THE ANALYZING YEARBOOKS SERIES: NINTH GRADE
NINTH GRADE – 1995 – Mechanicsburg Area Senior High
Fact: You are currently thinking, “Wait a second…what happened to Seventh Grade?” The funny thing is…good fucking question, because I’d like to know myself. As it stands, the yearbook from Seventh Grade is missing, dust in the wind at this particular moment. I can’t even speak as to how disappointing this is considering that this was the year Erin Cochran straight-up broke my heart, causing me to consider blowing my brains out (the seventh grade equivalent of which was locking myself in my room on a Friday night, turning the lights off, staring at the ceiling, and fast-forwarding/rewinding between I’D DIE WITHOUT YOU by PM Dawn and END OF THE ROAD by Boyz II Men on the BOOMERANG soundtrack on my Walkman for four hours.). So that’s a loss for everyone.
Now that that’s cleared up, you’re likely wondering, “OK…well, wait a second…what happened to Eighth Grade?” That, luckily, I have an answer for, and I was amazed how quickly I was able to recall the circumstances, which means I have enough brain cells left to keep drinking!
That yearbook is devoid of any inscription. Suffice to say 1994 was one of myriad years that Central Pennsylvania was beset by a massive blizzard in the month of March. This particular year’s was so severe that we actually missed close to two weeks of school. That fucked our yearbook deadlines (which I should know, having been on the staff…and yes, I’m currently breathing on my fingernails and buffing them on my shirt as if this were 1954 and I were an asshole), and when those deadlines went to pasture, so did any chances of getting our yearbooks by the time the school year ended. Thus, the books were delivered to our homes a couple of days after summer vacation started. And no douche would try to cart his yearbook around with him in the post-academic calendar just to collect his classmates’ ruminations.
Not that I would know anything about that douche. At all.
That brings us to the Ninth Grade Yearbook, where…yeah, you’re going to notice a lot of references to “DQ”. Because my first job was at Dairy Queen. Which was the fucking place to work back then, I might add. You’ll also notice the incredible number of references to my bad jokes; those of you that know me now will have your suspicions confirmed: I have not changed remotely since the age of 15.
--“Hey Geoff! Art is my favorite class. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha. Keep cooking! – Dave” (I literally have no frame of reference for this, don't know how cooking relates to art, and it scares me enough that I’m actually afraid to look through the pictures to find out which ‘Dave’ this was. That was fourteen ‘Ha’s’. ‘Dave’ was not fucking around.)
--“Geoff, [g-off] to a nice guy in my american studies class who i picked on – just kidding – you’re cool but you need to help pick on PO Sanker more well see ya next year. 697-XXXX Tara Kerstetter” (Tara was ahead of her time in a couple of ways. One, she eschewed both proper capitalization and punctuation, obviously indicating that she was a visionary who foresaw how Instant Messenging discourse would be developed years later. Two, she was the first girl to ever write her phone number in my yearbook; a girl giving her number to a ninth grade boy sets off something not unlike a parade in that boy’s pants, so it’s a big deal. Three, during one lunch period that year she got in a fight with a girl named Maureen O’Donnell. The scrap was broken up only after each girl had slapped the other, pulled hair, and torn the other's shirt. As I recall, Tara not only ripped clean through to annihilate Maureen’s bra but showed up in the aforementioned American Studies class later that afternoon with a clump of Maureen’s hair in her pocket. Four, she looked like Sydney from MELROSE PLACE, which was not a bad thing until Brian Kirsch started calling her “Sydney” every day until it became nomenclature leprosy. In any event, she won all over the place, so…take a bow, Kerstetter. Take a bow.)
--“Geoff, Hopefully we will have better luck with lunch next year. I’m glad you were in some of my classes & I got to know you better. Have a great summer! – Laura Vassey” (No one is going to fucking believe this, but I was one of a couple ninth graders who was moved a course ahead in math Freshman Year. That’s right, the guy who sometimes forgets how to use a calculator and can’t keep track of the points in a Horseballs game because he can’t add skipped a year in math. I’m as puzzled as you are. Anyway, because of when our Geometry…or was it Algebra II…FUCK I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER THE CLASS!...was scheduled, like nine Freshmen, myself included, got stuck in Senior lunch. It was…less than fun. There was a kid named Raj who tried every goddamned day to give us Swirlies – what some of you might call “Bowling” or “The Boosh”. I’m having flashbacks. On an unrelated note, Laura and I both ended up at James Madison where we managed to ignore each other for over four years. Based on the obvious love inherent in her message to me, I’m sure that's a shocking revelation.)
