Tuesday, September 4, 2012

School Role Call



by Casey Peterson (bio)

Image by Anthony Easton.

As another school year is approaching, and a summer of class reunions is concluding, I recently reflected on the important "roles" filled year after year by brave students. There are widely known group roles that I'll avoid addressing. These include the athlete group, the cheerleader group, the academic group, the band group, etc. Inclusion and conformity make it comfortable and cool to be part of a group, and insane amounts of time, energy, and money are spent trying to "fit in" one of them. However, at schools across the country, a few "niche" roles are filled that add color and culture to every campus.

The following are my six favorites:

6 The Old Car Troll. Each school parking lot is incomplete without a young male trolling the parking lot in a fixed-up old car. Models are usually from the 1970's, painted a bright color, have big tires and loud music blaring, and 99.9% of the time are captained by a mullet-sporting, muscle-shirt wearing champion. These charismatic cruisers favor wraparound sunglasses, and make their presence known by loud revving of engines and frequent "peel outs" in the parking lot. Energy drinks (preferably in a 64-ounce mug size) and multiple amplifiers are a must to fill this role.

5 The Martial Arts Master. Swiftness, skill, and stealth define this sneaky warrior. You may catch a glimpse of a Chinese star, a pair of nun-chucks, or a butterfly knife comb as you walk past the locker of the class sensei. Beware of standing too close, as at spontaneous times he will break out with kicks, chops, or crouches. Don't pick on the martial arts master, you can tell he's dying to demonstrate his "moves." His notebooks are most likely filled with Asian characters or sketches of hand-to-hand combatants.

4 The Break Dancer. This is the keeper of the timeless art and tradition of break dancing. This double-jointed jammer is jiving and jerking wherever he goes. Whether in the lunchroom, the library, or in his personal performance pedestal of school dances, the beat is alive and well as he moonwalks, waves, and spins through life.

3 The Thespian. This is a role that can be filled by either gender, and well may be filling parts of both genders in the next school production. Emotions run high for these climatic characters who feverishly hone the art of drama to fanatical levels. If other students threaten or offend these fabled fellows, expect a diatribe of exquisite diction unmatched in other areas of school, for they are easily provoked and aroused to anger.

2 Mr. Muscle. Every school has a ripped rebel whose days basically alternate between chugging protein shakes and weight lifting. If allowed, the majority of this brute's classes would be weightlifting, weight training, sports performance, and sports psychology. Coaches work hard at getting this brawny beefcake onto their team, but he makes it very clear that cardio and strength training are his only game in town. If you want to connect with Mr. Muscle, he's always open to supplement suggestions or tutoring.

The Cowboy. Tight wranglers, Justin boots, a Copenhagen ring on his back pocket, and a big truck adorned with bumper stickers with such gems of wisdom like: "Wrangler butts drive me nuts," "Save a horse, ride a cowboy" and political views expressed in various vorms of peeing Calvins. It is likely cowboy boy isn't actively involved in agrarian life or has no bovine association outside of FFA judging contests, but he loves the cowboy look and aspires to be the next Marlboro man. A daily challenge in the parking lot is to avoid crashing into Old Car Troll boy and/or out-blast Troll's car music with Clint Black, Toby Keith, and Garth Brooks. Don't look for the cowboy wannabe from October - December, as he will be involved in pheasant, duck, deer, and any other special draw hunts.

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