The Final Ramblings of a Teenage Soul: Because Iím Still Not Done Bitching

 J BALMORES

            I remember back in Grade 10 when one of my best friends at the time told me, ďby grade 12 [I] would know who [my] friends are.Ē That statement was more than true. Friends had come and gone, high school lives had come and passed, and going into the 2007-2008 session I not only knew who my friends were but I also knew the following: whom I hated, whom I loved, whom I didnít really know but pretended to like so that I could use them (unbeknownst to them) as messengers between my real friends and I, whom I wanted as a teacher, and who I wouldnít want as a teacher but would spend most of my time bugging anyway. What can I say? Iím a picky kid.

            As it goes, the year began at a quick pace, alive and radiating with potency. My categories stayed pretty much the same, it was too easy. Finally, one day, the cruising crashed, the vitality turned to bacon grease and high-cholesterol, and I developed a relatively apathetic attitude towards the rest of human civilization. Sure there were the D-Bags whom I never wanted to talk to, but grad year is such a vicious maelstrom that you could have a complete dialogue with the Lt. General of all D-Bags and forget that it ever happened.  My prejudice was thwarted (imagine thatÖ) with the realization that Grade 12 isnít the top of the social ladder in any respect; itís just the final pole on the monkey bars that create our advanced daycare system.

            Mid year to me meant one thing and one thing only: Enigma. For all you new kids on the block Enigma was the 2007-2008 North Toronto fashion show, that which sucked the life out of all involved. Scenes werenít coming together, the basketball team was playing at 25% of its potential, school still existed, and I was too busy to care whether or not my friendships stayed in tact. This is where the classifications began to mush and mold into a transparent Flubber-like substance which I then placed in the oven, overcooked, and diced into distinctly multiple pieces (and ate them all without regard to which one was which). Those whom I was around I spoke to, those whom I hated I forgot about, those whom I pretended to like received no more artfully executed lies, and I started changing from the stealthy, conceited, self-proclaimed intellectual, into the guy who spoke his mind and in the process lost any respect anybody had for him.

             Now for all you math students whoíre falling asleep to all of these letters and words and paragraphs and punctuation, hereís something to look at. [Friends = x, Business = y] Now look at this: As y → ∞ | x → 0.

            For all the English kids (like myself, who consequently didnít understand what that meant when first introduced to it), it means that as y approaches infinity (or as your business and workload grows) x approaches zero (you lose friends). So now for the problem, what do you work on? Keeping your workload from exploding all over your face, or keeping your friends in tact?

            I canít tell you what to do, but I can tell you that I chose the former.  It wasnít a bad decision, it wasnít a good decision, but it was a decision, and if thereís one thing Iíve learned itís that you canít take them back (regardless of how many times you push Ctrl + Z).

            I grew a tendency to lose myself in the fat fog of blind work ethic. On the court there was nothing more important than pissing off my defensive check, keeping the ball out of our hoop, and gently dropping it into the opposing teamís elevated gaping hole. At fashion show practice there was no such thing as food or sleep, homework or smiling, there was nothing more important than hitting hard, staying sharp, and keeping our holes from being elevated or gaping in any way. In my digital abode the only thing there was to think about was BOOM! Leg shot?  Needless to say, being a friend was the least of my worries, paying $13 to forget my night is just not my thing. Then again, maybe Iím just a bad person with no soul, terrible habits, short legs and a voice that the voices of the future should never listen to. Either way, I can tell you that our little variable friend x decreased to about seven. 

            Now letís not get ahead of ourselves and believe that I was too busy to love my life. I enjoyed every single bit of grade twelve with no exception (as an exception you may throw out the idea that I definitely didnít enjoy certain peopleÖ well I certainly enjoyed ripping on them in the back of my mind.) The parties were pretty live (though some people lookedÖ not live), the school work was actually worth doing (though some of it wasÖ not live), and red and grey day was never as fun as it was in 2008, but as the year progressed the amount of fervor and fight began to die down. After charity week, fashion show, and spring fling were over, only prom remained. 

            Prom: this was what we were all waiting for. Prom was the sum of our four years, the peak of our existence, the money bags to our heist troupe, the end of four years of hard work. It was a day to start walking on our own two feet and to put the drama llama to rest on the puke stained floor of wherever we had our after party; in essence, we were Kurt Cobain and prom was the final stare down that sweet barrel of Nirvana. Prom is fun, itís cool seeing everyone looking nice for a change, but between the chocolate fountain, the guy telling my friends and I how to arrange ourselves in front of his camera, and the fact that I worked at the venue, it was everything I wanted it to be. People sober (some for the first time that school year!), dressed up nicely, danced, ate, had a good time, all before the after party. This is the part of the night I like to call ďmor PĒ as it is a time in which urination is key to your survival. I found myself staring down blankly wondering where the pee was, but after a few minutes of disappointment I surrendered and grunted in anger before zipping up and needing to pee again. This was all fun and games until about 1:00 to 1:30. I call this time ĎPorm.í  This was a time when a few boys and girls disappeared from the hallway leaving the rest of the boys and girls feeling lonely and depressed. I fortunately missed porm and completely avoided all the romping, once again enclosed in my mor P stage.  Soon it was time to, er, mop. We had to get serious, otherwise we would be charged an extra 50 dollars, and lord knows prom sapped me of all forms of currency (i.e. real money, monopoly money, baby teeth, bits of string, strands of my ex-girlfriendís hair, sperm [too much mountain dew can do that], cotton, toe-nail clippings, facial hair, dignity). Prom after party was fun. Prom after party was stupid. Prom, the celebration of our deliverance from high school, had just delivered us a new llama of drama to ride off into the sunset.

            So what is Grade 12? What is the whole build up, the excitement, and the gossip all about? Well, to me at least, the G-Dozen was a summation of all of high school. The awkward and apathetic Grade 9, the stupid, fun, and apathetic Grade 10, the smack-in-the-face-itís-time-to get-serious- Grade 11, and the crash and burn of all social existence in the final moments of legal childhood. Take all of that, put it in a box, wrap it up with some tinfoil and ribbons, ship it off to Kansas, and you have my Grade 12.

            Now I must admit, when I began writing and narrating my year at the beginning of Grade 12, I had no clue why I was doing it. After a summer of self-reflection I can rightfully say that it was because I needed an easy way to say ďIím lonely, befriend me.Ē Sure it sounds pathetic but the beautiful thing about NT is that, in one way or another, people responded. NT is a community that always responds; be it a petty cry for attention, a need for love and affection, or a search for personal intervention, if you knock, one of 1100 kids will answer.

            Although my narrative sounded cynical, it was only because I neglected to mention the fact that North Toronto Collegiate Institute is not only an amazing place to learn and grow, but itís a place to meet people youíll never forget. Sure there are bad times, but there are also good ones, so just take what youíre given because youíll never find yourself in a place like this again.

            Sorry for rambling, and thank you for letting me. Much Love.