Editor’s Note – High school was and likely remains a scary, terrifying place. This is especially true if you are a teenage outsider, whether you self-identify as a freak or not. Without getting too heavy on the whole bullying issue, Ominocity would like to issue the following statement to anyone going through an institutional nightmare: “Hang in there kitty.”
Gavin was born with both a sneer on his face and hair like porcupine quills – a natural punk rocker. He was both impressive and frightening, with an intense gaze accented by two eyebrows that puckered like two caterpillars trying to maul each other. One time he had stolen some shotgun shells from his dad and cracked them open, making a neat pile of black gunpowder. We threw matches on them with no results. Finally, convinced that the powder was dead, Gavin lit a cigarette and bent over to light the pile with the tip of his dart. The resulting blast decimated his eyebrows, and his hair never really quite grew back right. Gavin now works at a car dealership that his dad owns.
Through a random friend I had discovered a punk band that jammed a few blocks away from my house. They had exactly five songs that they would play over and over again in the drummer’s garage. That is, when his dad wasn’t insisting on parking his car there. And, as a testament to both their youth and their appalling naïveté, they called their band All Ages.
Even though they weren’t really that good hanging out watching them jam was a good way to kill a Saturday afternoon. Especially when the drummer would get bold enough to steal a beer from his dad, and we would all line up to have a sip and pretend to be buzzed for half an hour.
I was 15 when I had my first mohawk. It was a pretty killer cut, which my buddy Carla had cut with a razor she stole from her dad. To thank her I went out to the corner gas station to buy her some smokes.
“Export A blues,” said I to the attendant.
“Are you gay?” asked the pump jockey. He was roughly 50 or so, with skin made grey from a lifetime of labour and misery.
“Well that’s a faggot haircut. So I would assume that only faggots get their haircut like that.”
I didn’t know how to respond.
“Faggot,” said the attendant one last time.
Mr. Van Cleetz
Mr. Van Cleetz, our high school principal, didn’t care for me. Which was fair, because I hated his fucking guts, his perennially bad breath and his goofy fat ties. Always waiting for me to fuck up, I gave him plenty of material – it was probably fair to say we were both bored with school, albeit for different reasons.
But in addition to not liking me, he also hated my Dayglo Abortions T-shirt. Which, of course, was one of my favourites.
“You’re going to have to go home and change that shirt,” he said to me one day.
“And miss gym class?” I sneered.
Van Cleetz just crossed his arms and didn’t say a word. I was pushing it but I always knew when to stop just before the imminent suspension.
“Tell you what,” I said. “I’ll go put on a sweater instead.”
Suffice to say Mr. Van Cleetz didn’t much care for my hoodie, which had “The Queers” scrawled on it with sharpie marker.
A week later he issued a dress code stating we were no longer allowed to wear clothes defaced with marker.
The next week The Queers played in Saskatoon, and I got a hoodie upgrade.
After getting threatened by a jock from a neighbouring high school, Wolfie was in the mood to get fucked up. There was a punk rock show in Saskatoon’s north end industrial, which made it hard to score drugs. Fortunately a guy he knew said he knew a guy. That guy turned out to be a neo-nazi, who had threatened to kick Wolfie’s ass before. But, putting aside his differences for the evening, the nazi obliged by selling Wolfie a thinly rolled joint for five bucks. Wolfie even did the honourable thing and smoked it with him. “By the way,” he said, puffing on the roach, “it’s dusted.”
“What?” Wolfie was unused to the lexicon of a drug dealer, especially one so despicable.
“Hope you like PCP.”
Wolfie spent the rest of the evening dashing across 51st Street in a speedy haze despite the evening traffic.
“Never smoke dope with nazis ever, k?” advised Wolfie.