--“Geoff, Before I started working at DQ, Barb warned me of a few people. Nic you can imagine was one of them. And she said, ‘Geoff, he’s a human hormone!’ But you’re a great guy a very funny. And by the way Barb was just kidding. You’re a great blizzard maker but I get the feeling you don’t really like drive thru, huh? Anyway I’ll wish you luck for the rest of the year and see you at DQ. – Becky” (So much going on in this one. While I have to admit that I don’t remember Becky just from this entry, that blabbermouth cunt Barb apparently cost me any shot of wooing her by declaring me a walking gland before I ever got the chance to make a first impression. And poor Nic…how bad is it that he’s the “obvious” one to get warned about when I was allegedly a sexual harasser who couldn’t wait to rub my crotch against the first thing that walked past me? I think we can assume that Nic either ended up in jail, dead by his own hand, or tragically, perpetually misunderstood. Fucking Barb.)
--“Geoff, I don’t know which is better, our deaf science teacher and his piece of s**t labs, or Laura Leedy wondering what the 7a corporation was. Oh well, maybe next year will be better. – Brian S.” (Brian was referring to Rock Martin, our Freshman Year science teacher who was indeed deaf and who was absolutely REVILED at Mechanicsburg Area High School. I didn’t think he was THAT bad, but he was sort of an old, cantankerous dick, and he WAS deaf as shit. Still, the stories people told about him…you would think he was a Nazi that went around assaulting the town’s grandmothers with a barbed dildo. He was just cranky. None of us understood why he had the reputation of Frankenstein’s Monster, but whatever. Also, is there a more ubiquitous Yearbook Standard than “Maybe next year will be better”? I think it’s right up there with, “Have a great summer” and “KIT”. Also, Laura Leedy is going to make an ominous comeback in a bit. Get ready for that.)
--“Geoff, Hola! Hope to see you at Dairy Queen again, soon. Have a terrific summer. Hasta Luego! – Bill Smith” (Apparently, Bill and I had Freshmen Spanish together and he was really fucking excited about it. In fact, he was so into the language that he actually put the upside-down exclamation points in front of both “Hola” and “Hasta Luego”. Also, it’s 2009 and I don’t fucking know how to recreate such a punctuation mark on my fucking supercomputer that’s fifty times smarter than I am. Bill went the extra mile on this too – on the inside front cover and the page next to it, there were silhouettes of faces. Bill drew a smoking joint in the mouth of one of them. That was probably his “thing” that year, his “theme”. Almost everyone had a Yearbook Theme; mine that year, I believe, was writing “Never pet a burning dog” in everyone’s yearbook, regardless of how much I liked/disliked them. I’m an absolute champion of diplomacy.)
--“LaTulippe, What a great name! I love it!! Meeting you at the DQ was fun. You great (yeah – right) jokes really made work more interesting. You’re a nice guy even if you are a freshman. Ha-Ha! Good luck next year and I know I’ll see you at work. – Barb” (Fuck off, Barb.)
--“Geoff, I’m glad I got to meet you this year. Have a great summer, see you next year. – Ryan Mackey” (OK, this one just isn’t fair. Ryan was a super nice kid, and one of the fellow Senior Lunch Freshman who lived under a blanket of constant fear thanks to Raj – more than myself, even, because he was the only other guy in the group and smaller than I was. There’s probably a whole breadth and depth to Mackey that I just never got to find out about, and this was fourteen-Christ-on-a-stick years ago, so I’m sure he’s fantastically interesting now. But I’ll just say this: in ninth grade, as a Freshman, he had a flattop haircut. He graduated as a Senior with the same flattop haircut. You draw your own conclusions.)
--“Geoff – Even though you sometimes piss me off, I guess I’m glad you were in my lunch & some of my classes. I hope you have a good summer & a normal lunch next year. – Amy” (First, a note: this was written around the page edges and the face of the opposite silhouette to Bill Smith’s stoner, which means Amy thought she was pretty fucking clever. Proceeding: I believe this was the infamous Amy Behel, the longtime middle school obsession of my best friend, Matt Martin. Mostly I was just going along with Matt, but this is another girl whom I’m sure knew that we were constantly looking down her shirt being that she was one of the first to “develop”, constantly wore open-necked garments, and didn’t ask questions when we flat-out refused to make eye contact with her towards the end of every class. Amy, you’ll be happy to know that not only are you not alone, but I have not since stopped pissing off the ladies. Or looking down their shirts. Perhaps it’s because of this that I’ve yet to touch a female breast. Let’s move on.)
