One of the things I’ve learned in my life has been a lesson about the power of school pride.
Let’s start at the beginning, as I’ve been told by professors, teachers, and books about writing (and books about writers writing–and those are the worst), the beginning is a great place to start.
When I was in high school, in the poor excuse for civilization that is Smyrna, Tennessee, I wrote what I can only describe as Aaron’s Guide to Misanthropy. If you prefer, it was like the Airing of Grievances in Festivus put to book form. I figured that everyone around me could be pegged into cliques, and, further, I received a good amount of Lewis Black-style rage from each of these cliques. Instead of talking out my problems with people, or, as the more mentally unbalanced members of our society do, bring a gun into the equation, I decided I’d write it all down. Blogging, kind of, but with a guaranteed audience and the satisfaction of knowing that Google wouldn’t index it for all eternity. So I wrote it all down. All the things that went through my head when I saw the JROTC kids walk through the halls in uniform with rifles (fascists, deargodtheyregonnakillusall), or the American chavs walk through the halls with jeans so baggy they were going to trip over them, all of that went in the, er, manifesto.
And then, because hey, why not, I printed out a few copies and left them around some rooms. Nothing ever came of it aside from a few people knowing who wrote it and one teacher saying it was hilarious. But there’s one reason I bring it up now: school pride.
It’s especially disturbing in high school, as you realize that, more and more as time moves on, high school isn’t the bridge from adolescence to adulthood that it once was. That’s college. So, reflecting on that (and the in-high school version of that little epiphany might be “All these people are idiots”), the idea of shouting “Go ____!” and seemingly advocating the destruction of another body of learning because of an upcoming football game renders itself absurd.
When I was in high school, though, it was a big deal. The only reason it was a big deal was because I didn’t know what I’d be getting into at The University of Tennessee.