When I was a Junior in High School, I was thrown out of the cafeteria for shooting spitballs. I was not the only one shooting them, but I was the only one that got caught. I had torn the paper wrapper off of my straw and I was using that for ammo. The Gym teacher Mr. Damage grabbed me from behind by my shirt collar and he flung me out of my chair and tossed me onto the floor. He yelled, “Get out of my cafeteria and never come back.” That dude scarred me and I knew that I would have to eat my lunch outside from that point on.
The way a student dressed identified and united them to a group and fashion was a visual reminder of who everybody was. In these days, there were three different types of students, at least that is the way that I saw it. Nobody had tattoos or piercings in these days and the terms nerds and Goths came much later. I was a bagger because I dressed casually. This is not a carpet bagger, or a Republican tea-bagger, or some low-life dirt bagger. It was a pre-hippie style of the late 1960’s, where a person might wear penny loafers, or sneakers and dungarees, or jeans, or baggy trousers. They were not baggy like the saggers wear today, you know those guys who like to show off their underwear.
The jocks usually wore checkered or plaid madras shirts that were tucked into their khaki trousers. Jocks are typically football players, but any sport could make you a jock. The enjoyed wearing their Letterman jackets and hanging out with the cheerleaders. This look eventually evolved into the preppy fashion. The other group was called greasers, who were throwbacks from the 1950’s and they slicked their hair down with Vitalis. They dressed nice with creased pants and shiny shoes that were either pointed or wingtips. You did not need to own a motorcycle to be a greaser and none of the greasers in my High School had motorcycles.
The greasers never ate in the cafeteria, as they either went to the A&P to get a sandwich, or the Dutch Hut for a burger, or the pizza place. The Dutch Hut has recently been closed down by the Board of Health for passing off kangaroo meat as beef, so I went to get some pizza. It was the cool place to eat lunch at because it had a juke box.
I ordered two slices and a coke and since there were no seats left, I stood by the counter. This guy whose face was covered with pimples was standing nearby me and I could tell right away that he was being ostracized by the other kids because of his acne. It seemed like some kind of sick game that they were playing to see who could insult him the best. One guy said to him, “You should go outside and pop that thing before it starts to ooze all over the pizza.”
He tried to ignore them and he started coming closer towards me, but I moved away from him to the other side of the counter. This other guy approached him and said, “Your face looks like someone lit it on fire and then beat it out with a chain.” That did it for the pimple guy and he took off and everyone laughed. I realized that the greasers were funny, but I also thought that they were cruel and I did not want to be one of them.
I did sort of make friends with some of them, but they were only lunch friends. In these days all we had was the R word and the special students were all called retards. There was a guy in my homeroom that was special and I always tried to help him out, because I felt sorry for him. I never had the courage to stick up for him, when other students, usually the greasers or the jocks picked on him.