The other day, while trying to find some reading material in my archives, I came across one of my yearbooks from high school. Going to a small, private school, I have a yearbook for each year, where I would expect some presence for myself.
Looking back at my 1995 yearbook, by far the pinnacle of my high school years and definitely one of the better years of my life, I was shocked to see how many pictures of me existed in the yearbook, two. There were two pictures in my high school yearbook of me. The first picture, was the standard portrait included of all of the students. Bonus points for this picture was that someone from my high school signed my picture during yearbook exchange instead of their own picture. I would impugn their bad name here, but their scrawling was illegible, so only the sands of time know who failed basic yearbook etiquette. The second picture of me was at the high school carnival, standing next to someone it took me 15 minutes to identify, which after doing so, I realized we might not have ever had a conversation, despite going to the same school of 125 people for three years. I was impressed with how thin I was in my Metal Maniacs Looney Tunes T-Shirt, but was otherwise nonplussed by the picture.
Thinking I was mistaken, I scrutinized every picture with my high school friends in it, looking for other signs of my existence. While I found many pictures of them, including various group shots, you would be hard pressed to know I even knew them, let alone was very close with them. With the benefit of hindsight, this made sense. I made most of my impact either in the classroom as the valedictorian of my class or in the shadows, outside the school proper. Were I to go back and give myself a cool high school nickname, I would totally want to go by Shadow Cabinet, given my ability to impact influential coolness makers, allowing me access to a rarefied social strata I would never achieve again. In an irony which goes against nearly my entire way of living life, I was one of the cool kids by proxy, despite being decidedly uncool.
I hate to say I miss those days, but I do. High school was not always a barrel full of laughs, but there were many good days, something when you look back, you tend to remember more than the bad days, laying slumped in front of a locker, covered in your own blood as people gasp as they walk by. Of course, being unconscious, I don't remember such events, but life happens in mysterious ways.