Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's so noisy at the fair, but all your friends are there, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers.

It happened again, this time in New Jersey where a high school teacher slept with her male student who was an honor student. Yeah, an honor student. He was honor, off her, honor, off her, honor, off her.

Maurice Taylor, a CEO of an American tire company, blasted French workers as lazy, inept and unproductive. The French were furious and threatened Taylor that if he didn’t apologize, they would hold their breath until they turned bleu.

The French were furious at this stereotyping accusing Taylor of being loud, obnoxious, crude and tasteless like all of you boorish Americans.

The plains are getting hammered by a snowstorm; we Southern Californians have our weather issues too. Presidents Day weekend marks the time we switch from flip-flop sandals to hiking boots.

A study claims to have identified the chemical that causes women to talk more than men; yeah, it’s called: oxygen.

Since you asked:

They say the Oscars is high school with money.

Yes and no.

In my high school, the really cool kids were a blend of jocks and partiers who would have died before they hung out with the theater side. Now, I say partier because stoner is too harsh. Jocks were, well jocks. Partiers were cool kids who went to all the cool parties. And stoners had real long hair and lived in their skunk-smelling Army jackets.

And the jocks and the partiers did not avoid the theater geeks because of the gay thing, although, truthfully, in the Seventies, that was part of it.

The theater side seemed to go way out of their way to distinguish themselves from everyone else.  The jocks/partiers didn’t throw slushies in their face, ala “Glee” they/we utterly ignored them. Maybe this was a Midwestern thing, but it is embarrassing to watch someone dancing and singing down the hall all the time.

That was what was to annoying. They were "on" all the time. 

So the theater types just pushed that much harder for attention. And on and on the cycle went. Our high school had an amazingly successful alumni of actors: Ann Margaret, Hugh O'Brien, Rock Hudson, Charlton Heston, Bruce Dern, more recently Virginia Madson, Adam Baldwin, John and Joan Cusak. (Bill Murray and Chris O'Donnell would have gone to New Trier, but opted for the local Catholic private school, Loyola) 

Hollywood is much more of a revenge of the theater geeks with money. There are notable exceptions, Ben Affleck I am sure was one of the cool guys in high school. Probably so was Russell Crowe. Positive Vince Vaughn was just as sure as I am positive Jon Favreau was not. 

But then take Hollywood’s coolest of the cool, Jack Nicholson. In high school, he was the basketball team equipment manager. That was a job our teams gave to lovable mentally challenged kids.

To be blunt, it never really sat well with me that Alex Karris and Dick Butkus became actors. These were two of the toughest guys in the world. (Same with Jim Brown, but I don’t think you can call Brown an actor because he was so bad at it)

 One spring, when I was about ten, they were doing a play about Fort Dearborn at the Winnetka Children’s Fair. As I was still a nut-job about forts via Daniel Boone, I wanted to try out. My dad was not happy. He didn’t say anything, but I could tell.

Went to the tryout intentionally not wanting to get a speaking part. We did a play in fourth grade,  I got the lead as the dad in “Lyle the Crocodile.” It was cool, got my picture on the front of the “Winnetka Talk” and everything. Then came the night of the play. I was so nervous I went completely blank.

So much for speaking parts.

No, for Fort Dearborn I told them I wanted to play a pioneer and they said yes. Got to act out the big Indian battle and everything. I got shot with an arrow I had hidden, held it to my chest and flopped, writhing on the ground. (Remember the “director” was very impressed with this special effect)

What I remember most is getting to know and really like a whole new group of kids. Older kids made me nervous because they bullied my four-year-older brother, John, brutally, so I thought they were all mean.

But these older kids in the play were not mean, they were really nice. Had a huge crush on the lead actress.  And she liked me, but in the puppy-way a 15-year-old girl likes a 10-year-old boy.

Yes these people liked to sing and some of the guys liked to sing and dance. And that made me nervous, but it was harmless. It got so I could hardly wait to go to rehearsals after school. It was like we were this really close team, and then, a month later, it was over. After the last play of three, I cried, I was so sad it was over.

Dad was really not happy about that. But my Dad was an amazing singer, he sang in the church choir, so there was a small performer side of him that I think was OK about my new project.

But by high school there was a clear line that was drawn between jocks and the theater department, and, as much fun as I had in that play, it never occurred to me to cross the line.

That is how I see Hollywood and the Oscars. Good for them for picking their side of the line and going with it. And winning.

But its not the Olympics, is it?