Here in Canada, school is over for the summer now. One of my munchkins is officially going into high school soon, and I will be holding my breath as he starts to tread those shark-infested waters. He is the type of person who is so cool, he doesn't know he's cool. For most people, our high school experiences are not always our fondest memories. There are the usual suspects -- the "in-crowd", the "geeks and nerds", and the "in-betweens". Most of us fall into the category of "in-betweens", with occasional forays into either the "in-crowd" or the "geeks and nerds". The people who are able to navigate the waters best are the ones who don't really care which category they fall into. Whichever category my munchkin falls into, I hope he will be one of those folks who doesn't really care.
None of us escapes unscathed, however. When I was in high school, I fit squarely into the "in-betweens", but occasionally I was invited to a party by someone in the "in-crowd", only to be reminded that I didn't really belong there. The most devastating thing, however, is to be invited out by a "geek or nerd", and to a rather shallow high school person, that can flatten one's self-confidence in no time, let me tell you.
However, years later when we attend our 20 year high school reunion, the "in-crowd" folks are almost invariably the ones who have become fat and bald, and are working as a mechanic in the local service station. Or they're married to the guy who became fat and bald. Meanwhile, the "geeks and nerds" have blossomed into amazing people. Have you ever noticed that? It's almost a cliché. In the movie "Pretty in Pink", we just knew Duckie was going to become "über cool". Meanwhile, Steff, the bad boy -- and definitely the leader of the "in-crowd" -- has turned into William Shatner.
But, high school is a world of its own, and most of us are able to pass through it safely, somehow acquiring an education and not embarrassing ourselves too much in the process. And if we can survive the joys and heartbreaks as well, perhaps we can look back at those years as being -- at the very least -- not entirely unpleasant.