This concept is almost totally foreign to me. I hear the term bandied about all the time, but I’ve only witnessed it in the lives of other people.
You see, when I was in 9th grade, I developed Erythrodermic Psoriasis; something that stayed with me the remainder of the time I was in high school, and into my first year of college, and even two years beyond that. Then I was forced to withdraw from the first university I attended and move, where I was thrust into the position where I had to work a full-time job and not be able to go to college with people my age.
High school was a double-edged waste of time. The school was awful, the academics were a joke, the wannabe tough guys (and girls), reckless as they were, ended up eating the scraps left by the people that they terrorized, the “popular” people all went to shit in the looks department before they were 30 and then you had a cat like me, who was cool with almost everyone and was either known by name or face by almost everyone in the school, but for all the wrong reasons.
The people who knew me before high school all turned on me when I got taunted daily because of my condition. The people who only came to know me in high school act as if they a) didn’t taunt me or b) didn’t even realize how bad off I was and think we’ve always been cool. Coupled with the fact that I was not allowed to go to the high school that I originally planned to attend, and the illness and there was nothing but 24/7 Survival Mode for me. Literally. I nearly died from complications of the disease just before my 12th grade year; as my blood was poisoned and a dangerous cyst developed behind my left ear at the base of my skull. So not only did my whole body look like someone threw hot grits on me daily and let the boils and sores fester, crack open, dry up and do the same thing every day for 6 years, but I’m in a school that I hate, surrounded by fakes and other people that I mostly hate — to go along with a nice, softball-sized cyst on my head, looking like something of a sewer mutation.
No girls for me until the senior class trip. Somehow, that chick didn’t seem to notice nor care about my affliction. I wonder what she’s up to these days.
Anyway, off to college, barely a year, and I get yanked out. Now I go from a healthy environment, where I wanted to be, around people my age, to around a bunch of horny 30-40 year old women who are married or have boyfriends and cheating on them galore at the office. I have morals, values and principles. And the first year there, my skin still hadn’t cleared up.
By the time it cleared up in 1999, I was 20 years of age and my fledgling confidence nearly got me in all kinds of trouble with “cougars”. But by then, I was making good money and became anti-formal education for years. I missed out on the golden opportunities that a 18, 19, 20 year old guy has in college and I said “fuck it”. Before I knew it, I was 25 and realized I’d better go back and finish what I started, despite harboring some unforgiveness for how things had gone down surrounding being forced to withdraw from school (I do not speak about it publicly, or at all, anymore, so do not ask).
All I know is I don’t know anything about “High School” or “College Sweethearts”. What’s that like? Tell me. I’m intrigued.