Zen and the Art of the Fourteen Year Old Schoolgirl

I wrote this thing in my zine about how those school reunion web site never seemed to have anyone who I really wanted to know about. There were plenty of people I can’t really remember or don’t really care about bragging about their boring jobs, but the interesting, intriguing people seem to never have profiles on such sites. My guess was that they are too busy going out having a good time to sit around typing up what they’ve been doing since leaving school. Or like, there’s no internet access in the midst of the Amazon. Or in prison.

Probably the absolute number one person I had always wondered about was this chick called Sarah. She was a supercool bad-ass.

She started at my school and was in my form class in the fourth form. She made friends with another bad-ass girl, but during class she’d sit with me and another girl. Sarah was funny. One time in maths she told me about how her brother got really bad diarrhoea and used a whole roll of toilet paper in one go. When he flushed the toilet got blocked, so she made him put on rubber gloves and fish the pooey paper out. I was in hysterics as she told the story.

I heard a great story about her from a friend who was in her PE class a few years later. Sarah had been mucking around the and strict PE teacher had got fed up and ordered her out. Her last words were that Sarah should “grow up”. As she left the gym, Sarah walked up on tip toes.

In English we’d watched this film called “The Wave” about a teacher who starts up a Nazi-like group to show his students how easy it is to get sucked in to cults. They had all these three slogans, “Strength through discipline, strength through community, strength through action!” One day in Geography, Sarah and I came up with our own cult called The Force. It wasn’t a “Star Wars” reference – I’m pretty sure it was a play on foreskin. The slogans of The Force were “Strength through bondage and discipline, strength through homos, strength through sex.” During a science lesson when we were studying weeds, she drew a picture of “the perfect weed” in my refill pad (it looked like a giant daisy) and wrote “The Force” above it.

Sarah decorated my pencil case. She had a dark green pencil case with stuff like “Live to ride, ride to live”, and a drawing of a person smoking a joint with “Toke on dak” written under it. I still have my pencil case somewhere.

One day Sarah and her friend Trudie wagged school. They dyed each other’s hair. They’d only bought one box of dye, so once they did Sarah’s long hair, there wasn’t enough to do all of Trudie’s shorter hair.

Sarah was so cool. I wanted to be like her so much, but I never quite had the wicked bad-arse qualities that she did. The primo example of me trying to be as cool as she was on the sixth form Geography field trip to Tongariro National Park.

The school had booked a lodge, but there weren’t quite enough bunks, so they’d got two cabins at a nearby motor camp. When the teacher asked for five girls to volunteer, Sarah stuck her hand up, so I did too. However, it didn’t work out as cool as I planned. Sarah along with Mel and Minnie went into one cabin, while was in the other with Catherine the geeky girl and, oh dear, a teacher. So while the bad girls in the cabin next door were smoking and drinking, I was stuck in the 100% not cool cabin where the most exciting thing that happened was when Catherine woke me up in the middle of the night to offer me some chocolate. Oh, it was fun anyway.

On the bus on the way back, Sarah and her friends came up with a rude variation of “Mr Sandman”:

Mr Sandman, bring me some chains,
I’ll use them for my sexual games.
I’ll tie you to the side of your bed,
And I’ll beat you still you are half dead.

Policeman, I love you so,
I’ll oil you up and rub you down slow,
I’ll tie you up with your handcuffs,
I might be gentle or I might be rough.

In the seventh form I was excited to see Sarah’s name on the roll for my Geography class. But she never showed up. The last I heard was that she’d gone to England.

And then a few days ago I got a weekly update email from one of those school reunion web sites I’d signed up with. And there, under the list of new members for my old high school, was Sarah. She’s still in England, she has a baby now and that’s about all she reveals. She’s not in prison, she’s not halfway up the Amazon, but y’know, at least she isn’t bragging about being an IT manager in Hamilton.

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