la Ketch

my life story

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Willy and Mr. T.

The whole thing went down on the night of the “Snow Ball”. I’m sure you’ve probably never heard of a Snow Ball before and that’s because I made it up. I didn’t make it up just now, I made it up then. As I explained in my earlier entry, I had become bored with school and also bored with my Presidency. After Homecoming, everything seemed so blah. I needed to create a new event for myself to reign over. A dance would be the perfect antidote to my winter doldrums.

The other reason I was trying to come up with a new project is that the Student Council needed to spend money. It had been explained to me by our advisor that we needed to submit the budget for next year and the only way we could submit the same amount that we had gotten for the current year was to spend all the money we had been given. If they found out that we didn’t need the money they were giving us, they would give us less. No one ever considered taking less money; money that might go to, oh who knows, school books? Instead, we held several meetings trying to come to an agreement on what kind of useless crap we could buy with the surplus.

The first thing we bought was carpet to cover the gymnasium floor when we had dances. This was a smart purchase. The school usually rented it for every dance we had and now we owned it. This would save us a ton of money down the line. Now, next year’s student council would have even more money that they had no idea what to do with. The second thing that we decided to buy with the money was a school mascot. This may have been the single most outrageously stupid idea I’ve ever had in my life. Not stupid in a “someone might get killed” sort of way or a “property will get destroyed” sort of way. It was more like just a really stupid fucking idea; like New Coke or a making a sequel to the “Scooby Doo” movie staring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sara Michelle Gellar. It really wasn't my idea at all though. It was Mr. T who pushed for it.

Mr. T. was a math teacher at EHS and he was the coolest teacher in the school by far. He looked like Danny Kaye with the same twinkle in his eye. Every year, on the first day of school, he would stand in front of his class and say, “If you don’t want to take my class, you can leave right now and I’ll give you an A for the semester. You can go to study hall or walk around the track or go to McDonalds. I don’t really care what you do.” Everyone would just sit there in amazement. We had heard about this from the class above us but we never thought he really did it. Could you really? Just get up and leave and still get an A in MATH, the hardest class ever? He would wait about five seconds, “You’re sure? This is a very good offer I’m making you but once you go, you can’t come back. I’m not kidding guys! I’ll give you and A but you have to go now.” No one did it. No one ever did it. Part of it was that you didn’t believe you wouldn’t get in trouble but most of it, at least for me was that you just really wanted to be in his class. Math or no math, he was the coolest. The point of his little test of course, was to make us understand that we weren’t being forced to sit in his class. We had chosen to be there, pretty brilliant actually. He would often say, “It’s not my job to teach you. It’s your job to learn! The book will tell you everything. If you don’t understand something in the book, just ask me and I will do my best to explain.” Most of the time, he didn’t even talk about math. He would take out a book of Bob Dylan Lyrics and recite to us. He would smack his hand down on the table and yell, “It’s so true!” He loved truisms and the one I always remember him saying is, “The only thing you have to do is die.” It’s ponderous but I think he's right.

Around this time, I was a teacher's assistant in Mr. T’s class. This was a very sought after position and I loved thinking of myself as his friend. We were shootin the breeze one day after class and I asked him what he thought we should do with this extra Student Council money. He said, “What should you do with it?! Why, you’ve gotta get a Mascot!”

We had a mascot. We were the Hornets. What he meant is that we needed to get a Mascot costume. The big stuffed ones that someone goes into with a big head and everything. He was nuts about this idea. A hornet costume was a hard thing to come by. A few years back we did have two girls that didn’t make the cheerleading team dress up like hornets but they really just looked like pathetic bees.

There was this magazine that we got at student council, a catalog of sorts. It had all of these things for schools to buy like souvenirs for the dances and decorations and banners and on the last page, the most expensive in the catalog, were these professional mascot costumes. There were lions and tigers and bears but there were no hornets. “It’s too bad we aren’t the Wildcats because this Wildcat is by far the coolest one.” Mr. T agreed. It was the coolest one. It stood out among the others because it was so damned cute. “What does it matter if we are the Wild Cats or we aren’t? Get it anyway. Pro teams do it all the time!” It’s true, I thought to myself. They did. The Seattle Mariners were a perfect example. They couldn’t have some guy in a big Mariner suit. It would be dumb, so they got a Moose. A Mariner to a Moose is a much, much closer jump than a Hornet to a Wildcat. Still, it was the best costume and Mr. T. was very convincing. He said, "I defy anyone to not love this Wildcat."

