For some of [the kids] it\’s hard to be in school; it\’s like hell. Sometimes they use that word, \’hell\’. And for others, it\’s like, great, it\’s never been better. – Gus Van Sant on Elephant

After an idle morning, I watched Elephant which was on HBO\’s on demand comcast for the longest time. Although it seemed like a deliberate move to portray Columbine, it was a sweeping portrait, almost poetic, of how high school is like. How people are focused on their self-needs. How disconnected it is from reality. I was never that bitter about high school until I graduated and realized how little of the people I really knew. I didn\’t feel like an Acalanes Don. I was just someone who was shuffled through the system and spit out to fulfill the school\’s statistic of nearly 0% dropout rates and the top schools in the state.

From time to time, when I want to prove that I have changed, I show the above picture. Here, I cropped myself out. Usually I have people try to find me. Most people cannot within the first minute. I have to point myself out, that I am standing alone. That day, they had us line up in the bleachers. I tried to look for my \”best friend\” (aka competitor), but she was nowhere to be found. So I tried standing next to people I sort of knew, trying to be part of the group. But they gave me a look, so I stood below them instead. The photographer was saying \”3, 2…\” I tried leaning to my right to be part of the group, but gave up. I simply smiled instead, a helpless smile trying to show that I really ok with being a loner. \”1.\” The photographer said at last and took a few more shots.

Nowadays, people can\’t believe that I was like that. \”That\’s so sad,\” one of my friends said once, giving me a melancholy look.

A few days ago, I received a facebook friend request from someone I did not know. I looked at her profile closer. A new CMU freshman who graduated from Acalanes last year. She also sent me a message filled with OMGs and a general excited tone. She asked me whether I had Mr. Hoffman, because he was her favorite teacher. And continued babbling about how great it was to find a fellow Don at CMU. The funny thing is that now more than 5 years later, high school doesn\’t matter. It\’s a fragment of the past. Forgettable and all that is left are the ties, the ability to say SNODOG!

If nobody got it, snodog is the backwards spelling of go dons!

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