I got in trouble in junior high for making a ‘slam book.’
The offending questions included: What’s your favorite tv show? and How many siblings do you have? and Who’s your celebrity crush?
My classmates passed it round and round until I had long lovely lists of people’s answers. And it made me very happy.
But then a teacher found it.
“I know these aren’t mean-spirited questions.” She held me after class, holding the folder front of me. “But these sorts of things aren’t allowed.”
“Why?” I dared, staring at my meticulously decorated folder. There was puffy paint on there and everything.
I wanted it back.
“Because someone’s feelings could get hurt.”
I felt the weight of unfairness then.
The crushing despair of CENSORSHIP.
How dare she. Those answers didn’t belong to HER.
They belonged to US.
I died a little when she put MY property in her top drawer and shuffled to my next class defeated. How was a list of t.v. shows gonna hurt anyone’s feelings?? —I still remember The Cosby Show was the most popular answer. — I just wanted everyone’s thoughts!
And I still want people’s thoughts.
See, adults do the same thing . But they call them quizzes and questionnaires. Hell. Nowadays, teachers pass similar questions to students as a ‘getting to know ya.’
I’m not bitter.
I just keep on keeping’ on.
But I never (ever) forget, Ms. Williamson6thgradesocialstudiesJohnstonJuniorHigh.
And with that, a new Book Lab was born. AND I made a new questionnaire, thank you very much.
Here’s a list of our favorite words:
Are you offended? Anyone’s feelings hurt?
Didn’t think so.
(I also must give Nedra props for knowing how to spell ‘onomatopoeia’.)
Anyway, Book Lab isn’t always academic. I thought it’d be fun to revisit our teenage selves. Regress a little.
So a new assignment was born:
Pick a book that would’ve appealed to your 16-Year-Old Self.
We hit the Young Adult section at the library.
And this would be interesting.
After all, we were:
- An academic.
- A punk-rocker.
- An introvert.
- A cheerleader.
- A social activist.
- And a debutante.
(at least in high school).
But before I go on, would you like another offensive list to read?
Here are our favorite cheeses:
- goat cheese
- Farmer’s cheese
- goat cheese
(Chèvre for the win!)
On that note, we headed to Blue Dahlia, ordered wine and nibbles and revealed our picks!
Book Lab’s celebrity guest this round is Monica. Monica’s favorite colors are yellow and red, and says the closest thing to real magic is déjà vu.
Monica also has fun nails.
This is Nedra.
Nedra likes pink and green and would name her yacht “Boat Hair, Don’t Care.”
Nedra also has an impressive ability to pick books that inspire weiner jokes.
This is Petra.
Petra likes blue and purple and says Physics was the worst class she ever took.
Petra also grew up in Amsterdam, so her high school years were probably way funner than ours.
This is Anna.
Anna’s favorite colors are red and black and says she’d pick ‘Marisol’ if she had to choose another name for herself.
Anna’s favorite bands in high school were The Cure, Bauhaus, and Joy Division.
This is Emily.
Emily likes various shades of blue. She also likes to pet kitties and write poetry in her spare time.
She also wins the rare I-Look-Like-My-Book-Cover Award.
And then there’s me.
My favorite colors are orange and magenta and the worst class I ever took was 10th grade geometry because the teacher was a SADIST.
(Guess who was the cheerleader.)
It was time to give our books the Page 69 test.
For those of you not in the know, we always read snippets from page 69. If the passage is decent, then the rest of the book probably won’t suck.
(Only one of us was dubious after this exercise.)
In a few weeks, we’ll reconvene and discuss our picks.
But FIRST some more lists:
*You leave tonight for an all expenses paid week ANYWHERE. Where you going?*
- Walt Disney World. I’d stay at the Grand Floridian with the Deluxe Dining Plan.
*What’s the closest thing to real magic?*
- Answered prayer & instant karma
- Real time answered prayer & good poetry
- Finding true love
- Déjà vu
- Going to the beach with a boyfriend
*Where’s the strangest place you’ve peed?*
- In a cup in the H-E-B parking lot
- In a friend’s backyard. It went down my leg and scarred me for life.
- In an olive grove in Spain.
- Any toilet in Venice. They’re all nasty.
- A hole in the ground in the south of France.
- Behind a London bus stop.
And now I’ll leave YOU with the question that stumped all of us.
If YOU were transported 400 years into the past with NO clothes or objects, how would you prove you were from the future? Hmm?
Let me know.
Keepin’ it classy until next time,