Forum / They only gave me a 1st-Sergeant's rank my senior year at Academy because they didn't want to offend the Buckleys — ha ha ha ha haaaaa!

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    Of course, I had already finished my requirements junior year, gone to Yale with Ad and Nate and heard someone say "Once you get in, you can just write mediocre papers and get C's — you still graduate with a *Yale* degree!" and taken acid that summer, 5 hours' drive from home, at a Buffalo, NY Grateful Dead™ show on the 4th of July. Of course, I had also played "Exit" from U2's "The Joshua Tree" on a Les Paul™ for money in front of people — actually, it was for a bunch of HIGH-SCHOOLERS, who *all*, when the SECOND NOTE of Pete Baldes's bass replicated Adam Clayton's, RECOGNIZED the song, which is a *way cool* album track that nobody needs to know, except it's like a Doors or Who track that's buried in an album and you can go to someone, "YEAH — that's *COOL*!" because they know it and took the trouble to find out about it ... but it was *OUR GENERATION*. Even if the song was just octaves — or just because of it — it was a high in my life that I never came down from. *This is POSSIBLE*. This is what it *FEELS* like. It's *WORTH* it. People can still *DO* this. Etc.[*]

    People might look at me weird, but our campus was like a college anyway[**]. Plus it was so unusual to do what I did, I felt like I was way cool[***]. How could I turn it down??

    Plus, there was that guy Mickey when I was an 8th-grader doing that difficult military-marching move with the guns tossed in the air that we won that year's competition for (see "Crouching Schuyler, Hidden Dragon[****]), who was busted down to private, and had to wear that "A.A." pin (pre-RANK, on your shoulder, as a young-'un ... ), on his sleeve all year 'round ... the joke is, it would have been pretty humiliating, but he didn't seem to CARE! Some of these guys were post-"Animal House," it's true.

    It's all in how you carry yourself.




    [*] - ed.
    [**] Sold soft pretzels in the Buttery™(/cafeteria), had "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "The Simpsons," and "Xenophobe" video games in the student lounge, because those were the ones you could opt-in and and die-OUT of without interrupting others's play ... it was a long way from '86, graduating in 1990 (of course, we also had Senior "Sign Out" privileges — any Senior did — where we could "sign out" for a free period, and go to McDonald's™, grab a smoke, do a bong hit, sell crack to teenagers ... just KIDDING, of course!!! but 40 free min., ahhhh what a LUXURY of trust and self-reliance #thankyouRALPHWALDOEMERSONandROBERTPIRSIGformakingusPREPSCHOOLKIDSfeelGREAT ;) #YEAH ), but still — "Ferris Bueller's" had come out the summer before we started, so it was like it had already gotten the ball rolling. '86 was a long way from '83, I should say — the irony wasn't there yet, the sense of "what are we doing all this for??", the dressing-up, the weird military postures from CENTURIES ago ... post-Vietnam, and of course WATERGATE, and, ha-ha, let us not forget, MTV™, it seemed like the adminstration/faculty had to grudgingly admit a LOT ... So. We still had to do our homework, but it was hard to imagine what it would have been like before. *I wouldn't have LIKED it*, that's for sure — and this place is like the St. Ann's/Exeter/Andover of Upstate NY, with a girls' school across the street and everything ... who would go?? Who would go. #HMM Well, BUCKLEYS™ would, obviously — ha! - ed.
    [***] Really, it was a lesson in nonchalance, and it was too hard to turn down — the *whole year is optional*. But really, it wasn't that at all, that was the after-effect: there's a momentum there, and breaking it either way doesn't just feel weird, you're *doing something else*. So while I was happy to just show up and take English classes (there were 2 1/2 more to take) and do a Photography class and try my hand at Calculus (NOT a good idea -- DIDN'T work out!!!) and what-all, it was really that it was too weird to graduate as a Junior, and I wouldn't agree with the people who did that, or the people who LAUDED you, or the people who thought it "meant" something. In reality, I took 4 1/2 years of English the last 2 years of high school — which is pleasurable, amiable, non-FRANTIC reading, and a *LOT* of it (along with all of Stephen King up 'till "The Dark Half," scattered issues of "National Lampoon" and "Rolling Stone," etc. miscellany you know ... !!!) which lead to me being PREPARED TO take the "Intro. to Hum." class at the Univ. of Chicago, taught by Joe ("Little Red Schoolhouse" -- grad. school course), who had us do 5 PAGES DOUBLE-SPACED TYPED every week and 20 FOR "WAR AND PEACE" at the end which I did every week without getting any extentions, maintaining a solid "B-/B/B-" average set for three trimesters which is perfectly fine! YOU'RE ALREADY THERE, SO WHY NOT READ THUCYDIDES AND "THE FEDERALIST PAPERS" AND YES, TROTSKY TOO AND KNOCK YOURSELF OUT!!! None of this was intentional or could have been anticipated ... except for the fact that in my confidient lassitudinous-ness, I neglected to apply anyplace else, got ONE yes at the top-school, 5-star level (even if it WAS the "safety school" for people at the Undergrad. level -- in practice!), and I had to leave the Northeast without going to Georgetown, Duke or the state of California ... So. So be it! #ISTILLHATESTEVEALBINI #BUTIWANTOTOKILLTHEBAFFLERANDEVERYONEINITLIKEITSASHIPTHATSHOULDDROWN #HAHAHAHAHA #ANDNOWYOUKNOWHY Word up. - ed.
    [****] Kirkus Review: "A funny, caustic tale of a slacker’s dejected resistance to mainstream success." ( And of course, purchase here ($2.99, Kindle): ( - ed.

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