the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Class of Ninety-Three

Jon and I have been watching this relatively new reality show on the WB called “High School Reunion,” and I hate to even admit this, but it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. I watch it with my hands over my eyes and an emergency whiskey sitting an arm’s length away. I’m sure it’s not supposed to be scary, but my own ten-year high school reunion is later this year, and as I’ve mentioned to Sour Bob who was there in my AP English class when I wrote my final term paper on Joseph Smith and tried to prove through historical documents written by Mormons that the Mormon church was the only true church on earth, no amount of psychotherapy could prepare me for such a return to hell.

For the past couple of years I have had a recurring nightmare that goes like this: I receive a call from someone on the school board from my home town who says that because of a “glitch” in the system, everyone who graduated from my high school in 1993 has to repeat their senior year. It doesn’t matter that I have a college degree, and if I don’t go back and redo my senior year of high school, that college degree becomes null and void. I then begin screaming, usually outloud.

And in this nightmare, as in real life, it’s impossible to imagine a worse scenario. I would rather base jump off a two-story building than relive a single moment of high school. I’d much rather have that dream where you’re being chased by a crocodile as you run around in public naked but for half-socks.

Up until very recently it’s been easy to deny that I was ever the Heather who:
– once believed that Rush Limbaugh was a prophet of God.
– referred to Dan Quayle as “my man in Washington.”
– threw public hissy fits whenever a quiz or a paper came back with a 98 or 99 and not a perfect 100.
– saw Milli Vanilli in concert and believed they were actually singing.
– was reduced to fucking tears when I found out they actually weren’t.
– sang Bette Midler’s “The Rose” solo in front of 300 horrified fellow students.
– took The Cure very seriously.
– totally believed that “to be great is to be misunderstood.”
– frowned incessantly
– constantly told other people that they were being so immature.
– formed a “V” club with three fellow virgins, complete with secret handshake and ID card.
– wore combat boots because it was just so rebellious.
– confessed to my Bishop every time I kissed with tongue.
– said a prayer in my graduation speech because the evil ones were trying to take God out of the schools.
– when asked to submit a quote that said best how I wanted to be remembered chose, “Can’t keep my mind from the circling sky, tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I,” and thought, man, it doesn’t get any deeper than that.
– wore a padded bra
– stalked a certain boy so aggressively that he once spotted me spying on him from behind a tree in his front yard.
– truly believed that the election of Bill Clinton was a sign of the times as outlined in the Book of Revelations.

I could go on and on and perhaps talk about my one gigantic eyebrow or the nappy hair that was long enough to hit my waistline, but I think I’ve adequately illustrated why the majority of my graduating class might not be looking forward to the return of the grumpy, Book of Mormon-wielding vigilante.

  • Christine

    2003/02/06 at 9:30 am

    My God. I sang “The Rose” as a duet with my best friend from high school. Singing the rose in front of copious amounts of people is a rite of passage, me thinks.

  • faith

    2003/02/06 at 9:31 am

    Just be prepared for a complete Grosse Pointe Blank experience, and you’ll be fine. Take a flask of vodka with you, slap your nametag (which is sure to have your senior photo on it) inside your coat, and hide in a corner somewhere.
    Or maybe that only works for me.

  • Beerzie Boy

    2003/02/06 at 9:31 am

    Willingness to show big hair yearbook picture on blog: $10

    Willingness to admit to attending a Milli Vanilli concert: $20

    Willingness to admit to crying over the demise of Milli Vanilli: Shameless

  • Jory

    2003/02/06 at 9:37 am

    Those are some hot ass cheekbones.

    But please, at my school, there was a full-on “Virgin Lip” club, those who had never kissed anyone (I fessed up to thinking this was a club for those who had never performed oral sex, and I swear to god, the whole school practically disfellowshipped me.)

    Did I mention I went to school in Utah (did I need to?)

  • Buckosmack

    2003/02/06 at 9:39 am

    Sweetie, just don’t tell me you think that’s actually Brittney singing live up there and all is forgiven.

