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Issue 152-153_ Records that Escaped Reviewing


      So you’ve gotten to this point and for many of you one thought comes to mind: “Why the fuck would Boone bother to waste our time reprinting an eight year old article about something that happened 20 years ago?”  Well, while I understand why some readers might think this way, being that it’s around time for proms to at least be in planning stages for many schools in America, it seemed like a good idea to put it online.  Add to this the 15th anniversary retrospective slant and you have an idea of why I decided to relive something this fucked up from my past.


      So why would I write about prom years after the fact?  The idea came during a break at the 1999 MUMS symposium in KC when me and a couple of people I was driving with got lost on the way to get some Ethiopian food.  While stopping to get directions at a 7-11 (where I found where a sheet with the restaurant location mentioned in my back seat) I came across a couple of teenagers dressed up for prom asking me where the Uptown Theater was?  The idea was there but it was pretty much too late to do it that year.  However, I kept the idea tucked in the recesses of my brain and the next year published it in issue 48 of The Trouble With Normal.


      Mainly, it appeared because it was that time of year and it seemed like a good idea with write about my experiences and put it out there at the time.  I wasn’t obsessing over it but I thought it could just maybe help some people, especially young people in a society like ours where this event is considered the epitome of what a high school student in America is supposed to strive for, especially for young women.  To some extent the event has become a societal expectation enforced by school and family in many cases, thus adding to the pressure and bullshit that makes adolescence suck.  It was in that mindset, and the thought that someone might want to read my warped perspective about it, that I published the article.


     The reaction was bizarre, to say the least.  In 15 years of doing TTWN the article has been the most misunderstood piece I ever wrote.  The reviews for issue 45 singled the prom article out and missed the point of why it was written.  The main criticism was that the article itself was hard to follow.  However, the whole incident was confusing as hell and had more twists than a damn roller coaster so depicting it accurately meant risking confusion.  Imagine having a gut instinct that something is wrong and everyone around you basically telling you that you don’t know what you’re talking about, only to find out your instinct was right all along.  That’s what I went through and it’s something that made me kind of dread revisiting it when deciding whether to post it on the website.  However, when the feelers I put out to friends on whether to run it came back telling me to post it I knew what had to be done.


     Looking back at the article, I see why some people would be confused by the twists and turns.  Hell, I’d probably be confused by it if I hadn’t lived through all this shit.  Sometimes telling the truth isn’t an easy thing and there can be unexpected fallout from it.  This article strained what relationship I had with my mom when she finally read the piece, which I understand a little more in retrospect though there was no way to write about this shit without being honest about the strained relationship we had at the time (a fact my mom seemed to be in massive denial of, by the way).  The article also got confused by a lot of people who taking things on a surface level seemed to miss the goddamn point of it.  While time does heal some of the wounds the fallout wasn’t fun to go through.


    Do I regret writing this article?  Hell fucking no.  However, time does make you re-evaluate things however.  One example of this is for the longest time I thought Becky might not have been involved in the whole scam.  But when my friend Eddie read the article (his demand before deciding which article he thought should go online for the 15th anniversary) he pointed out that it was unlikely that a person would go up and say that if she wasn’t involved, which caused me to reconsider that and cleared things up on that front.  Some things still remain boggling as one thing that didn’t make the article proved when I asked some friends how their moms would react if they were on the other side and told someone about the joke they played on them right in front of them and most of them said their moms would think it was funny; once again affirming to me how fucked up families tend to be in the nice safe suburbs where how someone appears is more important to most parents than the type of person they are.  Maybe I was raised differently on this issue but I realized by then that you don’t do that shit to another person.  The idea that Scott’s mom said nothing when he revealed this shit says a lot about her ethics – or lack thereof.


     Now the question some may be had cross your mind to ask me.  “Boone, since you put this article out back in 2000, have you changed your mind in regards to prom?”  I still have no regrets about not going.  Granted, I wish the show I went to that night would’ve been something like MDC or Dead Kennedys rather than Agnostic Front but the former wasn’t on tour at the time (they would stop through a month or so later) and the latter had broken up a year or two earlier, but I’m not sorry about not having that ritual in my life as a bookend.  In fact, since leaving high school I’ve met only a handful of people who, if I knew them when I was suffering through that incarceration, might have made me reconsider that.  Besides, it could’ve been worse.  I could’ve been one of those sad kids who went to prom only to have their date leave them high and dry in the middle of it for their friends (with my luck, that probably likely could’ve happened).  A friend of mine I met years after leaving school had a prom date who, according to him, had to be in by 10 pm and wasn’t allowed to dance (when I told my mom about that a couple years ago her response was, “Then, what’s the point?”).  So, given what could’ve gone down, not going to prom wasn’t the end of the world. 


     The other thought may be how would I handle things if I had a teenager who was in this situation.  Given that I don’t have any kids, that’s not something I can firmly answer.  However, I’d like to think that if the hypothetical son or daughter said someone called in regards to something like prom and he or she thought it was a joke, that I may ask if they’re fairly certain on it but would generally support their attitude on that.  I definitely don’t think I’d scream at them at the top of my lungs that they never give people a chance and imply that they’re fucking idiots that don’t know what the fuck they’re going through (while I know that might not have been my parents’ intention, that’s what it fucking felt like).  However, given my childless status at the moment and how things may change with time, who knows what would happen if I have to encounter that in the future.


     Now some of you may think my writing about my prom related misadventure may be dwelling on the past (one review back in 2000 suggested that I needed to “not swear the small stuff.”).  While the bullshit I went through might not have scarred me completely for life, it is one of the catalysts for why I tend to be on guard if things seem to be going too good just in case things cave in all at once (which they have done on occasion).  It also colored how I view people for a long period of time (about a year after it went down) and is a factor in how I see people whose lives are outside my comfort zone (it might not be right, but you damn well know they do the same to us).  However, it did further catalyze my attitudes and make me remember what I went underground to get the fuck away from.  


      As I mentioned at the start of this rant, this is a commentary on an article I published eight years ago about some shit that went down 20 years ago.  As you’ve all figured out by now, this year marks my 20th year class reunion.  I have no intention to go there.  Yeah, some of the assholes involved in this fucked up incident might be there (especially the dickhead in the grad rehearsal incident.  Scott was a grade below me and Becky was a sophomore when this fucking bullshit happened) but I prefer to focus on what’s ahead of me rather than relive a period of my life that fucking sucked shit in a lot of ways.  Some people might think I should go to show people up or get some sort of revenge, but these people are virtual strangers and I have a feeling the people I’d like to talk to wouldn’t be there (on a notice I received for the 10 year reunion a good chunk of people I would’ve liked to talk to and see were on the “do you know the whereabouts” list as were the valedictorian and class president, ironically enough).  Maybe I’ll go to my 25th reunion, but right now I just have other things to take care of that are more important. 


     Whoa!  I wasn’t expecting this little commentary piece to be this damn long.  I hope it gave a little perspective to what I intended with the piece in question as well as act as a possible epilogue (for lack of a better term) for it.  Yeah, my life’s been pretty fucked up at times but whose life hasn’t.  I just hope the article (and/or maybe this commentary) has helped someone in a similar position; that would make chronicling one of my somewhat dark hours worth it.  Now, it’s time to sign off for now and deal with other things in my life.  Hope this helped.


  - Boone

copyright 2000,2008 Boone Stigall/The Trouble With Normal