Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Life on the V-List: Ancient Student Archetypes

Welcome to a new feature here at Unbagging the Cats. It's all about lists. It's all about something easy for Val to post when her artesian well of creativity is beset with a low water table.

Today's list is not about ancient students. No septuagenarian college freshmen here. It's about ancient archetypes from Val's childhood school days. You know. Back in the days of transistor radios and polyester stirrup pants and plastic headbands and blue, cloth-covered three- ring binders and black Converse low-tops and duck-and-cover air raid drills.

Every classroom was required to have the following archetypes:

1. The Judy Hensler-that kid, usually a girl, who constantly informed the teacher of goings-on that the rest of the students would rather she remained ignorant of. "Billy pulled Susie's hair in the cloakroom when we were putting on our galoshes."

2. The Cool Dude-that boy every guy wanted to be, and every girl wanted a note from. In my class, it was Wes. He wasn't a genius, wasn't wealthy, wasn't particularly good-looking, wasn't a bad boy, and wasn't a goody-goody. But he had a certain je ne sais quoi that made him popular.

3. The Volunteer-"Can I go out and clap the erasers? I'll get some wet paper towels and clean the board for you. Don't worry about us while you're gone--I'll take the names of anybody who talks. Can I write them on the board? Do you need someone to pass out the workbooks? I'll go get the crate of milks for afternoon snack."

4. The Outcast-a quiet kid who never reacted to insults, or made any effort to befriend other quiet kids. Never made any waves at all, frankly. Not even to raise a hand to go to the bathroom, instead tinkling inconspicuously while seated at her wooden flip-top metal desk, until The Judy Hensler informed the teacher. The Outcast's name was most often followed by a chorus of, "Ew. I wouldn't touch her with a ten-foot pole."

5. The Outlaw, Male Version-a breaker of rules, most often sneaky in creating mayhem. Been finding crumbled balls of pink powdered soap on the floor? He's your man. Check inside his desk, in the pencil tray. There's whole row of future ammunition lined up next to his Ticonderoga #2. The kid who would grab his jockstrap out of his black vinyl zip-top gym bag and put it over a girl's head during indoor lunch recess on a rainy day, while the teacher stood just outside the door, chatting with the teacher across the hall.

6. The Outlaw, Female Version-a mouthy backtalker, not at all sneaky, who made her displeasure known to everyone within a six-classroom radius. We were fortunate enough to have two. Of course they were sworn mortal enemies, who entertained us with daily arguments and fistfights twice a year. Bev, the alpha outlaw, once made the teacher so mad that she stomped over to Bev's desk (front row, first desk, naturally) and grabbed her by the hair, at which time she attempted to drag Bev out of the desk to the principal's office, but Bev's knees kept bouncing up against the bottom of the desk when she was lifted by her hair. Our teachers didn't take no guff! That's a fact, Jack!

7. The Sweet Girl-loved by all, protected by all, friends with everyone, unaware of her inner beauty. And unaware of most other things as well.

8. The Boy Genius-good at math, good at science, sometimes seen using a magnifying glass to focus sunlight into a smoldering black spot on the front of his blue cloth three-ring binder. (He had the good sense to stop when The Judy Hensler asked, "Do I smell something burning?") Sometimes seen in a chair in the principal's office with his coat over his head, unable to face the cold, cruel world.

9. The Girl Genius-competitive, somewhat snippy, looked down her nose at the vast sea of immaturity that surrounded her daily, yet thrilled when Wes the Cool Dude called her at home to see if she wanted to go to a movie. Lived for Stanford-Binet Achievement Test season.

10. The Socially Inept-the giggly boy who brought his lunch in a brown bag and eschewed rough-and-tumble playground games. The spacey girl who came to school with the back of her dress completely unzipped. They were not disliked, but not included in classroom cliques. Their overtures of friendliness were well-received if they initiated them. Which did not happen often, because, well, they were socially inept.

C'mon. You know you had these student archetypes. Maybe you had more, depending on whether you attended elementary school somewhere besides Backroads, Missouri.


Stephen Hayes said...

Where is the chubby chatterbox chosen last for all the sports events, who grew up to be president of the chess club? I didn't get all of those atomic wedgies to be ignored by you.

Val said...

So sorry. I lumped him in with the Socially Inept. You must have grown up somewhere besides Backroads. We are a simple folk. Checkers people, not chess people. Why, I, myself, a former high school valedictorian, do not even know how to play chess.

Perhaps you attended school with George Costanza, he of the atomic wedgie, ridiculed by baked-bean-teeth P.E. teacher Mr. Hayman, who called him "Can'tStandYa."

Linda O'Connell said...

Oh yeah we had them. We had to draw a shape in the center of the page and continually outline it to the edge of the paper in different colors. When Sharon handed the male teacher her project, she laughed as he blushed at the sight of a penis in gradations and colors. Oh yeah, we had them!

Sioux said...

I had completely forgotten the blue canvas-covered binders, and clapping the chalkboard erasers. I wish I had forgotten the polyester stirrup pants. They were hideous!

Val said...

Oh, my! Sharon needed a jockstrap stretched over her head for that little indiscretion.

The polyester stirrup pants reached the epitome of hideosity when you skidded to a halt on the gravel-rich, faded-asphalt playground after tripping during a game of lunchtime kickball. While the polyester aqua knee fabric remained intact, the knee skin did not. A unique hue is created when blood dries in aqua.

These were the days when school NEVER called home for somebody to come get you or bring you clothes, because blood carried no more gravity than water. Besides, my dad worked and my mom attended school in Cape Girardeau. So I was saddled with that cold, stiff, knee-to-ankle scab of polyester until the bus dropped me off in front of Fanny Hugg's house that afternoon. I was nursing a pretty good case of self-pity as I trudged up the hill to my home and dug out my latchkey.