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Hey Teach

My sophomore year at MCHS gave me a gift I'd cherish for a lifetime. Prior to the tenth grade, I invested many waking hours in pursuit of coolness. The goal of acceptance seemed within reach many times but faded away before I could secure my grasp. It always felt like I had something to prove, but that something remained a mystery and with good reason. My epiphany struck me as hard as Rocky pounced on that Russian dude in the fourth film. There was no reason to establish any kind of reputation because I'd finally grown to accept my 'dorkhood.'

I embraced my newfound freedom as tightly as Mrs. Dinsmore gripped that paddle three years ago before my feet left the ground. Sure, many kids didn't appreciate my vision, but maybe they weren't supposed to be part of my energy. No one can afford to constantly pretend outside of a play because that lifestyle comes at a high price. The friendships I pursued were unique and authentic. No doubt other circles felt the same, but I was a square peg, and my secret motto became 'Dorks Unite.' It's possibly the silliest thing my mind ever cooked up, but it enabled me to sleep at night.

Tonight is the big night! We've rehearsed for 'Hey Teach' every day after school for more than a month, and we're as ready as we will ever be. Most of the cast has gathered in the art room for makeup before the big show. Mike and I can barely hold our composure as some of the girls apply our heavy eyeliner while Mrs. Todd oversees the whole ceremony. All year long, Michael and I made a competition out of every speech in class. The goal was to see who could be the most absurd and still get an A. English was one of the few courses where I could give him a run for his money.

The manly hug from Rob shook me a bit earlier, but I'd grown used to his overabundance of affection, and the injuries were only minor. It's kind of strange to see my buddy Scott in the play. I'm not sure if I convinced him to do it or if he got bored whenever the rest of us signed up for this stuff and decided to join in on his own. All the ladies seem smitten with Frank, the foreign exchange student. I've tried out a German accent, but it never got me anywhere with the females. We have a pretty good cast this year, and everyone knows their lines. I'll never forget all the fun we've had leading up to the special evening.

My biggest obstacle is pretending to be a bully. It's challenging to threaten Tammy because she is exceptionally friendly whenever I run into her. Each time I attempted to intimidate other cast members at rehearsal, I immediately felt the urge to apologize. The true thespian in me eventually managed to shine through in the end. Being the bad guy may not have been my ideal role, but I made the best of it like everyone else. It all reminded me of the lesson I'd learned months before and cemented my belief that we're all better off being ourselves.

(Listen to the podcast here)

The best part about today is that all of us showed up. We arrived ready to do our best, and the experience of working together would last a lifetime. Who knows what the future will bring, but we all share a bond at this moment, and that's priceless. Now that Stacy, Jennifer, and Tammalyn have complimented me on my lipstick, it's time to terrorize my classmates under the lights on stage. Hopefully, they all recognize how much I care about each of them. Perhaps I'll write it all out one of these days when I have grey hair and back problems. I can't tell them now, well, because that's just weird. Dorks unite!