Class of '78: 'God bless a milk cow!'

Friday, June 13, 2008

On June 2 I celebrated a milestone. It has been 30 years since my graduation from MCHS.

High school memories come flooding back. The student newspaper featured several individuals, including Principal Jerry Hatten, as Coneheads. I drafted custodian Winford Tucker to appear in a comedy skit. Two students (Bill Lowe and Mike Watson?) hopped aboard the garbage truck and waved goodbye to Miss Florence Fitzpatrick.

Participants in a celebrity roast for teacher Jerry Holt whipped out bottles of Windex to use on his shiny head. The seniors made an excursion to exotic Horton Park for their class trip. Someone in Señor Shanklin's Spanish class repeatedly popped Ophelia Slaughter with a rubber band because they knew with a dead certainty that she would exclaim, "God bless a milk cow!"

From time to time I see some of my old classmates. Like most of Adam Sandler's movie characters, a few of them have never really grown up.

But then again, do any of us ever really outgrow high school? Maybe we no longer worry about proms and homecoming floats and quadratic equations and fake I.D.'s, but there are numerous similarities between our "glory days" and now. Many facets of middle-aged life are just natural extensions of school.

For example:

-- In 1978 you were trying to figure out the reasons behind the Franco-Prussian War. Today, you're trying to figure out the reasons behind entering the den. ("It's on the tip of my tongue!")

-- In 1978 you were dissecting frogs. Today, you're driving over your grandkid's turtle.

-- In 1978, you were working two part-time minimum wage jobs to put yourself through college. Today, you're working two part-time minimum wage jobs to put your kids through college.

-- In 1978 you saw your hopes of a championship season going down the drain. Today, you watch your hair do the same thing.

-- In 1978, you couldn't wait to get out of school and away from the hall monitor. Today, you work in a surveillance camera factory.

-- In 1978, you bragged about making out behind the bleachers. Today, you brag about collecting aluminum cans behind the bleachers.

-- In 1978, you made frequent trips to the bathroom. Today, you still do, but not for smoking.

-- In 1978 you wished the summer was longer. Today, you wish your arms were longer. ("I still say it wouldn't kill them to make a large-print edition of National Geographic.")

-- In 1978 you thought Eric Clapton was God. Today, you're 30 years closer to finding out if you were right. (*Gulp*)

-- In 1978 you were diagramming a sentence. Today, you're serving a sentence. ("But I sent her an alimony check just last year…")

-- In 1978 you were snapping towels in the shower. Today, you're snapping hips in the shower.

Still, take pride in the fact that sometimes progress is made. In 1978 you had to choose between coughing up your lunch money or getting a wedgie. On the other hand, today you get to choose between … Obama and McCain??

You will stay after class and write 100 times: "Suddenly I'm nostalgic for Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford."

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