I used to be cool. In a nerdy-hipster-before-it-was-cool kind of way. I used to drive import sport cars that were way too low and way too fast. I would concoct crazy fucking plans and execute most of them with elegance of an experienced CEO orchestrating a company merger.
My point here is that I used to do cool stuff with people who let me hang out with them and we were good like that. What in the actual fuck happened?
I am not saying that I am unhappy at all. Do not misunderstand me. There is no “reading between the lines” to be done here. I am merely wondering why in the world we have to work so damn hard to maintain that certain level of “coolness” that we once achieved so easily in our youth. That “cool” slipped away faster than a fat kid could eat cake! Or is it just me?
Allow me to elaborate with a nostalgic-as-fuck flashback. One of the greatest pranks in my high school history was planned and executed by none other than moi. I received such acclaim for that one incident, that people would approach me to plan their pranks and request tech-support during the execution phases. My pranks were usually fairly elaborate. I was somewhat of an overachiever.
I was painfully shy around anyone who wasn’t in my circle of about five friends (I was always the “fifth-wheel”). I figured that I could trust my closest friends and had no reason to expect otherwise. Until one night…
It was late in April, 199x. My nerdy-ass was at a Best Western in Waco, TX for an annual Texas Technology Education competition. This was a real “who’s who” event of quasi-competitive high school kids where we would display welding, woodworking and drafting projects for judges to critique and grade based on whose parent was on the education board. I was competing in all three categories because as I said, I was an overachiever.
The second night that we were cooped up in our hotel rooms with three or four other class mates, I started thinking up ways to generally fuck with people. No idea why this was so much fun, it just was. This was my first trip with my new high school I hadn’t really gotten to know a lot of the other students yet or the other teachers. I was able to figure out that by picking up the receiver of the room’s phone, I could just dial a random room number and it would actually ring that room! This was sure to provide hours of fun because back then, caller ID was still fairly new and these room phones did not have any such feature yet,(pretty sure that I personally am the reason any reputable hotel chain now has caller ID in every room).
After a solid 30 minutes or so of calling rooms to ask if their mini-fridge was running or requesting the ever popular “Grey Poupon” in a snooty-sounding voice to mimic the old TV commercials, I got really bored, really quickly. More importantly, the novelty had worn off with my room mates and they were no longer laughing maniacally behind me, struggling to catch their breath. This bothered me, so I had to evolve. I had to mastermind the greatest prank of all time.
It hit me. I was not even sure how to pull this off, but I would worry about the logistics of everything after I was certain that they took the bait. I would call several rooms to inform everyone that some “rowdy-ass” seniors had done something stupid and our high school was being transferred to another hotel. Why in the world would this even work? Because unlike my classmates, I was a true nerd. I was also a news monger and I paid attention to current events when everyone else my age was more concerned with finding the ever-allusive “G-spot.”
I believe this was actually a legit news story that I had read about somewhere. Some high school kids were kicked out their hotel rooms for whatever reason, I don’t remember now. I was confident that I could at least get a few of my guys on the bus. Did I mention it was about two o’clock in the morning?
I began calling rooms. I also asked whoever answered to “pass it along.” I had no idea how far this would go. About 45 minutes later, I looked out of the giant plate-glass window of my second floor room to see two full-size school buses packed with students and their bags. Oops. I didn’t really intend for this to be the thing. I mean, I wanted an epic prank, but shit! If my roommates and I were the only ones missing (aside from the oblivious teachers), it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to narrow down a culprit. Damn.
Wasn’t long before my room phone began ringing. Double-shit! It was hard enough to keep calm and hold it together, now this?!?
“Hello?” I asked, my voice cracking as I did my best to sound like I was dragged from a deep-slumber.
“What in the Hell do you think you’re doing, boy?” Triple-shit! It was my welding teacher! He was the only one that I had ever had swats from, so I knew he meant business!
“Sir?” I played dumb.
“I SWEAR TO GOD DANTE! IF YOU DON’T STAY OFF THAT FUCKING PHONE, I WILL PERSONALLY SHOW UP AND STICK THAT FUCKER WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE!” Jig was up! I was frantically searching for an alibi that would eliminate me as a suspect, but didn’t get a chance. He was smarter than I thought.
He hung up without a salutation of any kind (not like I needed one). Every one unloaded and returned to their rooms, but not before beating on my door and yelling creative, profanity-laced diatribes on their way. I was a tiny-bit worried about things to come.
What happened the next morning was, I reluctantly boarded the bus to an overwhelming applause and shouts of “Hell Yeah!”
Apparently, most everyone slept on it, and decided that what occurred just a few hours before was actually a pretty funny prank! I was welcomed on board and asked about how I pulled the whole thing off. I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing from everyone!
My drafting teacher, for whom I was teacher’s aide, pulled me off the bus and removed me from view of everyone. He clapped his hand on my back and thanked me for not waking him up, then sternly informed me “If anyone asks, you’re in for three swats when we get back.” He grinned and winked at me to let me know that I wasn’t actually getting said licks, but everyone should think I would. You know, so as to discourage any further inappropriate behavior.
So back to my original point. I used to be kinda cool. Now I just wake up in the morning, make sounds that I used to hear my granddad make, and argue with slightly smaller versions of myself over shit like how to use the toilet.
I miss being young.