeyes fried. McDonald’s fries, Wendy’s nuggs, a footlong subway sub. Onion rings from Burger King. And shit I cant even remember. I just remember the sight of all of us dressed fancy eating fucking burgers and shit.

Second, one of the group’s parents insisted on like legit prom stuff, and got us a limo. But we overstuffed it. Think like 20+ people in one limo.

The actual dance was meh. I just remember it being fucking hot. Like the A/C broke or some shit, and I was sweating balls. We all were.

But lastly, and more important than the dance, Mallrats had just come out on DVD. It was the only Kevin Smith movie we hadn’t seen (that at least was made at that point). Cause you couldn’t get it unless you knew someone that had the VHS (we didn’t).

So, we all crashed, sweaty as fuck, in my friends living room and watched Mallrats. And it was fucking awesome. I think there is some sort of preciousness that exists around prom, and maybe this story proves that, but I don’t think so. Definitely wasn’t about romance or wistful highschoolness. It was friends trying to make the best of a bad situation, and we did it our way.

To this day, I think thats why Mallrats holds a special place in my heart, cause of that night and the loud stupid.

Don’t get me wrong, I had other my friends who weren’t part of the punk rock group or weren’t dating girls who would be interested. They had like normal prom shit.

But, this was by far the best way to give the fuck you to high school. I didn’t have the high school romance, and I had nothing but hatred and contempt for anything that my high school tried to do.

That night though. That night, we made our own. And that is how I will remember it.

Zen and the Art of Flag Burning

The road leading to a small weekend camping trip with my son was filled with existential dread. I didn’t want him to join the cub scouts. For a combination of obvious reasons, lets just say the way I view reality and the way the scouting organization views reality differ.

But, he has friends in it. He’s stoked. He wants to go. Given how hard the pandemic was on his early friendship years, who am I to try to stop it.

So, I did what I always did leading up to some shit that fills me with existential dread. I overprepared. Bought a bunch of camping gear. Put up the tent in my yard twice so I don’t look like a fool trying to put it up for the first time out of the bag.

There were to be plenty of food, but I couldn’t trust that. So I bought my own rations, water. I could have sustained both of us enough to go home. Prepared like we were heading to the patagonia or some shit.

The campground in question is one of many owned by the scouting organization. Clean, maintained. Built for people who LARP being outdoorsmen. Not that I am to be sure, but put it this way, they have wood platforms for you to put your tent on, so that you aren’t sleeping on the ground.

The actual event was…mostly….like a chance for parents to hang out and let their kids just go ape shit in a place… Like there were in fact scout events, knot tying and all that. But, really the bulk of the time was straight chaos. I’m talking kids running around with open knives and a bare minimum of parent correction on these kids. Most of the parents just sat around and talked. No liquor cause scouts. But, like socializing.

Which is most definitely not for me. I hanged. The weather was kind in that it actually got hot. T-shirts ended up being the order of the day.

I am not going to say it was all terrible. I did enjoy some of the time. I found a bit of quiet among the chaos walking in the woods. But for like 30 min. Cause thats as much outdoors as I want.

But, I did think I was going to make it through the day with the minimum amount of stupid…

Then the sun set. And it started to get cold. Now i was stuck in the woods, sitting in a folding chair, waiting for the scout leaders to decide enough time had past to do smores. While that is going on. All the kids had flashlights now and decided to start wrestling with one another.

A parent and one of the scoutmasters tried to break it up verbally with no avail. At this point, I am fucking cold and done with this shit. I walk up and yell at these kids, “I don’t care who your parents are. If I have to get up again, you will each regret your decisions individually. Find something else to do.”

One of the parents goes, “Where did you learn how to do that?” I go, “my mom”

After the smores finally occurred, I assumed I get to figure out how to stay warm through the night in my fucking tent. Oh no. We were then informed we would have a flag retirement ceremony.

I did not know this was a fucking thing.

Apparently, my son’s elementary school gave the scouts a dozen fucking flags to retire. For those of you who don’t know what this is, this means you fucking burn it. So, he asked for volunteers from among the kids to put the flags over the fire. And dude was 10,000% serious. One kid started saluting the burning flags and he just goes “no, you are not dressed for that.”

Two of the flags were fucking plastic, and about six of them seemed like there was nothing wrong with them.

He then mentioned he was going to fish out the grommets to give to veterans.

Look, I grew up under the tutelage of George Carlin.

Timestamped for your convenience, but you should really watch Jammin In New York in full.

This is apparently a thing they do. When I got home and told my wife, she was fucking shocked. Now none of this phased my son, just sat there and watched it. Said nothing.

Look, at the end of the day, if this is how scouting feels they have contributions to the infrastructure of the great US suppression machine, that’s…you know…whatever man. But this is just more of, shit I dont want my son to deal with.

That night my only residing emotion was cold. I had long johns for him and good sleeping bags for the both of us. But it is fucking unpleasant sleeping in a tent, and I am old as shit.

