la Ketch

my life story

Monday, September 19, 2005

Pick Flick

If you have seen the movie “Election” then you don’t really need to read this entry. My campaign for Student Body President resembled that film so closely that it was eerie for me to watch it. The only differences are: I didn’t sleep with any of my teachers, I didn’t get good grades and I won the election. If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend that you do because it’s really good except I sort of just gave away the ending. Shit. Sorry about that. I'M SORRY PETE! I'm sure Pete has seen it. Still, I'm sure he wil be upset based on principal.

In my previous post I said that my Arch Nemesis joined the race for Student Body President two days before the election. That was an exaggeration. I think it was more like a week. I had to scramble but there was still time. I should tell you that I’m rather prone to exaggeration. If I throw out a number to describe something you can just divide by two and find that actual number. Or in this case, multiply times three.

I was running unopposed. The election was a week or so away and I had it in the bag. I had spent most of my junior year being groomed to be president actually. Our principal was this really sweet man, super great guy, everyone loved him. He has since passed away. I said some words at his funeral. A lot of the students were there. He is greatly missed. Anyway, he and I were friends and he was sort of a father figure to me which was something I really needed at the time, for obvious reasons if you've been following along. That was one of the most difficult parts about getting busted and having to resign, knowing that I had disappointed him. He really wanted me to go into politics. He called me into his office and sat me down and told me how this world needed more female politicians and that I was a born leader. He said that he didn’t see anyone else in my class that would make a good Student Body President, it had to be me. It was my destiny to lead the students of EHS into 1992. I was inspired. He had me convinced. It didn’t take much.

So there I was walking down the hall, just waiting for my destiny to be handed to me in a silver ballot box and who do I run into? You guessed it, none other than my Arch Nemesis herself. My Arch Nemesis was getting something out of her locker. Now that I think of it, she was probably pretending to get something out of her locker. The whole thing seems very staged in retrospect. She slammed her locker door shut in a dramatic way and then with the theme to “The Good the Bad and the Ugly” playing somewhere off in the distance, she turned to me and said, “Well I’ve done it. It may be stupid of me to think I have a chance but I’m doing it anyway. I’m going to try and do the impossible. I got all of the signatures I need. I turned them in. I’m on the ballot. I’m running against you La Ketch. You better start working on your speech.” Then she stomped away with such triumphant vigor, I just knew I was fucked. I was paralysed. I think I squeaked something out after her like, “That’s great! Good Luck!” But on the inside I was like, “Fuck Fuck Fuck whatdoido whatdoido whatdoido ...”

I had to act and I had to act fast. I had no campaign. I needed a design, a concept, a speech and most importantly - I needed posters. I whipped myself into an absolute frenzy. Recruiting my usual suspects as my campaign team, I set off to take back my destiny. First, I forced my mom to throw me a huge pizza party. For real, I invited the entire school over to my house for free pizza, so totally slimy. It was very effective. We all ate pizza and made posters for the campaign. These people could be bought. Still, not everyone showed up. It was mostly people who would vote for me anyway. I knew I needed to cast my net much, much wider.
What I did then was I went around and sat at each and every table in the cafeteria and talked to every student in the school. I went beyond the cafeteria even to the band room, behind the bleachers, out by the picnic tables. I went to the people. It was grass roots. It took me three days and I have say that I still feel that this was a pretty brilliant strategy on my part. Mind you, the school was not that big. We’ve already established the big fish small pond metaphor but it was no easy feat. I sat with the jocks, the nerds the loners, the rebels the prissy girls, the smart girls, everyone. I sat with everyone and I just talked to them. My absolute favorites were the butt rockers – the “Hessians” as we called them. Long Mullets, pot smokers, Metallica T-shirts, the burn outs, you know who I’m talking about. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey you guys, I’m La Ketch.
Hessian Leader: We know who you are.
Me: Did you know that I’m running for Student Body President?
Hessian Leader: Yeah, man your posters are like all over the school.
Me: Oh good, I’m glad you’ve seen them. Listen I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I just wanted to ask you guys a few questions…
Hessian Leader: Why are you sitting here?
Me: Well that’s what I was saying, I just wanted to sit down and talk to you guys, I mean I feel like I’ve never really gotten a chance to talk to you guys before and I just wonder you know, what is it that YOU want out of your president? What do you hope your President will do for you?
Hessian Leader: Do you even know my name?
Me: Of course (Hessian Leader’s Name) you’re in my history class.
Hessian Leader: You know my name. That is so crazy. You know what? You’re cool. I swear to God, I hate every single one of these stupid motherfuckers that go to this stupid fucking school but you’re different. Not one of those fucking assholes would ever come over here and sit with us because they're so fucking into themselves. I’ve never voted once for anything but I’m going to vote for you and I’m going to make sure that all of my friends vote for you too.
Me: ohmygod thank you so much! That would be really cool. I think you guys are great and I want to be your friend. Just tell me one thing that you want your Student Body President to be.
Hessian Leader: I guess we don’t want to go to pep assemblies because they suck.
Me: I totally agree but if I’m the student body president they won’t suck. They will be amazing. Do you guys think you could help me hand out fliers?
Hessian Leader: Give me all of them. I'll start handing them out right now.

