Search planetdan:


Saturday, January 07, 2006 :::

I lettered in Nerd.

I went clearance shopping today and found myself at the dorm-room superstore: Urban Outfitters, where I saw this T-shirt for sale:

It was $28. I had five of these when I was in high school. Had I known there would be a market for ironic t-shirts in the future, I would have saved them and made a mint on eBay.

To repeat myself for the umpteenth time: I wasn't exactly popular in high school. In fact, after a disastrous transition from Catholic school to public school in the ninth grade, one of my well-meaning friends, Maurice, suggested that I join a group with him called Friends For Life. It would be fun, he assured me, help me meet people who wouldn't want to beat me up for a change, and perhaps even look good on a college resume. I thought "Ok! Friends For Life! Sounds great! God knows I could use some of those!" and I signed up. Little did I know that it was my school district's version of D.A.R.E. As in: Dare to Keep Kids Off Drugs. It's kinda funny how being desperate for friendship will make you do just about anything. No wonder these Al Qaeda jackasses find it so easy to find new recruits.

Now don't get me wrong, I know it's all good to keep the kids away from the naughty substances. I read A Million Little Pieces. I know where that road leads. But if there is anything that guarantees social suicide at a public high school more than joining the unionized anti-drug crusade, I don't know what it is. To make matters worse, my involvement with this group put me on the front page of the metro section of the local newspaper mere weeks after starting the tenth grade at my new school:

Yes, that's a mullet. Social death: accomplished.

What's funny is that I remained a member of this group throughout the duration of my high school career, and somehow got elected as secretary of the club, in spite of the fact that I didn't attend a single club meeting for the entire last year. Upon graduation, I discovered that my participation in this club had somehow earned enough points to qualify me for a letterman's patch in Friends for Life, a.k.a., DARE.

That's right, I lettered in Nerd:

Granted, this was 15 years ago, but it was a proud moment, to be sure. The real irony might come from the fact that my predecessor as club secretary died last year. His death was attributed to drug and alcohol abuse. Seriously. Friends For Life, indeed.

::: posted by dan at 8:12 PM :: [ link ] :: (31) comments Social Bookmark Button

Comments are Closed On this Post

31 previous comments:

I just got back from Grandma's boy I knew there was a reason I thought of you when they showed "Jeff's" bedroom

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:20 AM  

It would have been a way cooler club had they Princed it up a bit, y'know, Friends 4 Life.

We had SADD..Students Against Drunk Driving, which has since been renamed Students Against Destructive Decisions. Seems they didn't want to pony up the dough for the new t-shirts that a different acronym would have required. Damn public school budget cuts.

By Blogger zeppgoddess, at 8:27 AM  

You think that is bad?? Try the debate team and Toastmaster's (a club about making impromptu speeches).

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:12 AM  

What’s with all the nostalgia? You sound like you’re the one about to have a monumental birthday slash midlife crisis.

By Blogger Colleen, at 9:34 AM  

I know what you mean Colleen.. I'm turning 39 in a week. Sorry to hear about your friend 4 lifers though Dan, that's rough and ironic to boot. If only we knew what would be hot today 20 years ago, we would all be Bill Gates'..

By Blogger TracyD, at 10:53 AM  

Not only did I transfer from Montreal to a small podunk, deeply racist southern town when I was 15, I also wore wierd clothes, talked wierd and had wierd haircuts. Make any friends? I had and still have only 3 from that era. Everyone kept commenting about the foreign exchange student who wouldn't leave. High School memories are horrible.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:21 AM  

Well, if this isn't a reason to 'dare' to cross the line and snoop into my teenagers' bedrooms...I'm sure that I can come up with atleast 4 of those same shirts. Hmmm, with the Canadian exchange rate, that's about $35 a shirt!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 AM  

I'd take a picture only I don't now how to upload it to someone else's blog...

Upstairs in our closet is a leather football jacket of my husband's collecting dust. I've always thought the badges quite ironic. Beneath the series of "Prov 'AAA' Champs" Football, and Volleyball badges, Track badges and the like, are a few other 'gooders' like Chess Club, Mock United Nations, Drama, and Peer Counsellor. How the hell did he manage to find time to graduate?

Actually, he had quite the storybook life in highschool - the kind they make teenage movies about. He lived directly across the street from the school entrance. Couple that with the fact that both his parents worked long term contracts out-of-town leaving him to fend for himself with little more than cheques for groceries stuck to the fridge, and he has plenty of stories to tell. My own memories of him were watching him stand up to the school principal telling him to get off his property - my future husband was sitting on a lawn chair on his front yard next to a cooler of beer. Ah, I knew then that was the man I had to marry...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:10 PM  

What's with the red ribbon? Don't deny it--you have a scrapbook with all your precious FFL moments, don't you? I know you like to flip through the pages, fondly remembering those glory-filled days.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:37 PM  

the irony is deafening.

By Blogger Diana, at 12:56 PM  

Actually, it is in a scrapbook of my making. Heh. But then it's also in my blog, and what more is a blog than a public scrapbook.

