I went to high school some time ago. Not eons ago, but long enough that the high school cliques of yesteryear are all but unrecognizable to the fresh, pimply-faced high-schoolers of today. I was asked by a young feller just the other day- ‘O Enlightened G, pray tell, what outrageous cliques did you have at your school way back when?’
‘Ho, ho, young buck,’ I cried, sitting back in my chair and tapping idly on my pipe. ‘Let me see now. Well, we had the usual sorts of cliques, I suppose,’ I told the young feller, Brisbie by name.
‘You mean Oogles, T.K.s, and Cob Nobblers?’ the sprightly young Brisbie asked in all innocence.
‘What ho, knave,’ I shouted. ‘I know nothing of these cliques you speak of- in my school, we had the normal sorts. We had– let me think now– we had jocks, preppies, and nerds. We had wavers– those included punks and gothics. We had stoners, which included hessians and hippies. That’s really about it,’ I told him.
‘What about gangbangers?’ asked little Brisbie.
‘No, we didn’t have those in my school,’ I told him. ‘Our was a peaceful society, free of gang violence and associated lunatics. Ah, to be a child again, a teenager in a world of nerds and gothics, stoners and preppies, eating in the hallways and skipping class to go to Donut Parade…’
I trailed off, but a nearby fourteen-year-old had been none-too-subtly eavesdropping on our conversation and approached us cautiously. The youngster in question, a high schooler herself, expressed wonderment at the sorts of cliques we had been discussing. ‘School today is nothing like it was for you oldsters,’ she vouchsafed, giving a wink and cocking a snook (whatever that means). ‘Your talk of gothics and hessians is as antiquated to 21st-century youth as talk of rotary phones, dial-up internet, and poodle skirts!’
‘Is it so, youngster?’ I asked, sitting up in my antique rocking chair and placing my ear trumpet closer to the Golden Voice of Youth. Brisbie was similarly eager to hear tell of the the cliques of today. ‘If there are no gothics and raver kids, what manner of youthful subcultures have they been replaced by in today’s bewildering high school environment?’
The high schooler smiled, and she whipped out some scraps of paper and a black marker. She wrote down in detail the cliques of a Seattle, Washington-area high school, explaining each of them in detail. I share them with you, as she wrote them (I take no responsibility for spelling!):
“SCENE KIDS. The ones who always have the flippy hair (the hairline that doesnt exist). Big hair, big ego, corsets, declining population at [name of high school redacted]. Basically nihilists. Likes: emo-bands, Shane Dawson, bright colors, acid & ecstasy, carelessness. Dislikes: all other groups, emphasis on Sceniey Beanies
SCENIEY BEANIES. The sixth graders that copy scene kids. Usually around 8-13. Go to raves. Scene kids do not think highly of them. Likes: unknown, similar to scene kids. Dislikes: none.
PREP KIDS. Usually wear Uggs, yoga pants from lula lemons usually love mainstream stuff. Think there better than other groups. Exclusive. Have straight hair. Likes: yoga pants, going to mall, bubble tea, taking pics of themselves and posting on Facebook. Dislikes: hate all other groups, drugs (if do-do, then keep quite), paranoid about illegal things.
HIPSTERS. They wear skirts usually stuff from red light are those thrift stores on the ave or goodwill. Sweaters, cardigans. Lots of sweaters, grandma pink… Any hairstyle. Self centered, wear fur. Likes: Cardigans, Roller Derby, bra burning, feminists, thinking themselves intellectuals, Dostevsky, big ego’s, Chai, Value Village, Indie bands, Goodwill, Thrift, being cool in school. Dislikes: unknown.
URBAN OUTFITTERS HIPSTERS. Likes: Urban Outfitters, Anthropology (the clothing store), free people, shopping. Same as other hipsters, just Richer. The two Hipster classes hate each other.
GOTHS. A dying race.
JUGGALO’S. Likes: ICP, Hatchet Gear, Juggaletes, every drug, face paint, faygo (drink), Street Walkers. Dislikes: getting beat up. Hate those that say they are “down with the clown” but don’t know the cards. Mainstream.
ANIME GROUP. Dislikes: people who don’t know what there watching, teachers telling them to calm down when their character dies. Likes: comfy clothes, camputers, games, mindcraft, computers at school, empty halloways, getting pissed at shows, cutesy stuff, internet, basically goofying around on internet living your life on computers and internet.”
Thus spoke the fourteen-year old.
Brisbie nodded his head, lost in thought. Indeed, my own thoughts were all of a muddle, and I began to come a-cropper (whatever that means). ‘What do you make of these categories?’ Brisbie asked me, when he regained the power of speech. ‘What do you make of Beanie Sceneys, of Anime Group, of Hipster classes and dying races?’
‘It seems,’ quoth I, ‘that the American high school population grows ever more ridiculous and silly.’ I then grew solemn. ‘And let us spare a thought for the passing of that great race of high school cliquedom, the Goth,’ I intoned, following which we took a moment of silence and mourned the loss of some other great classes of cliquedom, no longer even mentioned in the current taxonomy: where were stoners? Where were grunge rockers? Where were ravers, where were cheerleaders, where were hessians and butt rockers? Do high schoolers today no longer have to deal with listening to AC-DC and the Steve Miller Band blasted at top volume at every pep rally while cheerleaders hop about, stoners sleep in the back row, grungers nod off with headphones on, gothics play hooky in the smoker’s lot, and so forth? It seems not!
‘Verily,’ I sighed, taking a sip of my tea, some concoction called ‘Bengal Spice’ which Brisbie had provided me- ‘To think I lived before in such ignorance!’
‘Ah, but that is not all, m’lord,’ young Brisbie said, stooping low to me and removing his feathered hat, placing it near his heart. ‘I feel the time has come to reveal my true name, for you see, ‘Brimbie’ is nothing more than an assumed name.’
‘Is this as it seems?’ I asked myself. ‘But why Brimbie?’ I asked aloud. ‘Why Brimbie, out of all the names you could pick from a goldfish bowl, why not Mikey, Hans-Peter, Chu Hsien?’
‘The answer is simple,’ Brisbie said, bowing low with a dramatic flourish at the end. ‘It is an acronym, created from my favourite foods. To wit:
TO BE CONTINUED…