I used my powers of persuasion to convince the Student Council to buy the beast. My tactic was always the same, “I’m doing this and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me.” It worked everytime. We bought the Wildcat costume and boy was I excited. Mr. T. was ecstatic. We found some sorry chump to wear the thing and introduced it at a lunchtime activity. We decided to let the school vote on a name for it. We ended up calling it, “Willy the Wanna Be Hornet”. It just got lamer and lamer. The name was Mr. T’s idea as well. The reason it won the name contest is because no one voted. People hated that goddamned Wildcat with a passion. The poor guy inside it got pummeled with everything anyone could find to throw at him. They chased him, pushed him down, and pulled his tail. “Ah, they’ll grow to love him!” Mr. T. assured me. “I’m not so sure Mr. T. Maybe we should see about giving him back? It was a lot of money.” He convinced me to keep it and try it out at the next basketball game. I couldn’t convince anyone to go into the suit though. I had to be Willy myself.

As soon as people got wind that it was me inside the suit, it was all over. They had to pull me out of there to save my life. It was mayhem. People were royally, royally fucking with me: pulling my tail, tripping me, yelling shit, punching me in the stomach. I was so hot and miserable in that thing but I was determined to make people like it, ehm….me. I stuck it out as long as I could but it was clearly over before it began. Afterward, it was unanimous that Willy would be retiring permanently. We couldn’t get our money back. The thing is probably still sitting in the janitor’s closet in the Student Council Room today. At least we burned through a good deal of cash though. I seem to remember it costing about twelve hundred dollars. That’s a lot of Prom Decorations.

It was another major strike against me in the minds of the student body. I had recovered from the Disney debacle because the pep assembly had actually turned out to be one of the best ever. People later came to me and said that they had doubted me initially but now they could see the brilliance in my vision. They had enjoyed the theme after all. But this mascot thing was unrecoverable. People really hated Willy and because everyone knew it was my idea, they had one more reason to hate me.

It was after all of this that I came up with the Snow Ball idea. Many schools had a Winter Formal but we didn’t. No one wanted one really and I agreed that it was too much. So much money to spend on dresses, limos, etc. What I proposed we do instead is have a casual dance. You can bring a date or not, go with a group or come by yourself. We would have a Snow Ball Pep Assembly for the Basketball team and everyone would go to the dance. It would sort of be like Sadie Hawkins. We couldn’t have a Sadie Hawkins dance at EHS because people dressed like cowboys everyday.

People were behind the Snow Ball idea. We decorated the gym with snowflakes, made a big Frosty the Snow Man. We got a DJ with a video screen and we even got pizza and pop (in Enumclaw people call carbonated beverages, “pop” like they do in the Midwest). The one problem we came across was security. We needed to have a certain amount of it in order to follow regulations and we couldn’t afford it. I had spent too much money on Willy. I needed to find a solution and so I went straight to the source - the Claw Police Dept. I spoke to Officer O. who was notorious in the town and in the High School especially because he was always the cop that busted the parties. He knew all of the trouble makers by name. He was despised. He was also the head of the very popular Claw D.A.R.E program. You know, “Dare to keep kids off drugs.” “Just Say No.” He agreed to provide security for the dance for free if all proceeds went to his thriving D.A.R.E. program. I agreed.

The dance ended up being an overall success but also pretty boring. People came mostly because there was going to be a big house party afterwards; a rarity in the Claw. Parties were usually out in the middle of nowhere, a keg in a clearing. But some guy’s parents were out of town and he was throwing a big one. So everyone came to the dance and at the dance Officer O. himself addressed the students of EHS, thanking them for their contribution the D.A.R.E. program. Then he asked me to come up on stage. Once I got up there, as the Student Body President and representative of the students, he thanked me for my contribution the D.A.R.E. program and presented me with a D.A.R.E. hat. I wish I still had it. He gave it to me and I put it on my head and I shook his hand (another reason for them to hate me. It was like Hillary Clinton kissing Arafat’s wife). I thanked Officer O. for his contributions to the students of EHS and I assured him that we would all think twice before taking drugs and always choose to “Just say no”. I was still wearing the hat while I was tripping balls two hours later.

post script: you may be wondering if that picture up there of the Wildcat is the actual Wildcat that I'm talking about in the story and the answer is yes, it is the actual one. I found it on an on-line catalog.


At 9:46 AM, Blogger langus said...

We lived in Kansas City and they call pop "soda". Everytime I said "can I get a pop?" they looked at me like I had 3 heads. In the South they just say "coke". Coke is representative of every pop on the spectrum. In the midwest they don't say BAG either, they say SACK.

It is very funny living all over and knowing this inconsequential shit!

Mr. T still works out everyday at the gym and his wife recently got her boobs done, which is sort of funny + wasteful to me!

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Eve said...

I can't even comment anymore- I don't want to interrupt the excellence of this story.. my jaw is on the keyboard, and I am checking back every 5 minutes...

At 2:50 AM, Blogger izchan said...

why did they hate the wildcat?

it looked cute.


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