By Blogger dan, at 1:35 PM  

I'm very happy that I went to high school in the pre-DARE era. Or perhaps DARE just hadn't made in-roads into our PTA-less school?

By Blogger vespabelle, at 1:44 PM  

Too bad you weren't in the Latin Club? We got to wear neat togas! Actually an old bed sheet my Mom made into a toga. Vini, vidi, vici and amo, amas, amat is about all I remember. That and the cute girl I used to sit by.

By Anonymous billthecatlives, at 2:08 PM  

I feel your pain. I lettered in band and something called knowledge bowl. Though I don't know if these activities resulted in any tragic deaths of my contemporaries.

By Blogger lynn, at 3:19 PM  

Didn't y'all know Dan's favorite store in the enitre world is Archiver's? If you can't find him on the computer blogging up a storm, your next best bet is to try the scrapbook studio at Archiver's where he has inspired many a housewife to adorn her pages with ribbons, recipe cards and buttons off old shirts. If not there, try his mom's craft glitter room. I'm serious.

By Blogger brent, at 9:32 PM  


Your life is Sedaris-like in its painful but humorous adventures. Halloween, mullets, FFL, the awkward hand-slap at the gym, the wife-beater t-shirt discussion.

Please write a book! And include pictures!

By Anonymous Mplsman, at 8:24 AM  

oh yeah?

I'll see your FFL and raise you drama club, where I got a gold medal at state for doing a f***ing mime bit.

Plus the fact that I wore rainbow suspenders in junior high and had a tail.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 AM  

At least you fit in in your attempt to be clean and drug free...
I was an odd combo of failing out of school while peer helping and singing in the choir.
poor stacy,I didin't quite fit in smoking by the fence or at a pep fest...You should be happy you had your geek friends that bought into your persona...

By Blogger Stacy, at 10:23 AM  

Remember when we split a can of beer in your basement after a meeting, I think it was the meeting we talked about putting red ribbons on all the lockers? In your face F.F.L!!!! That was cool. Right??

By Blogger Kristina, at 12:19 PM  

I lettered in bowling.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:41 PM  

Future Leaders of America right here, buddy. Anthony Robbins shook this hand made me the success I am now.

By Blogger Bewareoftheblog, at 2:30 PM  

I lettered in ACE - Academic Competiion for Excellence. Who knew it was possible to letter in quiz bowl?? My father was so proud.

By Anonymous PocketChange, at 4:18 PM  

I was a mathlete. :(

By Blogger Tammy, at 4:29 PM  

I lettered in both Debate and Latin club. I was even a member of the National Latin Honor Society. Is it any wonder I'm in Library School now?

By Blogger Lynn, at 5:06 PM  

i want to add that i lettered in math club, science club and...varsity and competitive cheerleading. i am an enigma.

By Blogger Diana, at 6:12 PM  

I got a letter for Yearbook... yeah, that's success. Oh! And single handely ran our Key Club into the ground.

By Blogger elcynic, at 6:56 PM  

Can we get serious for a moment? I run a volunteer department for a mental health center. One of my job duties is to train puppeteers to put on shows about bullying to elementary students. At a show last week, the guidance counselor said she wasn't so worried about the little kids but her middle schoolers were giving her fits. They've targeted a handful of odd/nerd/poor/fat kids and are making their lives hell. She wanted to know if I had advice for her? One of the things I told her was to try to get the targets involved in some kind of activity. What I want to know is -- did these semi-geek organizations help you guys survive school or did it make it worse? Did you have any other strategies to overcome the bullying? I need to know -- since I was way too cool to letter in ANYTHING in school ;^)


By Blogger darcy, at 7:31 AM  

TOTALLY helped. There is a reason the fat kids hung out with the goth kids hung out with the gay kinds hung out with the band kids hung out with the journalism kids. There is total power in numbers.

By Blogger elcynic, at 12:08 AM  

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Nate Dogg, at 8:53 AM  

I had a t-shirt in high school that said, "D.A.R.E. to do drugs." I was in Art Club which consisted of Stoners and Nerds. We didn't qualify for any patches.

By Blogger Nate Dogg, at 8:55 AM  

Oh my gosh, such a great post.

Thanks to the damn D.A.R.E. nerds in our school district we had a week every year in middle and high school where it was MANDATORY that we prominently wear ribbons like the red one in the picture. The school NARCs carried extras all week to pin on anyone claiming to have lost theirs. I got suspended for the umpteenth time in 9th grade for wearing mine, which I had altered with markers to read "The Choice for Me - Drugs for Free." Which was ridiculous because I was one of the very few in my school who did not even abuse substances (well, other than tobacco and caffeine) in high school.

By Blogger stsundown, at 9:52 PM  

< Back to Blog

planetdan home
planetdan blog
dan's pics

A Slight Miscalculation
The Best of Aught Five
Happy New Year
100 Things You Don't Know
Back into the Frying Pan
The last of the xmas parties.
My Gift to You

jason mulgrew
beware of the blog
nyc babylon
sista c
b stacy b
trek geek scott
second toughest
and far away
chez lynne
the big lug
little voice

the superficial
boing boing
golden fiddle
girls are pretty
more cow bell
world of wonder



some ads