Trying to Smell Like Teen Spirit

Continued snow, cold, standardized testing, and wonky schedules have made us all a little crazy. “I’m mad. You’re mad. We’re all mad here” which is probably the most useful literary paraphrase/misquote in public education ever (Carroll).

To curb our stir crazy, one of the “normal” week days, Throwback Thursday appropriately enough,  was declared an 80’s/90’s spirit day. (Mind you, we are getting to a point where very few of our clientele were even alive or cognizant of fashion during those decades.) What I heard was, “You can dress like you did in college!” which means I could be warm comfortable and a complete mess by today’s standards.

Somewhere between 1992-1996, I would have considered this to be a good lookin' day.

Somewhere between 1992-1996, I would have considered this to be a good lookin’ day.

Sloppy pigtails, flannel, Doc Martins actually worn during college, and a 10,000 Maniacs tee from a 1992 concert making the t-shirt alone older than all of my students. If only my jeans from that year still fit. Thank God and Kurt Cobain for grunge. As long as my college budget could accommodate thrifting, I was fashion forward.

The morning of our glorious throwback, there were some failed attempts to play music over the PA, causing one of my seniors to grumble under his breath, but just loud enough so we could all appreciate his insightfulness:”Gaaaaahhh, when are they going to realize that we are like 15- 18 years old.”

Me:“Umm, about the time that you realize that this is high school and that’s how we roll. Suck it up and play along.”

I got a long suffering, dismissive head shake for that. Someone has become a little too big, and self-righteous for his britches lately. It must be nice to have all the answers.

Then I looked a little closer at my worldly and wise student.

Me:“Student name, you’re wearing a ratty cardigan and a Nirvana t-shirt right now. YOU PARTICIPATED!!! (Implied “bee-atch!” on the end of that statement for grungy toughness.)

He looked down at his t-shirt, and I thought he was going to weep at the realization.


Later that night Pulp Fiction (1994) was on which had to have been one of my favorite college movies. (With, of course, a strong nod to Wayne’s World, Reservoir Dogs, and Clerks–seems like a strange combination) The soundtrack played at many parties, and I’m sure inspired some absurd dance competitions akin to Mia and Vincent. At Halloween that year, if you were “cool like Fonzie,” you donned Mia and Vincent’s black and white ensembles with black wigs to coordinate with the Pumpkin to your Honey Bunny.

I'm not sure that I knew this couple even when it was 1994.

I’m not sure that I knew this couple even when it was 1994.

If you were extra cool and edgy, you fashioned an adrenaline shot hypodermic for Mia to wear. Heroin chic!

Throwback complete.



One thought on “Trying to Smell Like Teen Spirit

  1. Pingback: What? | possumscatsthingsgnawingatme

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