Junior year was the year I swore for the first time. Actually, there are three times I can remember swearing– it happened so rarely that I actually remember them individually. The first was at Friend’s Party after a Semiformal for the Arts School. I didn’t go to my regular school’s prom but I went to these semiformals junior and senior year and I’m sure loved them more than I ever would have the prom. At any rate, at this particular after-party, I was being teased for never swearing and someone said “Just say shit.” To which I responded, “I don’t have anything to say shit for.” Suddenly realizing my mistake, I collapsed to the floor embarrassed while everyone else laughed.
The second was a particularly intense day of Tech week for that revue I was co-directing. I remember gathering Urbanblight and some friends cermoniously in the hallway, totally stressed and wanting to blow off steam– to utter the word “Fuck.” I guess you had to be there.
The third was extra special. Friend was graduating after having spent the year together in classes and performing, and I had grown pretty attached. He said that what he wanted for his graduation was to hear me say “Eat shit you motherfucking cocksucker.” Uccellina was a witness, so she can attest that I am not making this up. Suffice it to say, I said it and it actually made him cry.
Eleventh grade was also the year I saw my first R-rated movie– Pulp Fiction, no less– with all my “legal” friends on my 17th birthday. No I’m not kidding. We made an event of it and I was only slightly traumatized by it.
After that I pretty much returned to my Puritanical ways until college, but those incidents, in highlighting my abstinence in all areas of being less-than-perfect, helped to solidify my identity in a way, in that “innocence” was an identity. I was never moralistic– I had no judgement on how others were living their lives, but for some reason my expectations for myself were just this side of Amish. But somehow I had found a way in my artsy group of misfits and counter-culture loving teenagers who made a point of being “different” that that just happened to be what was different about me, and as long as I was sweet about it and didn’t tell them THEY couldn’t sleep around, it was cool. Having taken on that identity I became more comfortable in my own skin around then, and really started to care as much about hanging out with friends as I did about school or shows.
And hang out I did. I spent a lot of time hanging out in parking lots, which is what you do in a state that doesn’t provide much else for teenagers to do with their time. (I actually also remember we were so bored one night that we wandered around a grocery store. Our communities were so lucky to have such good kids like us that were turning to produce rather than drugs and looting like normal unstimulated adolescents.) The Ground Round Parking lot was our favorite but it was soiled as a hang out the first time a major fight erupted. There was a time when driving through my fair state that I had a memory of some fight my friends had at practically every fast food restaurant parking lot I came across. Usually the fights were spearheaded by the girls, who were jealous of each other a good deal of the time. I by no means mean to imply that Urbanblight was faultless but I think its fair to say that he was often a victim of his own 16 year old guy idiocy, surrounded by women (who knew?) that sometimes just totally baffled him.
But that aside, my social life was now, and for the first time, a really important part of my to do list. I was still working hard in school and spending my summers working at theatre camp followed by three hour rehearsals in the evenings– but now afterwards and each weekend I was off to eat Cinnamon Dippers and salty popcorn for as long as we all could get along. I convinced Urbanblight to audition for the Arts school and he was accepted, and I happily looked forward to the socializing and academics, if not the college searches and finality of Senior Year.