Sunday, May 25, 2014

30 years ago today

On May 25, 1984, I graduated high school, receiving my diploma in front of a stage set up in the middle of the school's football stadium on a hot, humid night.  After pulling a (relatively) harmless prank during the commencement exercises, my friends and I piled into cars and spent the rest of the night driving to each other's homes, the park, and the beach - wherever we heard a rumor that a party was happening.  The following night (on very little sleep), two friends and I traveled to Houston to hear Billy Idol at Astroworld.

If memory serves, my favorite song on that date was "The Reflex" by Duran Duran.  I was also listening to a lot of "Hold Me Now" by Thompson Twins, "It's My Life" by Talk Talk, and "Head Over Heels" by The Go-Go's.  According to Billboard magazine, here were the chart-toppers around that magical date:

Top LP
Footloose Soundtrack
Hot 100
"Let's Hear It for the Boy"
Deniece Williams
(also #1 on the Cashbox chart)
Rock Album
Heartbeat City
The Cars
Rock Track
"Run Runaway"
R&B Album
Can't Slow Down
Lionel Richie
R&B Single
"Don't Waste Your Time"
Yarbrough & Peoples
Country Album
Oak Ridge Boys
Country Single
"As Long as I'm Rockin' with You"
John Conlee
Adult Contemporary Single
"The Longest Time"
Billy Joel
Dance/Disco Single
"Land of Hunger"
The Earons
Jazz Album
Think Of One
Wynton Marsalis
Inspirational Album
Straight Ahead
Amy Grant
Classical Album
Haydn Hummel Mozart Trumpet Concertos
Wynton Marsalis

Here's the top ten albums from Rolling Stone 422.  As in Billboard, Footloose is on top, but notice that Michael Jackson's Thriller had been on the chart for 70 weeks by that time and had been the top album the week before.

You didn't ask, but my class song was All The Way by Triumph. The first time I ever heard it was when they played it at the graduation ceremony. The second time I heard it was at my ten year reunion.


  1. Great post but . . . the prank. What was the prank?

    1. I fear you'll be disappointed, but here goes:

      As a member of the National Honor Society, I was loaned a NHS stole to wear with my graduation gown, a practice that continues to this day at many schools. The faculty sponsor of NHS was my former biology teacher. We've all had a teacher like this: she was a horrible teacher and tried to compensate for her shortcomings by being overly strict and punitive. I can't think of anyone at the school - student or adult - that liked her (plus I still don't know anything about biology, but I digress).

      I had a good friend that was also in NHS but, during the final grading period, his grade point average had slipped below the required threshold. The biology teacher/faculty sponsor didn't waste any time kicking him out of NHS during the last week of school because that's the way she was. Sure, she was adhering to the rules, but come on. So she took away my friend's stole and then, to add insult to injury, removed the NHS emblem sticker that had already been stuck on his diploma - you could tell that something had been there, then removed. Completely uncalled for.

      So the prank was mild and completely unplanned. After I received my diploma, I sat down and looked over at my friend who was standing in line to receive his diploma. I quickly slipped off my stole and passed it down to him. He wore the stole when he crossed the stage, students and faculty applauded wildly, then he passed it back to me once seated. This is an example of a 17 year old's sense of social justice.

      We thought the administration would just chalk it up to "kids being kids" and let the incident pass, but you know the biology teacher just couldn't let it go. She was convinced that our drama teacher (who we loved and who I'm still in contact with) had given us school keys, we had broken into the biology room, and we had stolen the stole. Of course, that wasn't true so it couldn't be proven, so the matter eventually dropped.

      The friend that was involved in the prank with me was one of the guys who went with me to see Billy Idol the next night. Rebel yell, baby!

      Maybe one day I'll share the story of my best high school prank. I don't want spoil anything, but it involved an armadillo, a Radio Flyer wagon, and a small amount of fireworks.