I have never seen an uncircumcised penis. I went to eat at Beppo’s this evening and there were a bunch of pictures of exposed men in the bathroom, and it occurred to me that I have never seen an uncircumcised penis, even on a baby, or even a picture of one. I can’t even imagine what it might look like. It’s that much of a mystery to me.
An actual quote: “People always say that Serra is 50% Christian. It’s more like 30%.” I don’t know what to think of this.
So to continue a previous mymind that I never finished, we were supposed to do a report on California, and there were 4 parts to it, but Jeremy told us we were only supposed to do 2 of them. So I had to spend a lot of time on the bench while I finished it. We had a bunch of reports like that in elementary school. In 4th grade it’s on California, then you move on to countries. So in 5th grade, I decided to do Guam. It’s not strictly a country, but it was good enough. The reasoning behind this is, I don’t really want to do that much work, and there really can’t be that much on Guam, right? Well I was right, and there was basically nothing in the San Jose Public Library system on Guam. I think I found in the whole system about 12 paragraphs on Guam. Based on which I had to write a 30 page report or something like that. So I had to make some creative conclusions. Like there would be a picture of a hut from some tribal island, and it occurs roughly in the same part of the book as the section on Polynesia, which Guam is in, so I drew a picture of that hut, and labeled it “a traditional Guamian hut.” Which was good because that took up a page worth in my report. I don’t think any of the stuff I wrote was strictly necessarily untrue, just creative.
At any rate, the next year I got tired of having no info so I did the U.S.S.R. Yikes. When I was younger, I took in and spit out info pretty well, but didn’t know how to really, really, analyze it and thus could not really separate the crucial from the secondary, in terms of information, so I did not know how to eliminate information I got about U.S.S.R from the report, so I ended up having the longest report ever.
I remember at the time how I thought that the class and the work was like the hardest stuff ever. But now I could probably spit that stuff out in like a week. It’s weird when I think about it. I don’t know if that makes sense to you. But it’s weird.
I started thinking about the past again because I had lunch with someone today who grew up in San Jose and started talking about old things and it just started me thinking.
I think Junior High was one of the most fun times of my life. It was weird because growing up, I basically had the same friends for all of elementary school. I mean, they weren’t all the same, but mostly all the same people. So junior high was like the first time I was confronted with a bunch of new people that I did not already know. That’s really a big deal, I think, when that first happens. Anyway, I still remember the first guy I met, Ian Atchison. He asked me my name and I said Danny but he mistook that for Kansas. It’s weird how I remember random stuff like that. At any rate, we had this ongoing joke throughout junior high where he called me Kansas and I called him Iowa. Something like that. Random.
A lot of stuff changes from elementary school to junior high. It’s kind of weird how that happens too, because as people we’re not that much different, just one year removed, but I guess the different environments just make us act so much differently. For example, there’s a lot more swearing in junior high. You almost never heard a student swear in elementary school, but it was everywhere in junior high. Another thing was relationships. Tons more in junior high. Also the guy-girl interaction. At least at my elementary school, guys and girls didn’t really interact, unless you were part of the “cool” group, which I wasn’t. But in junior high, suddenly you interact all the time. Also a weird thing.
Another big thing was P.E. because we had to change for it. It was the first time I had to change in front of people who weren’t my family. I was really embarassed about it, and did everything I could to minimize the nudity in the locker rooms. I never had to expose myself, but it was still down to the underwear, which is pretty embarrassing. I think a bunch of people were embarrassed about it, and it’s a funny thing how people try not to act like they are even though they are. Like the first day of P.E. when we had to change in the locker rooms, a bunch of guys are kind of embarrassed to take off their pants, but they all try and act like it’s natural since everyone else seems to be thinking it’s natural but no one really feels that way. In a few weeks, it is natural, but that first week is always funny. Seventh grade is really funny because all the seventh graders see the eighth graders doing things and treating things so naturally and casually that honestly, they are not comfortable and natural with, so they have to act like it’s natural although it isn’t yet. Actually a lot of growing up is kind of like that. For a while you just kind of do what everyone else seems to be doing naturally and pretend you’re down with that until eventually you are. Kind of weird. Anyway, I eventually got used to stripping in front of other males and now I have problems not stripping in front of males. Should I have wrote that? I am a heterosexual.
There’s also a big transition from junior high to high school also. The things I remember in particular was the rampant smoking in high school, and kissing on campus. I just thought, as a junior high schooler, that both of those things were just bold. I’ll actually never forget that, how everyone at Oak Grove seemed to smoke and make out in public. On school grounds.
There’s a lot of random stuff I remember about junior high. It was just weird how people changed from elementary school. I guess it’s just maturing, but it’s weird. I think in elementary school, basically everyone is nice, well not nice but innocent. Still a child. It’s just kind of shocking to me when I see that transition from childhood to adulthood. Like when I reached junior high I remember hearing about I guy I used to know in elementary school who just totally changed. Like in high school he grew out a moustache and was a druggie and got this girl pregnant. And I thought how I couldn’t believe this was the same person I used to know, even though I didn’t know him well. It’s something I still think about, how people change like that once they leave their environments, or how much an environment changes a person. I just feel like looking at my elementary school class, you couldn’t really predict who would end up doing well and who would end up messed up. I mean there were certain indicators, but a lot of it seems random. It just makes me sad, I guess.