  • Sarahallison

    2003/02/06 at 9:39 am

    “constantly told other people they were being so immature”—eek and look at her now, and all her poop talk. (me playing the girl you hated from high school)

  • alison

    2003/02/06 at 9:44 am

    we had a “V” club, too, with a secret sign. you made a peace sign and put it near your eye, like so. it was supposed to be a secret sign, but i think everyone knew we were virgins.

  • esther

    2003/02/06 at 9:45 am

    whoa, girl. your normally refined and elegant bone structure has frighteningly fatless joan-rivers-esque proportions in that photo.

    also, i agree that High school is like the best and scariest show ever. that girl natasha may be a bitch but the tall girl is scary. “my future husband”? please.

  • Mr. TP

    2003/02/06 at 9:46 am

    you have come a looong way baby. i think its time to show all them naysayers that your not a virgin anymore. oh yeah you might want to get a “cammel back” for all the booze you will need. acutally i had a great time at mine, but only 4 people rememberd my name. weird.

  • Scott

    2003/02/06 at 9:47 am

    Ye gods, woman, how did you ever escape and become sane?

  • Jen

    2003/02/06 at 9:54 am

    Cheers to growing up!

  • hartwell

    2003/02/06 at 9:54 am

    Apparently scary song performances were a sign o’ the times… I sang “Let’s hear it for the boy” (from the Footloose soundtrack) at a school talent show, complete with original choreography and my own clothing design. Very, very scary.

  • the propagandist

    2003/02/06 at 10:02 am

    the bishops kiss with tongue?

  • Sheila

    2003/02/06 at 10:03 am

    Correlation between long, heavy hair then vs. bouncy, cheeky hair now?

  • The Drifter

    2003/02/06 at 10:04 am

    dooce, i love you like a sister now, but i get the feeling we would have HATED each other in high school, mainly because every mormon girl i went to school with was like you, and y’all just stressed me out way too much (one of many reasons i never plan to attend a high school reunion — another being nobody could ever live down the head fulla mullett i had)

  • joseph

    2003/02/06 at 10:04 am

    I have a similar kind of dream often. but i’m still in college, and it’s gradeschool I often have to go back to. For differant reasons each time. Sometimes it’s just a class… offered at the gradeschool…

    yeah, and there’s always a mix of kids from differant eras in my life. but the teachers, the teachers are all the same.

  • antisocial diva

    2003/02/06 at 10:11 am

    i watch that show too and it freaks me out how most of them haven’t changed and the ones that have, well, desperately want the respect of the “in crowd” which just blows my mind. i hated high school. i didn’t go to my ten year reunion. and it BUGS me that there are people out there who think that high school was the best time of their lives. blah. but, anyway, the latest show is being repeated tonight and i can’t wait!

  • Miss Mea-Mea

    2003/02/06 at 10:26 am

    Good Grief. What bomb went off in your life to do such a complete turnaround? And are you planning on pulling some sort of truly outrageous prank at the reunion to totally shock everyone whene they see you?

  • Katie

    2003/02/06 at 10:33 am

    My quote in the yearbook:

    “Don’t walk in the sun if your head is made of wax — Ben Franklin”

    I can’t imagine what possessed me (I can’t remember choosing that, either).

    Scary stuff. I was one of five (5!) of my classmates that went on to graduate from college, out of 65 total.

  • Splinter

    2003/02/06 at 10:45 am

    Actually, I think you look beautiful in that picture. And I like your hair. And I’m not kissing up to you. And and and.

    I also loved Milli Vanilli. And the sad part about it is that even though I found out they weren’t doing the actual singing, I still loved them. And I never did find out who was doing the singing for them. I love “Blame it ont he rain.” But that’s just me.

    I’m a loser like that. :o) I enjoyed your entry, Dooce.

  • Naaman

    2003/02/06 at 10:51 am

    I somehow managed to take many, many pictures for my yearbook, but only appeared in one very tiny spot. Thank god!

    Blame it on the rain, yeah, yeah!

