Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Brownsville Station - "Smokin' In The Boys Room"
Brownsville Station seemed like a bunch of harmless goofballs, but now looking back their "I got bored" slacker rebellion seems like the perfect antidote to a couple of bizarre only-in-the-seventies school memories that continue to stick with me:
1) At the start of third grade, our teacher said she would like to meet with us, two at a time, after school for thirty minutes to talk and get to know us better. I was only eight years old, but I knew darn sure that I didn't want to do this. So I did what I have always done - as child and adult - when faced with a situation where I didn't want to do something: I avoided it. I simply didn't sign up for the chat time with the teacher, hoping that a no-sign meant no obligation.
No such luck. Sure enough, a few weeks into the school year, Teach called me and a fellow student out on not signing up to talk with her. (Some annoying little teacher's pet wannabe raised his hand and said *he'd* gladly meet with her for a second time. Dork.) Trapped in a corner and no way out, I signed up to meet with the teacher along with the other holdout.
The meeting wasn't that bad, just strange. I don't remember much, just that: A) How weird it was was to have a teacher wanting me to talk to her as a person and not a student, B) By staying after school (and on a Friday!), I had been deprived of a walk home with my neighborhood buddies and football in the back yard. So the teacher might have been glad that she got to know me a little better, all I got was my first taste of unpaid overtime.
2) One year, apparently the administration at my junior high felt that we all needed to relate to each other better. So instead of going to a class and learning something, once a week for an hour we broke up into classroom-size groups and would go to a classroom and have a discussion led by the teacher. Our school nickname was the Raiders, so these discussions were called "Raider Rap Sessions." We got a handbook and this title was on the cover and DAMMIT I wish now I had kept a copy. I don't remember much about these rap sessions, they involved talks about ethics (is cheating on a test ever okay, etc.) and one of them actually turned into a discussion on the code of defending your goalie. (Grand Forks is a hockey town.) I can't complain, I was never required to actively participate in these rap sessions, never opened my mouth once. If they would have had the sessions replace something as useless as gym class, I probably would have considered them a noble idea. And I'm halfways convinced that someday somebody will say I imagined the Raider Rap Sessions, that I stole the idea from an episode of Freaks and Geeks.
Mr. Rosso: Let’s just rap. As people, okay? No pressure. From now I’m not "Mr. Rosso, guidance counselor."
Lindsey: You’re not?
Mr. Rosso: I’m just Jeff. Your friend who cares.