And he did. They all did. The whole table was on my team. It was like a John Hughes movie. They would like cheer me in the hall. It was like getting an escort from the Hells Angels or something.

I went around to every table like this and I asked people what they wanted and then I incorporated those things into my posters and eventually into my speech. My posters were really simple. They just had my first name really big and underneath the name they would say something that I was, something that someone had told me they wanted me to be:

is smart.

has creative ideas.

cares about you.

listens to Metallica.

And on and on like this. These posters covered every square inch of wall in the entire school. My hands had blisters from making them.

When it came time for the big speech, I was still really nervous. I knew I had run an awesome campaign and the my Arch Nemesis had done nothing to get her name out there, most people barely knew who she was but I was still afraid. She really scared me on a personal level but what scared me the most was the idea of LOSING to her.

Luckily I was friends with the current President and she was introducing the speeches. She told me that she would have my Arch Nemesis go first so that I would be fresh in everyone’s mind when they went off to vote and also so that I could think on my feet and come back with a rebuttal if she started throwing wild punches. It wasn’t a debate. We only got one chance to speak.

My Arch Nemesis came out like a wild bull. I had my speech printed on little cards but she had no cards, she didn’t need them. She was speaking from her GUT. She pulled the mic off the stand like a rock star and walked right up to the foot of the bleachers, “Is anyone else sick and tired of this place?! It’s time for some CHANGE! I’m going to turn this place on its head. NO MORE BORING STUDENT COUNCIL MEETINGS. NO MORE BORING PEP ASSEMBLIES. NO MORE STUPID ACTIVITES AT LUNCH.” I scanned the crowd. Were people were listening? You bet they were. I was shitting my pants. Then she started in on me, making fun of me. “I may not have loooong blooooonde hair, I may not have nice, expeeeeensiiive clothes, I may not be a cheeeeeeeerleader but I can make some changes around here, etc….” She was an anarchist. It was invigorating. For a second, I considered voting for her myself but I couldn’t. I couldn’t let her win. This was MY DESTINY not hers. I had been training for this and she had done nothing to prepare. She was making promises that she had no idea how to keep and I recognized it. I recognized it because I was about to do the same thing.

I kept to the speech I had written for the most part. It just so happened that it was completely dichotomous to hers. I explained that things were going really well at EHS. There was nothing that needed to change. I would continue to follow the clear path and rich traditions that had been laid down by my predecessors. I had experience. I had wanted to be their president since I walked in the door. This wasn’t something I just woke up and decided to do. My greatest tactic was to single out people in the audience. I said, “I want to be a leader for the same reason that (track star’s name here) wants to run and (rock star’s name here) wants to play drums and (basketball star’s name here) wants to slam dunk. I want to be a leader because I’m good at it." Then I worked in all of the things the students at EHS had told me they wanted me to be at the lunch tables. “I am smart, I am courageous. I wear Guess Jeans. I have school spirit. I am punctual. I have good table manners. I am friendly. I get good grades,” lies were spewing out of my mouth like there was no tomorrow. I was whatever they wanted me to be. I was La Ketch. Vote for me. VOTE FOR ME YOU GOD DAMNED HICK BASTARDS!!!

I definitely got more applause than she did. As soon as it was over, the student council advisor said to me, “Well I think you did it. She gave a pretty good speech, had me worried for a bit but I think you got 'em back.” I was not convinced. I was sick with worry. The voting took place at lunch. I walked around begging everyone to vote. My voice said, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, just vote! Let your voice be heard!” But my eyes said, “PLEASE Vote for me! Please vote for me motherfucker or you will regret it.”

After lunch, when they were counting ballots, I couldn’t sit in class. I was sick to my stomach. I was so worried. If I lost to this girl, that would be it. I couldn’t go back to cheerleading, tryouts were way past. I would be nothing if I didn’t win. I asked to go to the nurse’s office. I lay on the couch clutching my stomach and waiting for them to announce the winner. Finally, at the end of the day they did. They announced it over the intercom system to the whole school.

I won.

The people of EHS had spoken. They didn’t want change. They wanted the cheerleader.


At 4:15 PM, Blogger Eve said...

How did you have such GIANT BALLS at that age!!??? That is so awesome, and VERY "Election", oh my!

And the fact that you had "bee training" just gave you that extra something special, like the guy in "Rushmore. (haha! I had to be an a-hole and pick on your typo! but it's funny, right? haha!)

At 4:23 PM, Blogger la Ketch said...

i know this entry is riddled with them. i'm too busy at work to comb through it. i have to get rid of this pesky job. it's cutting into my blog time.

At 8:59 PM, Blogger jill said...

i loved that story... what happened to the burnouts? did you end up dating any of them?

At 9:54 PM, Blogger la Ketch said...

i married one. check him out:

At 4:38 AM, Blogger izchan said...

your the one.

I will vote for you on no other reasons that your name is LA KETCH.


awesome post.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger tina said...

I want to comment on every post about how awesome it is, and I feel like it's going to get OLD, but you keep making all of them sew awesum.

At 4:13 AM, Blogger pete. said...

I did see Election, so no worries! I'm savoring these posts, and just read this one now.
When I was a kid I always wondered how old-timey people could put up with serialized novels. Now I know. I am hooked and I just want to prolong the experience...


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