Star Wars hype, fear, loathing and the never-ending high school pep rally

I see people weighing in on the new Star Wars movie and all I can think about is how much it reminds me of high school and how much of an antisocial, square peg misanthrope I am. But what else is new? Mostly I see people raving about the film but I’ve seen more than a few say it’s a garbage. Not me. I’m in the ‘I don’t care’ category. The whole thing – hell, 2016 itself – reminds me of a never-ending high school pep rally and I want no part of it. I never have.

Allow me to explain.

When I was in high school, exactly 10,000 years ago, they used to hold regular pep rallies and everyone was expected to pack the auditorium and sit there for the duration of whatever mind-numbing, soul-crushing dreck they had planned for that day. Usually it was school spirit, patriotism or rah-rah ‘go team!‘ sports-related activities. I loathed these things and once I grew wise to the charade, I avoided them like the goddamned plague.

The announcement would come over the intercom for the rally, the bell would ring and people would start piling into the auditorium for their dose of forced school spirit. I would make a beeline for the exit, hop into my car and bolt for the rest of the day. My destination? Anywhere.

Pep rallies were an excuse to get the hell off campus and get the hell away from my high school suburban nightmare.  I did this solo and sometimes with friends, it didn’t matter – I wanted no part of “the best years of your life” spiel they try to brainwash you with.

This pattern repeated itself the rest of my high school career. They’d hold a rally and I’d go to lunch, to party or to anywhere else I could to escape the banality of the suburban high school experience and its mindless zombie cliques.

Picture me walking out of the building, shades on, cigarette in mouth and middle finger raised. I thought I was ‘cool’ but I was really just an antisocial outcast – a creep. But there was this feeling then that went along with the experience that’s impossible to recapture now because that moment has passed. That feeling of escape – the freedom of getting away from THEM. I miss the adrenaline rush of getting away with it, driving away and seeing the building in the rear view mirror while smoke and music billowed out the window.

What does this have to do with the new Star Wars? Not much I’m afraid, except that the hype over it reminds me of those pep rallies. I hear the bell again and the announcement over the loud-speaker is telling me to assemble in the auditorium for my lovin’ spoonful of Star Wars medicine and I am expected to swallow it, but I won’t. And it’s not just Star Wars – the hype over everything these days reminds of those rallies as well, and I find myself on my way out of the building again and again trying to escape.

Truth be told, I never saw the last Star Wars either. It holds absolutely no interest for me. Neither do comic book movies or anything else people flip out over these days. I’m not some kind of Star Wars purist either – I simply don’t care for the genre. I think this mostly has to do with its over commercialization and corporate string-pullers, who remind me of smarmy cheerleaders and dickheaded star quarterbacks.

You’re gonna get Star Wars shoved up your ass in every way imaginable for the next 100 years and you’re excited about that. When I see car companies using it as a sales tactic I know I made the right choice by not swallowing that medicine.

In hindsight, what does it all really matter? Maybe I should shut the fuck up and see the film. Maybe I should have went to the rallies and been more involved with that stuff. Maybe I would have made lasting relationships from school. Maybe I would have ‘lettered’ and made the team and dated a cheerleader! Golly! Maybe I wouldn’t burn my reunion invitations when they arrive in the mail every decade. Maybe the experience wouldn’t have been so bitter.

Or maybe not.

The truth is, I hated that fucking place and it hated me. The only thing that kept me going back then was the hope that there was more to life than the popularity contests, pom poms, SAT scores and hollow school spirit. Turns out there’s not and that’s depressing. High school never really ends, kids, and neither do the cliques or pep rallies or the smarmy mother fuckers who make Riverdale High a reality.

But now, several eons removed from that whole experience, I wonder if I should have just swallowed the jagged little pill anyway and sucked it up instead of trying to be an individual. Ha! Like that was an option!

I saw through everything for what it was, which has been a curse my whole damn life as an outcast. Ignorance really is bliss, folks, and life would be much easier were I not able to peek behind the curtain and see the bullshit.

Once upon a time ‘Fight Club’ spoke to me in ways nothing else could. Why? Well, if you’re from that era that will make sense but if you’re from this one you probably think I’m nuts or severely “out of touch,” and maybe I am.

 

The building we called “school” resembled a penitentiary and we acted accordingly. 2016 feels like a penitentiary of the mind and we act accordingly! 2017 looks to be more of the same and I’m already looking for the exit.

I am still the same antisocial misfit I was then and I think I’m not alone in saying that I want OUT. Fuck your pep rally. I want to leave and go get some donuts, coffee, smoke and listen to records with friends because, dear lord, there has to be more to life than this never-ending pep rally, right?!

I realize this piece is all over the place and might not make much sense. That’s okay. I’m only writing it to clear my head, but also because I’m tired of the pep rally bullshit. I’m also tired (once again) of trying to have an opinion on any number of social media platforms only to be met with silence or indifference, because high school never ends.

And so I need to just shut the fuck up and write and keep my opinions off of social media and keep them here or in books, but like any other addiction, this is not easy.

Lately, social media feels like how high school did (unfriendly, cold and full of shit), and I find myself avoiding it, gravitating to the other misfits and leaving the building because fuck your rah-rah, fake, clique bullshit.

I find myself wanting to escape social media again (I know, I know) and yet, there’s nowhere to go but inside of myself. And so here I am – putting these thoughts down here for myself, just like I always have.

I read a friend’s post the other day that said something to the effect of: why worry about strangers online would wouldn’t care if you died in the gutter? I agreed with this sentiment while also admitting that life online can be a mirage – you fool yourself into believing these people are your friends, when in reality, you’re nothing more to them than fleeting entertainment, if that. And so I head for the exit yet again, bummed that the solidarity I once felt was just an illusion. So it goes.

I rediscovered some old songs the other day that sent me back in time to that era of escape and so I find myself here reminiscing, recoiling and writing this as some kind of ‘Dear John’ letter to no one in particular, as I walk out of the building once again, to escape.

 

  • PKCox

    Some people think high school was the best years of their lives, looking out through rose colored glasses. In reality, it was all about the clique. I found work the same- many little cliques. I’ve felt I’ve never really fit in, either. I remember very few people from high school. There are a few good friends from work, but most people really don’t care if I come or go. It’s taken age to make me realize it really doesn’t matter much. If you have family and a few good friends, you are fortunate. Social media feels just as clique-ish. People worrying about what others think is really a sad use of time. As I get older, I’m much more comfortable with who I am. I wouldn’t re-live high school for anything!

    • Thanks for your comment. I wouldn’t re-live those years either…at least, not without the knowledge I have know. Ha!