--“Jeff, History was fun this year. Even though we went through how many teachers. It was fun having to put up with Sanker, Rowe, Kuhns and you (yeah right). Even though you hate me and I know you don’t want me to work at DQ. O well you’ll just have to put up with me. I’ll try not to be as annoying. Have a great summer. Good luck in all that you do. And try not to hate me. See-ya later. PS – Don’t take after Sanker and cut yourself while shaving your forehead (EDITOR’S NOTE: There is a cartoon drawing of a band-aid here.) – Laura “Laura” Leedy” (OK, this one nearly broke my fucking head on several different levels. First of all, there’s no way I disliked this poor girl nearly as much as she seems to have thought I did. In fact, she was really cute; she had that crimped, short blonde hair – like Madonna in her heyday – and back then I was WAY into that look in a girl. So I must have just been as much of a sonofabitch then as I am now. Second, we worked together, and I guess I was a sexual predator within the DQ walls, so I can only assume that I was working my newly pubescent musk…but I guess a burgeoning felon will go after anyone whether he really “likes” them or not. Third, she signed her name “Laura ‘Laura’ Leedy”, which doesn’t make any sense, so maybe I didn’t exactly think she was the greatest person ever. Fourth, you remember those pens that were really big, and like four pens in one, and you had black, blue, red and green ink at your disposal? Well Laura apparently had a goddamned aircraft carrier full of them at home, because she used one for this entry and actually bothered to ALTERNATE COLORS EVERY LINE. So maybe there was a reason to loathe this poor girl. Fifth, are you fucking kidding me about the quadracolor pen?)
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Just a warning: this next one is something of a book.)
--“Geoff – You’re my favorite freshman. Don’t ever forget that! It has been fun at the DQ & you know you will seriously miss all of my exciting love stories. Thanks for being such a great listener & for keeping that long secret of my marriage. I owe you one. Call me anytime for a ride. You know I’d be more than glad to give ya one – considered all you’ve done for me. I always looked forward to going to work when you’d be there to make me laugh or so I could update you on Paul. I really do appreciate you being the great friend that you are. You better not forget about me! EVER! I’ll come visit you only if you come visit me. Deal? Well – never forget all of our wonderful memories – there will be more to come just keep your seat belt fastened. You can hardly read this – sorry (EDITOR’S NOTE: The previous was to denote that she had run out of space on the white part of the paper and begun writing in the heather blue space. And she was correct – it is almost fucking impossible to read the writing there. I’m squinting like a goddamned moron as I transcribe this.)! I’ll talk to ya soon, I’m sure. We’re going out this summer. Call me 766-XXXX Love ya always, Kara – Good luck with the girls and all that ya do!” (I mean…I hate to make fun of such a nice effort, but holy shit, the girl must have thought I was going off to war or something. Kara, though, was great – she had one of the best bodies in the history of high school girl bodies AND, in a fact that may sway me as per the belief of a God in Heaven, she worked as a lifeguard at the Mechanicsburg pool. Later, she babysat my brothers, and I was usually so intimidated by her presence in my home that I refused to look directly at her and almost always left the house in a sprint once she arrived, more than likely to masturbate furiously somewhere in the shadows of the forest. Apparently at the DQ, though, I was no longer Geoff LaTulippe, Freshman Avoider, but Geoff LaTulippe, Best De-facto Gay Friend who listened to her stories about her older boyfriend Paul. Paul was described one day by our coworker Doug as “human slime”, and I really have nothing else to add to such an accurate statement. All that said, I have a feeling that most of you are laughing at the whole “you can call me for a ride whenever you want” section, as it proves that nothing ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever fucking changes.)
--“Geoff, I hope we’re in some classes together next year so you can tell me confusing jokes. Most of them are pretty dumb but they keep me busy during the boring hour of history oh well. Have a great summer and fun at DQ! Andrea, Jen and I will come visit you! Love ya, Kim – PS Good luck with the girls!” (I cannot for the life of me figure out who this “Kim” is – much less “Andrea” or “Jen” – and I’m struggling to comprehend why someone who was so obviously, terminally bored with me and my entire existence would bother to sign my yearbook. Also, how bad off was I that fucking everyone had to wish me good luck with the girls? Goddamnit. Evidently not one of those wishes was made with any kind of sincerity because I’m still fucking struggling.)