Which reminds me of one thing that always made me bitter. I always felt the reason a lot of kids just kind of got messed up was because of the environment, the school, and everything. I was in a pretty poor school and I always hated those richer schools. Like in particular, Steinbeck. It was just so unfair to me how they had all these additional resources like better libraries, those electronic things in the libraries so people couldn’t take stuff (I don’t even know if the high school, Oak Grove, had those), the fact that the libraries had stuff people might want to take, the fact that these schools, even junior high schools, had tennis courts, even swimming pools and we had nothing, how much better the facilities were, etc. It just kind of pissed me off. And whenever we had direct competition with them, which didn’t really happen with sports, but with stuff like band or whatever, it was like, of course you’re going to to better, you’ve gotten all this advantage. Like better instruments, facilities, training, etc. It’s just totally unfair. And the thing was, they weren’t inherently better at anything, it’s just they got all these advantages. Like of course if you start band class in 4th grade you’re going to be better than us who start in 6th grade, regardless of your talent. So it just kind of sucked being at a poor school, and that’s something I realized in junior high.
I kind of understand why things are that way, but like I said, I felt with the people I knew, that some people just kind of got lost in life because of their environment, in particular the messed up junior high and high school environment and that was sad to me. And it just kind of sucked that the people who needed the most help, I guess those in the lower income areas, just kind of get ignored. They have their high schools and everything but the focus and emphasis is just so different. Like vocational training is big there, vs. the college preparatory attitude of other schools. And like, at Stanford, it’s just weird to me how I know these particular schools, thoughout the nation, that everyone seems to come from. I’m not making sense anymore but it’s hard to express how unfair the difference in education is to people. I guess I’m hardly one to talk, since I went to a “College Preparatory” (which it really isn’t, by the way), but I guess my peevedness is more on behalf of those people I used to know, rather than for me myself. It’s like with that system we’re dooming people to perpetuate unsuccess and people on top don’t seem to care.
Another thing about junior high was drugs. I guess it’s the first time I met people who did them. I remember one guy in particular, he was a nice guy, just always kind of high with that weird look you get in your eyes and stuff. You know in junior high how everyone knows some guy who does / deals drugs. He was the guy for me. It’s depressing now that I think about it. But junior high is like the time when people desperately try to grow up. And that’s one of the sad side effects, the drug thing.
There’s a bunch of random stuff I remember. I guess that nerdy class thing gets perpetuated in junior high, except now you switch classes. But the people in your class, if you’re smart, pretty much stayed the same. I think first period I had P.E. Mr. Locasio. It’s sad but he actually died of a heart attack when I was in eighth grade. And I thought about what friends he had and I just didn’t know. And I thought about my interaction with him and it was virtually nil. The interaction I will remember having with him was one day in the library between classes when me and Yash were giving sports trivia to him and I think Mr. Boisse and we were being dorks. He was big on sports trivia and would sometimes ask in class, like who hit the second most home runs in 1961. Anyway, this one time, we were asking questions (me and Yash to Mr. Locasio and Boisse) and they were too good so we started getting ludicrous like, “On page 64 of the Sports Almanac, how many wrinkles are there on Sugar Ray Leonard’s side?” We were cracking each other up but they thought we were idiots. We were.
Mr. Boisse taught science. He was an all right guy but a little on the meaner side and I really wanted to have Mr. Beninger. Mr. Beninger was a really nice guy and he looked just like Michael Gross, the father on Family Ties. He even had an autographed picture with him in his science room. Also, for some unexplicable reason he wasn’t my teacher but he knew me and he loved me. Anyway, they switched off 7th and 8th grade science each year, which meant you had the same science teacher both years, and I had Boisse.
One thing about Boisse was that I used to tell him jokes after class. I don’t know why I did that but I did. Lame jokes too. Just like now, I used to collect lame jokes. I actually had a file of them on my Apple IIe. At any rate, it was an interesting class, and he kind of had a biting sense of humor, so we joked back with him. Anyway, one day we get a new student, Peter Yoon (gosh, is that your name, Pete? I can’t even remember). A funny guy. Anyway, we meet him and there’s that Korean connection thing and so I tell him before his first class in Boisse to tell him, “Boy, you’re ugly.” I thought it would be funny. Anyway, I guess that day Boisse was not in a good mood and when Peter said it, he didn’t smile at all. Whoops! Can you kind of imagine that? You get a new 7th grade kid in your class and one of the first things he says to you is, “Boy you’re ugly.” My doing. Anyway, he was in the doghouse for the rest of the year and I always felt bad about that. Ruining Peter in the eyes of Boisse, I mean.
Another thing about junior high is that I got more competition. Michelle Haydel had left before 5th grade, so it was mostly just me and Yash in 5th and 6th grade. Suddenly in 7th grade there was all this other competition. But I was smarter than all of them, clearly. I mean, it’s arrogant, but true. There was some, though. Like I think what was her name? Stacey Ngo or something. She had a better GPA than me because of stupid P.E. but she wasn’t in all the smart classes. Who else. I can’t remember. One guy I do remember was this guy I first saw in science, Michael Chew, I think. This really quiet, slight guy, kind of reminds me of Eric Yang now that I think about it, but pretty brilliant. He had skipped a couple grades or something. I welcomed competing with him, but he ended up moving schools. But I still remember him.