  • Kate the Great

    2003/02/06 at 10:51 am

    Man, would I love to hear the story of your deconversion.

    As for your reunion–DON’T GO! Mine is coming up in two years, and I’m already steeling myself against the dark urge that longs to know what’s happened since that loathesome hot blonde overachiever got pregnant right after graduation.

    By the way, I am the meanest. In case you hadn’t noticed.

  • the mighty jimbo

    2003/02/06 at 10:51 am

    i was in a V club too!

    i just couldn’t get laid.

    not for lack of trying.

  • Naaman

    2003/02/06 at 10:53 am

    I am publicly making a vow never to quote Milli Vanilli ever again. That fucking song is stuck in my head now!

  • Splinter

    2003/02/06 at 10:55 am

    Mine too Naaman! But it could be worse — yesterday morning I woke up with the Juicyfruit jingle in my head and couldn’t get it out for many hours. I’m sure now it’s going to slip back into my mind and I’ll give myself brain damage trying to get it out.

    Get. Out. Damn. Song!

  • peggy

    2003/02/06 at 11:03 am

    I think you should go to your 10th. I missed mine but went to my 20th, only to discover that a guy I dated who used to look like Ted Bessell from “That Girl” had aged so much that he now looked like Leonard Nimoy. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • Sarah B.

    2003/02/06 at 11:08 am

    Is that some Caruso hot rolling system up in there?

    Your pout is flawless.

  • the media

    2003/02/06 at 11:21 am

    too damn swass.

  • sourbob

    2003/02/06 at 11:35 am

    My nightmares all involve a certain spinster AP Physics teacher. *Shudder* I swear to gawd, if you say her name, I’ll fly out to Utah and follow you around for weeks yelling out that AP English teacher’s name.

  • Kristin

    2003/02/06 at 11:37 am

    What’s scary is that I see so many parallels to my school experience…just replace Mormon with Catholic and Milli Vanilli with New Kids on the Block…of course they were really singing, but in a pretty embarassing way!

  • sjc

    2003/02/06 at 11:58 am

    That hair. THAT HAIR.

    I can’t believe I’m admitting this: I once made a mix tape for an object of my affections with a Debbie Gibson song on it. This was going to a girl who was big into U2. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.

    Oh, and skip the reunion. Remember: the ones most excited about it are the people you least want to deal with. And a high school reunion without a bar is just bad news.

  • anna jr.

    2003/02/06 at 12:00 pm

    i want to know a little bit more about what you are wearing.

    WHAT are you WEARING?

    ii am trying to grow my hair that long right now. at 32, i think it’s high time for some rapunzel braids.

  • Long Pauses

    2003/02/06 at 12:03 pm

    Oh, Dear Lord, what is it about Pink Floyd that continues to strike 18-year-olds as so perfectly profound? My senior quote:

    “Long you live, and high you fly, and smiles you’ll give, and years you’ll cry, and all you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be.”

    He hangs his head in shame.

  • the joker

    2003/02/06 at 12:05 pm

    in high school, it probably never would have occurred to you to put “Absolut Kurant” and “motherfucking truck” together in a sentence…referring to gwyneth’s boobs as “poor little saggers” probably woundnt have happened back then, either. But we love you now, dooce!

  • sourbob

    2003/02/06 at 12:07 pm

    My senior quote was a Replacements lyric.

    Look upon my indie cred and marvel.

  • bunny

    2003/02/06 at 12:08 pm

    Dang you, woman, you are making me feel OLD…(class of ’77)…it was amazing how old everybody ELSE looked at my 20th reunion. I think the only real reason to go to a reunion is to see what your old high school crush looks like now.

  • Paul Gutman

    2003/02/06 at 12:11 pm

    I know, I shouldn’t speak, having not gone to my fifh a year and a half ago, but there’s surely value in being able to point at the erstwhile-beautiful-people who are now some 60 lbs heavier EACH and seeing that they got what was coming to them.

  • Fab Morvan

    2003/02/06 at 12:20 pm

    Please accept our apology. Rob would have apologized to if he were alive today.