--“Geoff, You’re a good friend and a good lab partner but I am a better one. You were so lucky to have me for your lab partner & in your English class. Even though you talked a lot we still had a lot of fun. I do have big muscles. Have a good summer – Kate Gardner” (Three things we can learn from this entry: 1) Kate was jacked to the point where she could kick the shit out of me; 2) This made her conceited; 3) She was not only projecting but probably hiding her feelings in plain sight and desperately wanted to give me a handy under the bleachers. If she’d only known what a juvenile pederast I was, we could have had a pregnant ninth grader that year.
--“Geoff, I shouldn’t even be writing in your yearbook after what you wrote in my yearbook. But I will anyway because I’m (EDITOR'S NOTE: The next word here is illegible. Is it "amable"? I don't know. Just baffling.). Maybe I’ll see you over the summer. Maybe I won’t. But I can’t really talk about it. Lauren K. – PS Your jokes suck.” (Before I do anything else, I’d like to thank Janeane Garofalo for making an appearance in my yearbook under an assumed name. I loved you in BIG TROUBLE. But getting down to brass tacks: “Lauren K.”, please run, find your yearbook, and let me know what it was that I wrote in yours. I’m on pins and needles.)
--“Geoff, I’m sorry it take me a while to get your jokes but don’t take it personally because I don’t get anyone’s jokes Chris Gabela” (Chris is currently living in West Virginia and is in charge of operating a label maker that is dangerously low on battery power.)
--“Hi, DQ! (EDITOR’S NOTE: The name ‘Nikki’ is inexplicably written beneath this, even though it appears once again at the bottom of the entry. I’m left confused.) Well, what can I say (EDITOR’S NOTE: Your name twice, apparently. OK, sorry…)? U won’t tell me what to say so I’ll just say run forrest run (Lauren told me that) I never started it. I need stitches U R a good artist I know this ‘cause U R in my art class. I hope you have a good summer at DQ. – Nikki” (I’ve…I’ve got nothing. I don’t remember a Nikki and I have literally no clue what any of that is supposed to mean. Perhaps it bears mentioning that this entry was written upside-down on the page and that we had a large special education program at MASH.)
--“Geoff, You are a good friend. Thanx for all your interesting stories (mace at work), and hilarious jokes at lunch (especially the ones that your brother told). You’re nice, you’re funny, and gosh darn it people like you! – Judy Kim” (Reading this particular entry set off a lightbulb for me, and I’m pretty goddamned excited to share the revelation with you. Judy wrote me what appears to be a sincere expression of friendship, she was clearly the only person in my airspace who found me amusing, and she quoted an obscure SNL character to end her thoughts. Ladies and gentlemen…welcome to the moment my obsession with Asian woman was unearthed! Judy Kim, I have a LOT to thank you for.)
--“Geoff, Well its been fun working with you at Dairy Queen. I remember when I first came in here, you were the first person I met. You use to order me around…I still hate you for it. Just Kidding! Anyway, thanks for teaching me the ways. If you ever need a ride anywhere give me a call (considering you’ll never get yours)→ (license). Thank god this year is almost over. Next year I’ll be a big SENIOR . Don’t worry, I won’t push you around too much. Ha! Well, have a great summer and stay out of trouble (I won’t Ha!). Love always, Sarah J.” (Along with Kara and Lindsay Bollinger – who is still cute as hell but married and whom I ran into over Xmas at a bar in Harrisburg and like an idiot didn’t immediately remember and Jesus Fucking Christ I am never going to have even the most basic skills to ever procreate with a real woman – Sarah was one of the three Hot Older Girls from MASH that I worked with at Dairy Queen. However, all due respect to the other two ladies…Sarah was our “It” girl. She WAS our Kelly Kapowski in the best possible way, so you can imagine how overwhelmed I was that the girl even bothered to talk to me. Which is probably why I’m only now reading her entry as it was truly written, with a definite mental undercurrent of, “Oh my God, I have to deal with this kid again? Motherfucker is lucky I’m too nice to not sign his goddamn fucking yearbook. ‘…When I first came here,’ bullshit bullshit bullshit, ‘…year is almost over,’, bullshit bullshit. Remember to tell him he can call but don’t give him the number…check. Smile Sarah, smile…hand it back…pleasewalkawaypleasewalkawaypleasewalk…FUCK! Why are you still standing here? He’s going to ask me to give him a ride to ano…MOTHERFUCK.” I mean, damn, looking back on it…THAT IS AWESOME. Sarah signed my yearbook. Fuck the rest of you peons, I win.)
God, this is fun. The next feather in the cap of this series begins my adventures at Cedar Cliff High School…