I did not sleep well that night at all. Woke up at least 4-5 times shivering in the cold. I just kept thinking how this is not my world at all. I don’t want these sort of weird patriotism infiltrating my son’s perspectives in life.

Now, I don’t think that will happen. He is just much more outdoors than I am. His big takeaway from the weekend is that he loved being outside and playing with his friends. And all that is fine. I think the trappings of discipline don’t interest him very much.

And that’s fine. And, truthfully, I can deal with this kind of bullshit again in the future. Cause I will have to.

But it will come to a head at some point. Not sure when. I’m happy to kick the can down the road, but I want to avoid an Alex P Keaton scenario if possible. Maybe its not possible to avoid that. Maybe I’m just paranoid. Who knows. I don’t.

For now, I am just glad to have survived intact.

My Brushes With Rush Week

[Editor’s Note: This story came up in two completely different conversations this week, so I felt the need to do the appropriate level of preaching]

I never liked the concept of the Fraternity system. All I knew of it prior to college is what you see in the movies. None of my family members were in what I would consider a “real” frat. Like my dad was in the band fraternity. That don’t count.

I’m talking like the direct pipeline that pumps only the finest douchebags and assholes straight from high school into the frat houses.

Once I got to college, from almost day 1, it just seemed weird to me. Symbology and greek superficiality just an excuse to debauch more than usual. And I went to a college where frats weren’t a huge thing. Like sure, we had them, but if you wanted to skip them, you could still have a good time. To put it directly, they didn’t run the school.

I did see a place once where they did run the school. For reasons I cant remember, I was in a car driving down fraternity row for UGA, and that fucking frat row looked like the movies. Just these ornate roman columns and shit. Well, we happened to be there on a weekend where the sororities were “introducing” themselves to the fraternities. Picture this, a bunch of dudes in tuxedos sitting in rocking chairs out in front of their houses, while the girls in formal ball gowns went house to house like courtseying and having formal greetings.

This was in the strong punk rock days, so I remember leaning out the car pointing and yelling “What the fuck is this white, cotillion, plantation horse shit?”

Our fraternities were not that. That was way too clean. Don’t get me wrong, they tried to BE that, but they could never be that. They didn’t have the money, the power, the support from the school, or the real estate to actually be that kind of landed aristocracy.

The only time I ever really ran into them was Rush week. Cause they consumed the campus with their stupid pranks, hazing and whatever. Luckily, the further along you went in college the less you saw them. By the time I was a junior, I barely knew rush week was going on.

But that is not today’s story. Today’s story happened freshman year.

Rush week was completely unavoidable as a freshman. In my case, I am packed in a 14 story tall coed dorm with one half of the hall guys and the other half girls. So, there is always at least 1 person on each side of the floor rushing some frat/sorority. I saw random people get their invites. I saw a dude come back one night completely covered in marker on his entire body. The word “virgin” stood out to me among the scribble. Oh! And one time I was playing Final Fantasy Tactics, and some guy comes by and says “What is that fucking video game. We had to beat that in 24 hours for our frat.” That’s the kind of nerd shit that typically went down.

But….one night…like a fucking wednesday or some shit…I had my biggest run in with the frat system. I remember I had an 8am class. I went to bed early, as is my want in life. Fucking fire alarm goes off at 1am.

Now in a building this size, full of hungover college kids, it is a mess to empty out the building. I manage to be decently clothed enough to where I just had to grab some flipflops and my phone and I was out the door. Plus I was only on the 4th floor.

Well, like 10 of us make it out of the complex first….

And we are greeted by 3 dudes, totally naked, holding their junk. I went up to one of them and I go, “Frat shit?” He goes, “yeah, Pike.” I nod and step back.

Then the rest of the building piles out. Guffaws all around. But we were out there for like a fucking hour, cause the goddamn fire marshal had to come check the building and shit. And those dudes just stood there in the fucking nude the whole time. Now, how campus police didn’t put a stop to it, or even the city cops. I don’t know.

But about 2:30 we were let back in the building…

You already know where this is going…

4am fucking fire alarm goes off. My roommate goes, “I’m not leaving to see 3 guys’ dicks. Let the building burn down on me.”

Me, not wanting to die in a building fire, do in fact go outside. Sure enough, they still out there. This time we got back in the building in under 30 min. I went ahead and took a shower and got ready for class. Was leaving to get an early breakfast at around 6:30am, and sure enough…..

Fucking fire alarm. Fuckin 3 guys holding their dicks.

I passed them up and went about my day. They were gone after class.

Never saw a mention of this in the school paper. As far as I know, no one got any kind of charges. I guess they couldn’t prove who pulled the fire alarm.

What I actually wonder was…is it all worth it. Was it worth waking everyone up on a wednesday for yucks. Did those three guys get everything they wanted out the frat system?

Who knows? Who cares? But, they get to live with the shame forever.

© Church of the Holy Flava 2016 - 2021