  • windowsill wendy

    2003/02/06 at 12:20 pm

    I feel your pain, and I shared almost all of the characteristics you listed above. Except I sang “Friends are Friends Forever” instead of “The Rose.” I think I even have the same hairdo in my Sr. photo. Ugh. Right now I’m raising a strong whiskey to growing out of all that. Cheers.

  • Alex

    2003/02/06 at 12:28 pm

    my Ten Year Reunion, back in 1999, ended in typical southside Chicago Public School fashion: a fight broke out at the banquet hall and security had to come to break it up.

    Sure brought back tons o’ memories of 5th period lunch…

  • anotherjen

    2003/02/06 at 12:29 pm

    I can’t even watch the preview for that High School Reunion show through my fingers. It makes me almost hyperventilate. I didn’t go to my 10 year. I just search people out on the net to see what losers all the popular kids have turned into. I am always disappointed when they are still popular 15 years later and this is after therapy. I suspect the crowds would part like the red sea for you at your reunion. Aren’t you famous everwhere lovely Dooce?

  • moose

    2003/02/06 at 12:51 pm

    …just wait til you’re 42 lookin’ back at 28…
    just gets better and better…way mo better.

  • Your Correction Officer

    2003/02/06 at 12:57 pm

    I have yet to have a reuinion come up yet. I was one of the biggest dorks in my highschool, with coke bottle glasses, fucked up hairstyles and a whole 130lbs soaking wet among other geek themes. I’m also proud to say that I’m one of the tv movie of the week style miraculous transformations in that I’ve corrected all that stuff and gotten ridiculously good looking and successful since I left. I’m going to enjoy my reuinion.

    Oh, and by then I’ll be a police officer, so I’m going to be repeating the line from Grosse Point Blank “I should have brought my gun” all night and mean it.

  • Your Correction Officer

    2003/02/06 at 12:59 pm

    Okay, seeing as how I misspelled it TWICE, I would like to correct it as REUNION.


  • Kukuberra

    2003/02/06 at 12:59 pm

    You’re pretty. Second: I love The Rose but tend to be more ironic about it now. Cause I’m a clever New Yorker. Third: The one thing Mormonism has given me I can’t seem to shake is the devout, testimonial, sincerity of a true believer. Although what I believe in now makes god cry.
    Utah sucks. 🙂

  • Anna

    2003/02/06 at 1:00 pm

    And here I was, happily living under the delusion that no one could truly believe Rush Limbaugh was a prophet of anything, let alone God.

    Thank heaven you saw the light.

  • Jenny

    2003/02/06 at 1:01 pm

    I skipped my 5-year, and I’ll probably skip my 10-year too. I went to a Utah high school as well, but super-mormon girls like you were always either a cheerleader or on the drill team. They didn’t talk to me, I was a dirty little hippy. In my senior year picture I had a hemp wrap hanging down my long hair, and a 3″ beaded bone choker around my neck. I think my senior quote was a Grateful Dead lyric.


  • Irk

    2003/02/06 at 1:07 pm

    Did you misspell “Quayle” on purpose?

    I checked to make sure I spelled “misspell” and “Quayle” properly.

  • Xanthan

    2003/02/06 at 1:20 pm

    Dooce, take that lovely bearded spouse, the former Congressman and a bottle of Maker’s Mark with you and hold court. At 10, half the folks will be real and they’ll be the ones who want to hang with you. The other half will still be poseurs, and they’ll provide your table with sport.
    Vive la Dooce, vive la difference!

  • fine, call me dirty

    2003/02/06 at 1:43 pm

    I have that same dream! I’m not kidding! for some reason, our entire class is back in high school and having to do one more senior year, and if you don’t finish it then everything is null and void, and it’s just so retarded and infuriating that I’m grumpy when I wake up . . . and I secretly boast “yeah right, like they’d ever get me back in that asylum, I don’t think so, bizzach!! I’d go kung fu on your ass!”, but inside, deep deep inside, I know that if they really made me, . . . . I’d . . . I’d do it. How pathetic is that.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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