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This Whole High School Thing
Peeling off the backing from the name tag, I slapped it to the middle of my chest and walked away from the woman smiling insipidly from across the table. Her smile faltered a little when I didn't require her help. So far in life I've had my name down pretty well, I had this one under control.
"Thfank yhou", I said to the community do-gooder who congratulated me on the award for good behavior, the sound slightly muffled by the sucker I hadn't bothered to remove before speaking. She had been distracted anyway, busy explaining to another one of the magnanimous volunteers why no knew how the hell they got here. According to her, we were just all too "modest" to say anything good about ourselves.
One slice of pepperoni pizza and a Pepsi later, I sat in the room's one vacated table. Unfortunately, I had picked up a diet and couldn't help but eye the surrounding regular Pepsi's around me with envy.
"So where'd you get the sucker?"
Oh no, Mrs. only-believer-in-modest-teenagers-still-left-in-the-free-world had returned for more witty repartee.
"From a friend", I flashed my best adult get-away-from-me smile at her.
Naturally, it didn't work. This one was bent on at least a few minutes of small talk. Luckily generic answers proved effective as I was otherwise engaged in staring down the sugar-infested, calorie-full regular Pepsi she had placed on the table. It was mocking me.
Boredom or a plate refill eventually carried my comrade away from the painful tedium of talking to me and left me free from trying to articulate a new answer. I let out a sigh of relief, looking around the room for a chance to make a break for it. I was unsure of proper leaving etiquette under these circumstances.
"Wait just one moment, please", the now Pepsi-less do-gooder said as she gestured for me to sit down. I acquiesced, being impolite just isn't my thing.
Community do-gooder's fellow do-gooders had taken it upon themselves to make a speech just as I had been taking the opportunity to leave. Her words were short and to the point however. A simple, "blah blah, good kids, blah blah, this is where we're from (as if we cared), blah blah thank you" seemed to satisfy her.
I left. My sardonic, cavalier attitude dissipated at the exit where I tripped over a trash can, nearly showering a girl on the floor with Pepsi. I remained composure though, depositing the unwanted and undesirable Pepsi into a receptacle at the end of the hall.
I failed at this whole high school thing.