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May 27, 2017

headed for more trouble

What was the big deal about getting in trouble in high school?  Once I intercepted the notice to my folks alerting them that I had been busted for cheating in keyboarding class, I felt accomplished.  Like a genius.  A sneaky genius.  A sneaky genius with poor typing skills.  

Of course my path to being busted was anything but crafty and clever.  I'm guessing my friends who had gotten into a few tangles chuckled to themselves with a little 'don't-quit-your-day-job' mentality when considering how dopey my ordeal was.  Translation: 'stick to steering clear of trouble, Ernie.  You suck at this.'  

It was interesting to see how the other half lived.  Living on the edge was invigorating - an automatic adrenaline rush.  I enjoyed having a rebel-without-a cause-story to share with my hand-full of friends who dabbled in trouble from time to time.  Now I could relate a bit to their cause- instead of being cast exclusively as a goody-goody.   

Up until that little incident, I had a squeaky clean image - with the exception of making a few wise ass comments during classes where wise ass comments were welcome.  I was pretty confident that I would graduate without any other issues.  After all, I was a class officer on student council.  I had been chosen as the assistant director on a senior retreat.  (that same retreat when I missed a few typing assignments!)  My grades were good.  I even dressed like a pirate at home football games demonstrating my school spirit.  Embarrassment never phased me.  

After complaining that our school didn't have a mascot, my student council moderator challenged me to go for it.  I accepted.  I invested in a mis-matched assortment of items at the grocery store after Halloween.  It resulted in my family disowning me at home football games AND in me being voted 'most spirited' by my fellow classmates.  There are worse fates.  
I swear it's not like I got a taste of being naughty and decided to switch gears entirely.  One thing just led to another.  
I have searched high and low for a picture of me wearing my pirate costume for your enjoyment.  I cannot find one!  Honest.  Perhaps I should be celebrating.  This is part of the photo that appears in my high school year book.  It features the guy and girl (me!) students who were voted most spirited.  I'm holding up the pirate mask I wore when I was the somewhat self-appointed school mascot.  It was only a partial mask - it didn't cover my entire face, which was a bummer because as brave as I was anonymity would have been a perk.  In my other hand I'm holding the fake hook.  This is what you get when you decide not to care what anyone thinks AND when you are shopping with a limited mascot costume budget.

I was coasting through spring of my senior year without issue until I signed up for a field trip through the math group, Mu Alpha Theta.  I believe I had attended the one obligatory meeting that allowed me to jump on the field trip band wagon.  The group took a bus downtown annually to the Board of Trade.  

After the stunt I pulled on the field trip, I'm surprised my face wasn't cropped out of the Mu Alpha Theta club yearbook picture.
To complicate things, my good friend's mom taught math at the school.  She was the head of the math group, and was the staff member who organized and chaperoned the field trip.  Ironically, I considered her presence on the school field trip completely uncomplicated.  She was 'cool.'
Once I began my 'eat, drink and be merry - for tomorrow you too may be grounded' campaign, Mrs. Math's house was the house we crashed at when we had a few drinks.  To this day I'm unclear about whether or not she knew we had been out drinking, or if she just turned a blind eye, or maybe she just went to bed really early.  Her laid back approach to her kids inviting countless friends over to crash in the basement on the weekends sealed the deal.  In all honesty, I barely ingested more than half a beer on any high school occasion.  It was the beginning of my long, lifetime devotion to being a light-weight.  

When we pulled up to the Board of Trade building, Mrs. Math announced to all of us (boy students and girl students were welcome to join this club, so it was a rare co-ed field trip for my all-girls Catholic high school):  'If you get lost, meet us back here at the bus by 2:00.'

I turned to my guy friends that I was sitting with on the bus.  'I told you.  She's cool.  She totally doesn't expect us to stay on the field trip.'  The two guys looked at each other and then back at me.  I nodded.  It was on.  

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