1. For your whole life, people are always going to give you grief. Nobody who turns out to be great had an easy time in high school…anything can happen to anybody; you don’t really know what’s going to happen. One thing you have to learn early on is that you can’t judge people until you know the whole story about what causes them to act like they do. In high school, everybody judges everybody. They’re the meanest they could ever be in high school! But things change…But certainly how you look in high school is incredibly important, because you identify what type [of person] you are. Usually you hang around with people who wear the same kind of fashion. Which I never quite understood, because I can hang around with any type of person, and I don’t pick friends by how they dress. I mean, they all have a style, but it doesn’t have to be mine.

    — John Waters

  2. V-Day

    “Today was fun,” I told her. It’d been a blast, more fun than I had in months. The last time I had this much fun was the last day of high school and it was the last day to see everyone before they went off to wherever.

    We took a seat on a flat rock overlooking the lake. Being surrounded by nature made me feel like I was in a Bon Iver song if that makes any sense. “Tell me a Valentines Day story,” I asked for one.

    “And it started with a good morning text,” she smiled. She looked out at the lake. The sun was setting, leaving streaks of light glimmer along the surface of the waters. I wish the wind was a bit more gentle so that it didn’t disturb the waters. They looked really beautiful. “And then I didn’t respond to it. I just looked at the message as simple as it was. It made me smile out loud. And I had school and just throughout the whole day, I’d take my phone out to look at the message again. And I smiled every time. Then after school he picked me up. He had a pick up truck, his dad’s.

    “Then we drove out to the pier listening to this mixtape he made of all our favorite bands. Bands that you would like too, you know? Like Two Doors Cinema Club and The Vaccines and Vampire Weekend and they weren’t love songs, per say, just songs we loved. We had ice creams and walked along the beach with the sand between our toes and the soles of our feet wet with sea water. And it was all so corny, but I didn’t mind. I actually loved it. It’d be something I’d hate to see in a film or read in a book, but I loved it.

    “Next was a movie. I don’t remember what movie it was because I wasn’t paying much attention. I was being paranoid or something because I remember my heart beating super fast and the beating just echoed throughout my entire body and I was kinda afraid everyone around me would hear it. I was afraid he might hear it.

    “He didn’t kiss me ’til the end of the movie where he whispered something in my ear. I didn’t hear because of the beating, but I followed along. He took my hand and we drove off into wherever, the night, the road surrounded by tall, dark green trees on both sides, and everything was enclosing. My lungs, my vision, my entire body, and everything outside. And it was scary, but it was beautiful.

    “I’ve never felt anything like it before. And then it happened. And it was great,” she left it at that.

    I wanted to hear more as much as I hated it. I wanted so much to be that guy. “Where’s he now?” I asked.

    “I don’t know. Some ditch smoking cigs and drinking beers like it’s a full time job.”

    I didn’t want to be that guy anymore. I know I could do much better.

    “But I’m glad it was a good first Valentines date. I’ll always remember it. Do you have a Valentines story to share?” she asked me.

    The month was February. Today was the fourteenth. I looked up at her and smiled.

  3. Fact: I knew I was screwed academically when I didn’t know what high school or college was when I was in 7th grade.