(Copyright 2000. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

August 28, 2000

Clique your heels: there's no place like high school

By Joe Wilbur

The Tattoo

It's wrong. It's horrid. But it's true. Now that you're in high
school you will inevitably be hurled headlong into a world of
fierce (if not always impenetrable) divisions.

You may have noticed the distinctions beginning in middle
school. Now the differences will be glaring, the boundaries
clear. You will find yourself traveling in groups, circles, and

Know where you stand and where you don't belong.

The following is a short sketch of what you can expect. My
statements are approximations and should not be assumed to be absolute. Individuality still
counts for something, you just can't get a credit in it.


The great myth about jocks is that they are irresponsible,
insensitive Neanderthals whose primary obsessions are video
games, alcohol and other nasty stimulants, date rape and
plowing over any guy on the playing field who's not wearing
the same colored jersey.

While there are scores of everyday students who will present
evidence supporting all of this, I'd have to say (though it
pains me) that this just isn't true.

It's important to know what it means to be a jock. You have
to understand that while there are people at every high school
who are faster, stronger and with better hand/eye coordination
than 90 percent of the general population, not all of them are

For easy reference, remember this rough but generally
accurate rule of thumb. It's hard to find a jock on the
following sport teams: tennis, golf, track, cross country, and

It almost makes sense when you think about it. These are
sports that don't ask you to be an automaton, knocking
people down and stepping on their faces, but force you to do
your personal best, often racing against records, clocks, or a
single, well-matched opponent.

You should also remember that however muscle bound or
vulgar they seem, there are jocks who, largely due to the
discipline learned in their sports, have a higher GPA than you
do, even if you're on the chess team.


The most important distinction between a jock and a band
nerd is that the band nerd isn't going to pound you for calling
them what they are. They are, in fact, proud.

You don't have to be in the band to be a band nerd.

If you're in the chorus or a singing group or act in the school
play, you should get used to the idea of being what you are.
It's not so bad. Really.

The training, action and stigma are at least as exhausting as
that of any jock, but the field trips and performances are a
blast, the group encourages diversity and there are chances to
meet interesting people, get applause, and win awards and

What may be the downfall of the band nerd (more so the
chorus variety than the band) is the constant struggle for the
spotlight, and feeling of competition.

While this group can be a tight knit family, they've also
never had a thick necked guy with a whistle barking in their
faces that there's no "I" in TEAM, and it can get messy and

What some people will do for art.


Meet numbers One, Two and Three in your class. Their
success consumes them.

They whiz through math, decipher Shakespeare, memorize
obscure battles in great wars, and somehow manage to find
time to play the piano, surf the net, and volunteer at a
hospital or soup kitchen.

They always know where their homework is, when the test is
coming, and where they stand academically.

They can't wait to get their report cards and, though, they
talk about how horribly they'll probably do in every subject,
their grades will always be higher than yours.

In fact, they'll always be higher than anyone's you know.

You're convinced that they're vulnerable to Kryptonite, that
there's something they can't do, some sort of secret. Here it
is: they're really bad at watching television.


Not every cheerleader is self-centered and vain. Not every
beauty queen spends hours on her hair.Not everyone with
perfect hair and teeth, designer clothes and a seamless,
carefree strut is without substance.

But you'd never know it from going to high school with

The telltalel signs are the following names: ABERCROMBIE

While anyone might buy these name brands, the Beautiful
People will make it a point to have them screaming visibly
from every available stitch of clothing as though they were
being paid for endorsement, walking billboards.

There are genuinely good people behind all of that armor a
lot of the time, so make an excavation of their tragically hip


If you want to learn how to play "Magic: The Gathering" or
"Dungeons and Dragons," find these people.

They'll usually be reading a fantasy novel, with an elaborate
cover, wearing dark and distinctive clothing, sometimes a
T-shirt endorsing a band you've never heard of.

Don't be afraid of them. They're usually the warmest, most
considerate eople around, and will welcome you into their
fold without question.

They're usually good with computers, probably great at
sculpture, rawing or painting, and just don't fit into any of the
other categories.


Oh, they can’t spell nihilism, but they’re passionate
adherents nonetheless. These are the students who not only
espouse but truly believe every destructive, disenfranchised
teenage cliché you’ve ever heard.

They honestly believe that the meaning of life is to get drunk
and or high, get laid and get the hell out of high school.

Everyone feels this way at times -- but the Nihilists just
don’t come out of it.

They can be good for a laugh, just pray you don’t pull them
as research partners.


They play three varsity sports. They’re at the top of their
class. They just won an award for their art project and have
the lead in the fall play.

They defy classification. Every time you think you have them
pegged, they reveal a side you couldn't have expected.

They are living proof of how ridiculous and juvenile this list
really is.

These are the kids who are going to your college of choice
on a full scholarship, the elusive "well rounded students."

Get friendly with them, quickly.