Single in Sandpoint:

Bullies, stinky kids, Hank Williams, Jr., and the illusion of cool

By Scarlette Quille
Reader Columnist

I live a life where on any given day I may be privy to a conversation between an “adult” and a troubled adolescent. This simple exposure creates daily opportunities for me to:

1: Be instantaneously entertained or horrified by the general stupidity that plagues the average adolescent, and the complete and total lack of “comfort” and or “guidance” that we as adults are capable of providing them.

2: Occasionally hijack quality advice from professionals and use it on family and friends, whom I can only presume consider me a genius at this point.

3: Thank the gods that most adults have figured out that hygiene is a key component to positive social interaction.  This allows me to live comfortably knowing that I am adult, and when I react adversely to the foul stench of someone who doesn’t bathe or wipe regularly, no will accuse me of being a bully. We use the “bully” word way too often, by the way. Bullies are dicks, but so are people who smell like a barrel of rotting entrails and sit in publicly shared spaces.

Illustration by Angela Euliarte.

Illustration by Angela Euliarte.

Every bully and every stinky kid has a story, and a lot of prom queens are popping their kid’s Adderall. The person you are in high school rarely is who you end up being. Somehow, all the cliques in high school manage to reproduce and reappear decade after decade. People find their place in this world.

I overheard a conversation between a teen and an adult the other day. It was basically your run-of-the-mill, I-will-never-be-cool-no-one-likes me teenage bullshit. The adult did their best to listen and offer support, and blah, blah, blah… What we ALL really want to say to that kid is, “GET A GRIP. Popular kids, are popular because they are engaged, active and social. Are you any of these things? Is the answer no? Well then, buddy, those are not your people. You speak a different language. This is a language you can learn, but you will have to work hard. Maybe it will be worth it. Maybe it won’t.

Cool is a high school fantasy. There are about nine million different ways to be cool once you leave high school, assuming you escape with your sanity intact. And once you leave, LEAVE. Really leave it all behind you, and move on.”

Sadly though, we don’t say this. And that person with the high school popularity complex becomes the girl sitting in the cube next to you at work, droning on and on about how she doesn’t have a boyfriend or a life. Of course, she has no idea why, and you are stuck trying to be supportive, when what you really want to say is: For starters , wax your mustache. That will elevate your sexy quotient, if you are looking for a straight male partner. Secondly, when someone asks you on a date, say yes and quit inventing imaginary scenarios where you are too good or not good enough at something to enjoy it. No one likes to hear you bitch. This may also be why you are in a “five year dry spell.”

We are too nice. That’s the problem.

Recently I went to a Hank Williams, Jr. concert. I love someone who loves Hank Williams, Jr., so I decided to buy him the tickets for a birthday present. I didn’t think I would enjoy this activity. I might have actually secretly expressed dread over the upcoming experience. I have a love-hate relationship with country music that started at infancy—my dad loves it my mom hates it. I have felt strangely conflicted about this my whole life. However, as a child I learned how to live in both worlds. I learned country songs when my Dad drove me to school. I learned every nuance to every Aerosmith song ever written when I was with my mother. I chose rock over country because the dudes in high school who liked rock music were hotter than the hicks.

Realizing that this was a terrible reason to hate an entire genre of music, I have slowly began to appreciate country music. Any decision I made in high school most likely occurred while wearing stone-washed jeans and blue eyeliner, as one may ascertain from this information I was not equipped to make sound decisions. Country music deserved justice, a trial by concert if you will.

Hank was my first country concert—I like to go big, if I go at all. First of all, it was one of the best live shows I have ever seen. It took me straight back to riding in my dad’s truck on the way to school, rolling my electric blue eyelids while “Kaw-Liga” blared over the stereo. Hank sang and played a million guitars and outperformed musicians half his age. Surprisingly, I knew A LOT of the songs. It was fun. Those guys who were “hicks” in high school aren’t so shabby now. My companion was not a ever hick,  and he is sexy whether he is singing along with Hank or Steven Tyler. I’m a pretty lucky chick.

Just saying.

After this experience, I have been offering the adolescents in my life, new advice that they will never take.

Learn a little bit of music from EVERY genre. That way if you find yourself in uncharted territory, alone and in need of companionship, you can strike up a conversation with anyone.

Learning some emo tunes, just in case.
Scarlette Quille

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