Common Slacker Identity / High School Recallings

Some of the elements of this tale are fictitious, but it’s based on a true story.
At my former high school, there was a “classroom” in the building’s television production studio that

Myself and some of my pals from high school. 

was situated behind the room where the technical direction equipment was installed. The place had seen better days, clearly – now it was reminiscent of a closet, with vintage lighting equipment and rusty screws dispersed atop the tiled floor. But the attractive quality of it was its seclusion from the rest of the television production studio – a perfect place for students to get away with any and all sorts of mischief.

The crew of kids that ran the show in that closet of a “classroom” was indeed students that, whilst perfectly capable, weren’t always very applied. They spent the majority of the time of their TV Production class hanging out in the back discussing heaven knows what. But in doing so, they formed a second home. To get to class was to sit in the actual classroom for roll call and then make the clandestine pilgrimage to the back room, away from the teacher’s eyes.

How she never figured it out is beyond me.

These kids would do all sorts of less than noble things in that room. None were perverse but a few were questionably legal. Among the more easily digestible ones were cutting out a square piece of red construction paper which was then placed under the large fluorescent bulbs that lit up the room in order to a create a darkroom effect; another was the removal of a few floor tiles, which created a safe hideout spot for when the teacher would make her rounds.

Throughout the course of my high school years, I wouldn’t applaud the crew for the mischief they engaged in, but I would always recognize the unifying power that something common can have. These kids – admittedly slackers – wanted a place where they could slack together. In searching for and then finding that room, that place where their purpose could be shared between one another; they stumbled upon a strong human bond, as facilitated by that room.

You might call this reflection insipid or inconsequential, but it’s special to me for a couple reasons. For

Graduation 2012 at FIU!

Winning Prom King!

one, it reminds me of the fun times I had in high school. Secondly – and more importantly – it illustrated for me, at a very early stage in my academic development, the concept of groupthink. The reason why the mischief that occurred in and around that room happened in the first place was partly because the group‘s constituents fed off one another’s motivation for an initially bad idea.

I remember just how the red light idea was born – one of the members of the group proposed the plan,

Myself and a friend of mine, Samantha, on one of the
last days of senior year.

and the rest quickly dismissed it as hard work that had no place in their “slackosphere”. A few days later, though, another group member recalled the idea as part of a larger list of ideas he was expounding. The other members of the group – hungry for ruckus – realized it’d be a way to satisfy their hunger. Despite the plan’s opposition to their work ethic, each member fed off one another’s latent desires to cause a mess, and hence the red light room was born.

This train of thought – not individual, but rather composed by many people – is the kind of thing that was most gripping about this back room society. It was like they were parasites unto one another, motivating themselves to do bad things. However ignoble the ends, the way the group worked together, both on the red light project and other endeavors, was simply beautiful.

And to think it was all because they wanted to do nothing.

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