[high school meme]
1. Who was your best friend?
That shifted over the years. My two closest friends during high school were Ashley and Lorie, whom I met my sophomore year, but Lorie and I had a serious relationship and then a devastating breakup at the start of my junior year, and Ashley moved to Connecticut around the end of my junior year. So freshman year, I guess it would've been Katie Wiley, though we were never that close; she loved Tesla more than anything in the world then. And senior year would've been Josh Poretsky, saxophone sensation and all-around sexy brooding ex-junkie.
2. What sports did you play?
3. What kind of car did you drive?
I had my dad's old Toyota Corona 4-door sedan, painted black (poorly) and given red racing stripes by Earl Scheib, until New Year's Day 1992. I had been to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I think, and had just dropped off Teresa Laddish. What killed that car was the requisite 12-point turn I had to do to get out of Teresa's narrow driveway. I had a steering-fluid-pump leak that sprayed hot goo all over my car's electrical system whenever I turned sharply, and that night, as I rolled down the hill back towards the main road, I saw smoke and then flames coming out of the hood of my car. I watched it burn from the gas station across the street. At one point a cop car came by and failed to put out the fire with their little extinguisher. Eventually the fire department came and finished the job. The car was totaled, but my tapes survived.
After that, my parents got me a little red Toyota Tercel hatchback that would rattle and shiver whenever it got much beyond 75 miles per hour. I would lose it in parking lots because it looked exactly like every other little red hatchback.
4. It's Friday night, where were you?
That was a fraught question. I was often at shul and then at home for Shabbos dinner, but often I didn't want to be. I would cut out some nights after shul, some nights after dinner, some nights before the whole Jewish shebang. If I was elsewhere, it was hanging out with friends: at Ash's house with Lorie and Robert and Heather, or at a concert, or at the pool hall (which we thought it was funny to call the "poo ha") with Josh Poretsky, or heading into San Anselmo with Amber Renwick.
5. Were you a party animal?
No. I went to hardly any actual parties.
6. Were you considered a flirt?
I was considered a flirt and a perv.
7. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
I was in jazz band my senior year, playing guitar ineptly. We went to the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival and sucked ass.
8. Were you a nerd?
Yeah, although I was always one of the semi-cool alternanerds. The whole nerd thing was a little vague considering how few people had any intellectual ambition whatsoever. There was sort of a crowd of folks who took honors English and spoke in sentences and liked to think about things, and I guess we were nerds.
9. Did you get suspended/expelled?
10. Can you sing the fight song?
We probably had a roll-over-and-die song. Our football team won one game during my entire time in high school, during my senior year; before that, their big claim to glory was the time they managed a lead over Marin Catholic at halftime. Anyway, I attended one school sporting event ever, a basketball game where Josh Poretsky was required to play sax in the band, and that was for the purposes of picking him up and leaving.
11. Who was your favorite teacher?
Mr. Skinner, my senior honors English teacher. He respected our minds enough to be a demanding bastard, and he introduced us to lots of very cool literature: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Waiting for Godot, The Bald Soprano. My Orthodox Jewish prejudices annoyed him enough that he encouraged me to read Spinoza. He was a stickler for grammar and taught it well.
12. What was your school's full name?
Terra Linda High School.
13. School mascot?
The Trojans. *snicker*
14. Did you go to Prom?
My senior year, I had basically none of my real friends at my school, and no girlfriend, and then they decided to have the prom on a boat, and I get ferociously seasick. So no.
15. If you could go back and do it over, would you?
I used to have this recurring nightmare that even though I was a Columbia graduate and no one was questioning my degree, I've discovered that I was a point shy of graduating properly from TL, so I've gone back to take one last class, and now I can't pass it. The last time I had this dream was back in 2001, during the last and best period of my employment at DoubleClick. It suddenly dawned on me in the dream that I would have to decide, come Monday, whether to go to high school or to my job. So I asked my then-boss, Karen Delfau, what I should do. "Come to work," she said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. I've never had the nightmare again.
16. What do you remember most about graduation?
Malika Ghazvani went tumbling into the gap between the stairs and the wall, then climbed out and shouted, "I'm fine! I'm okay!" And Mr. Skinner noted the irony of celebrating our individualism by dressing us all alike.
17. Where were you on senior skip day?
We didn't really have one. Anyway, I was 18 in my senior year and could therefore sign my own notes. I used to waltz into the office with a note saying, "Please excuse Joshua Ross for all absences in the previous month," with my signature underneath. I got a fair amount of leeway considering I mostly cut class to work on the school newspaper.
18. Did you have a job your senior year?
19. Where did you go most often for lunch during high school?
Before I could drive, I had lunch out on the benches, then eventually moved to the upper hallway overlooking the benches, where I ate with the other semi-nerds. Once I had a car, I went to the mall most days and had a Chinese combo plate. During my depressive junior year, when I had few friends at school, I would take my lunch and drive up to a high hill and park, sitting in my car and listening to Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine and Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger a lot.
20. Have you gained weight since then?
21. What did you do after graduation?
I temped at Lawrence Berkeley Labs that summer, and then went off to Columbia.
22. When did you graduate?
23. Who was your Junior prom date?
There was a junior prom?
24. Are you going to your 10 year reunion?
I was just back in the US and unemployed at the time, and that made too lousy a story, so I skipped it.
25. Who was your home room teacher?
We didn't have home rooms.