Big Man Off Campus

I’m very popular in high school. Which is funny, because when I was in high school, I wasn’t very popular.

I probably need to explain…

Audrey says all her friends like me. Which is funny, because most of them have never met me. I have somehow earned a reputation as “the cool dad” amongst her peers.

I don’t overdo it, like some people…

coolmomI’m just real. And I treat Audrey like she’s real. Apparently, that’s a novelty to many of her friends. We talk. Not about school and chores. Well, about school and chores. But we also do not shy away from topics like drugs, alcohol, and sex. I photobomb her selfies. I say things like “peace out” when we’re ending our phone calls. I crank my rock ‘n roll when picking her up from tennis practice. And I give her enough freedom to do the things she wants to do, so long as she doesn’t take advantage of my good graces. She’s earning straight A’s, so she deserves it.

And though I shouldn’t give a damn what a bunch of 15 year olds think, I have to admit it is pretty flattering to be considered “cool.” Especially by an age group who considers anybody over 30 – actually, more like 25 – to be the very antithesis of the word.

Audrey asked me if I was popular in high school, and I laughed. There’s an adjective that never applied to me. I wasn’t an outcast, either. Didn’t fit into any of the social cliques, to be honest. When she asked me what I was, I said, “I just was.” Which pretty much sums it up. I was one of those kids who never really made waves, good or bad. People liked me, but they never went out of their way to invite me to parties or make out with me under the bleachers. I was not a jock, but I also wasn’t a stoner, a preppie, or a dweeb. In P.E., if we had to choose teams and there were 10 students, I was picked fifth. Middle of the road, all the way. Had I ever run for school council, I would have had no shot at student body president, but would have made a hell of a treasurer.

I also used to dress like Sonny Crockett. This certainly didn’t help my social standing, though it didn’t really hinder it, either. And no, I do not have pics. I’ve searched high and low, but no such luck.

So the fact that I have gained all these cool points many years later leaves me feeling stoked. Better late than never, right?

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7 thoughts on “Big Man Off Campus

  1. Ron says:

    “I’m just real. And I treat Audrey like she’s real. Apparently, that’s a novelty to many of her friends. We talk. Not about school and chores. Well, about school and chores. But we also do not shy away from topics like drugs, alcohol, and sex. And I give her enough freedom to do the things she wants to do, so long as she doesn’t take advantage of my good graces. She’s earning straight A’s, so she deserves it.”

    Good for you, Mark! And I can see why she thinks you’re the coolest. In all the years that you’ve shared about Audrey on your blog, I could tell that she is a very smart, conscious, and cool young lady. You raised her well!

    I wasn’t popular in school either, and for the reasons you shared. I just didn’t fit into any particular group. It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school did I begin to blossom within myself; thus, finding others who were like me.

    LOVE the photo of Don Johnson from Miami Vice! I was still living in Florida when that show came out and wore those same clothes!

    Like

    1. Mark Petruska says:

      I was obsessed with Miami Vice! But I was the only one in my family who enjoyed it, so I’d hole up in my bedroom to watch whenever it came on. I even had – still have, actually – the official soundtrack album. Great music and flashy visuals are what made that show.

      Like

  2. Bijoux says:

    I was a ‘smart girl’ in high school. Nobody was beating down my door to make out with me, so I had to go outside my school district for any real action……bahahaha!

    My oldest always tells me I’m the ‘young mom’ amongst her friends’ moms, so that kind of makes me cool. I had her when I was 26, which is surprisingly young compared to other moms who were in their late 30’s or early 40’s.

    Keep on playing your music. I’m the only mom around who jams to Weezer!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allie P. says:

    Ahh to be the “cool parent…” I was what you might call upper middle class in the high school hierarchy and I don’t seem to be getting any cooler as I age. That’s okay though with me. My kiddos make friends easily. They don’t need me to be another friend, they just need me to be Mom.

    Like

  4. Jessie Reyna says:

    I was the same way in high school. I’ve always been curious to know what people thought of me then because I had a very small group of friends in each “clique” (I hate using that word). I don’t think I stood out much, but I also wasn’t invisible!

    Like

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