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Columnist confesses to former life as a teenager

APRILL BRANDON

By APRILL BRANDON
Sept. 7, 2010 at 4:07 a.m.


This past holiday weekend, while scores of Americans were celebrating Labor Day by laboring away on their couches watching the "Pawn Stars" marathon on the History Channel (you know who you are), a horrific event transpired approximately 1,350 miles away. Media coverage was minimal, but as far as I know, no deaths were reported and no one was physically injured.

However, the death toll to egos and individual self-esteem was unfathomable.

Right and left, ideals of staying young forever and still being hip were unmercifully slaughtered. Delusions of having a good metabolism (or just "a" metabolism) and having absolutely no traces of male pattern baldness were shattered. And regrets about the hours and hours spent laying out in the sun without even a fleeting thought of using SPF were rampant.

So just what was behind this atrocity?

Reality.

Yes, last Saturday marked my - (involuntary shudder) - 10-year high school reunion. For those of you playing at home, that means it has officially been a decade since I took a daily nap in history class and was able to squeeze my buns into a size six.

Now granted, I wasn't able to actually go due to the fact that plane tickets to Ohio now cost the same as the operating budget of a small to mid-sized state, but in this day and age, you don't really need school-sanctioned get-togethers every five years to catch up on the lives of your former classmates. Technically, all you need is an e-mail address and a clueless boss at work so you can surf social networking sites all day.

Luckily, working for a newspaper means stalking people on Facebook is considered "research." So using my highly developed investigative skills (re: mouse scrolling finger), I was able to discover just what the majority of my classmates have been up to from more than 1,000 miles away.

The girl I smoked (and then hacked and wheezed) my first cigarette with? Now married and a devoted mother of two.

The guy who drove the get-away car when a group of us toilet-papered our chemistry teacher's house? Now a teacher himself with a master's degree under his belt.

The girl who used to throw wild parties? Now a kindergarten teacher.

The quiet loner who sat in the back of the class? Now a lawyer with his own law firm.

And the prom queen? Now a semi-successful humor columnist who gets paid to write about trivial junk like a 10-year high school reunion she didn't even attend (they never did find any proof I stuffed that ballot box).

It's enough to blow one's mind. Quite frankly, I never thought the majority of us would live to the age of 19, let alone become productive members of society. We were just so incredibly and unimaginably stupid. In other words, we were teenagers.

For instance, we used to shoot off fireworks out a car window while driving down the road at 70 miles per hour. We'd sneak out of our houses in the dead of night to go do random, not-well-thought- out teenager things with other teenagers. We'd go to house parties thrown by some dude who graduated three years ago and was known only as "Snake." And when our teachers were busying lecturing us about the importance of studying hard, we were busying passing notes (hey kids, "notes" are a primitive form of texting using paper and pen).

And yet, here we are. We are all responsible adults, for all intents and purposes (although the jury is still out on the prom queen). It just goes to show you that you can never tell what a 16-year-old will be like when they're on the verge of 30.

There's a lot of hand-wringing and doom and gloom rhetoric about teenagers these days. From how they dress to their bad attitudes to their general lack of respect for anyone more than the age of 20, teens as a group are constantly being persecuted for being, well, teens.

Granted, it's only natural. The need to whine about anyone aged 13-18 is ingrained in us from years and years of evolution. Even back in the primitive nomad days, older members of the tribe would moan and groan about how their teenagers weren't gathering enough roots and berries and wore their loin clothes way too low on their behinds.

But if the 2000 graduating class of Houston (pronounced "House-ton"...seriously) High School is any indication, we shouldn't worry too much about them. The majority will turn out just fine, and since time is the great equalizer, before you know it, they will all be on the verge of 30 and complaining how teens today are so rude and don't appreciate good classic music like Justin Bieber.

Aprill Brandon is a reporter for the Advocate. She has proof the Homecoming Queen rigged the election.

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