Once upon a time there was a high school. It was a beautiful high school, and rich in history, being more than 200 years old, and everybody in town wanted to attend it. With its fine roots in liberal education and the almost unprecedented power over their own destinies that it bestowed upon its students, it was unlike any other high school in the district, or indeed, the state. At the turn of the last century, whole families, many of them Irish and Eastern European, moved across town so that they’d be zoned for it. The high school welcomed them with open arms, but the students weren’t so kind. It is my sad duty to report that many of these new students were beaten up, or had their lockers vandalized. Thankfully, things settled down, and the high school was once again a harmonious whole.
In the 40s, there was a shameless and dangerous power grab by a school superintendent a few districts over. He was intent upon eventually absorbing every school in the state into his district, under his control, and decreeing with a wave of his hand who could stay and who could not. Fortunately, the president of the student body, a well-liked disabled guy named Frank, worked tirelessly with the other schools until the superintendent was voted safely out of office.
But our story begins about fifteen years ago with the election of a Jock to Student Body President. The Jock was a nice guy, everybody liked him, and there was no denying that he had charm. He was a great guy to grab a burger with, and, whoever you were, you felt like the Jock knew where you were coming from. At this time – actually, to this day – the Jock was going steady with someone who defied high school logic.
Instead of dating a cheerleader, as guys of his ilk so often do, the Jock had chosen a militant, angry feminist, who, until she began seeing the Jock, was known to the student body at large only as “That Chick Who Stands In Front Of The Cafeteria Yelling Ayn Rand Quotes At The Top Of Her Lungs”.
Even though many students found her abrasive, they couldn’t deny that the Jock’s Girlfriend knew politics, so they hesitatingly took her along with him. There were rumors that the Jock was seeing other girls on the side, everybody heard the rumors, even the Jock’s Girlfriend, but most chose to ignore them. The whole school exploded, though, when it turned out that the Jock was Friends With Benefits with a freshman girl named Monica. There was some fallout, talk of expulsion, but the Jock and his girlfriend stood their ground. The students were a little confused when the Jock’s Girlfriend, with all her talk of feminism and equality, didn’t leave him for his transgression. Instead, she affected a “stand by your man” attitude about the whole thing, a concept her feminist girlfriends weren’t sure if they should take offense to.
The next Student Body President was from Texas, he, too, was a jock, but with a Cowboy sensibility. The only person to run against him was former Student Body Vice President, a Math Geek. Well, I say the only person, but Ralph ran too. Ralph, an intense loner, ran for Student Body President every election, always garnering no more votes than he had friends. Ralph had Big Ideas about what the high school could be, and had even caused some huge shakeups in the Driver’s Ed program, penalizing students for not wearing seat belts. But Ralph kind of creeped out the other students with his Big Ideas, and, perhaps sadly, was never elected. (more…)