Chapter 1 – “The Talk” of September 1, 2011

I have crazy parents.

This was the only clear thought running through my otherwise crazed brain on September 1, 2011.

Some of my other thoughts: What was the name of that new acne medicine again? Wow, that girl across the street is pretty. I wonder where she lives? She’s always near our side of the street, though. Oh yeah, I remember that awesome Facebook post I made. Maybe I’ll get more followers. If only I could pop you, K2-sized pimple! Everest is too hard. 

Now let me explain my only thought worth explaining.

Hey, adolescence is confusing for me too! Not just for you, reader.

It was a regular September day at home. Summer break was coming to an end. School was about to start. I had just graduated from elementary school and was ready for the big jump to middle school. Pimples were beginning to sprout on my face as fast as I wished my Facebook followers would. The infamous and legendary adolescent years were just beginning. And with those adolescent years came not only physical adolescent attributes, but also adolescent thoughts, some of which you were lucky enough to sample above.

I know, I know. You are wondering why you are wasting your time reading this blog if the only lessons about life you are going to get are how to pop the most pimples in the shortest amount of time, because seriously, with the adolescent thoughts that form in this weirdo’s chaotic brain (this weirdo being me), how could I (I being you) learn anything about the challenges of life?

My answer? Give this pimple-faced boy some time, people! I have to go pop some more Uranus-sized pimples, maybe K2 and even Kilimanjaro (I don’t know about Everest).

Then I have to go buy some followers on Facebook (social status in school is of, like, immense importance), and then I have to…

Okay, okay, I’m kidding. Not about the pimple sizes (sadly) but about the rest. Just trying to set the scene here.

But seriously, it was a pretty big jump from elementary school to middle school. Or at least that was what everyone told me, including my insane parents. (Hold on, I am getting to the explanation of why I thought they were crazy. And believe me, it was a good reason.)

I didn’t think going to middle school was that big of a deal. I had bigger problems to worry about, such as the ones detailed above. You know — adolescent, teenage problems. As far as I was concerned, the “big” jump to middle school was like jumping over a speed bump.

Big deal.  

I mean, I was only jumping one more grade, right? Fifth grade to sixth. Just like I had jumped from preschool to kindergarten, then kindergarten to first grade, and so on and so forth.

However, my confusion for what the “big” deal about the “big” jump was quickly diminished after “The Talk.” 

It happened during dinner that night. And it gave me nightmares for the rest of the week, until September 7, when school started.

The Talk took place over a hearty meal of spaghetti with meatballs. I should have known. My psychotic parents (hold on, almost there) served me my favorite homemade meal to brace me for The Talk:  

It was my fault for starting it. My adolescent pimple-covered mouth could not stop itself from asking the burning question in my mind: When does school start? 

What happened next happened so fast I struggle to remember that day, three years ago. It was all a big blur. I guess another side effect of being an adolescent is short term memory loss:

Figures.

During The Talk, my parents (Dan and Cynthia Pondexter, just to let you know) informed me that school had already started. The local school near my house that all my adolescent friends were attending had begun two weeks ago. But my middle school had not started yet. It would start in one week. Because I was not going to the local public school that my friends and other pimple-faced adolescents in my town were.

No.

I was going to a boarding school on the East Coast.

And that, my readers, is why I thought my parents were crazy.

I told them this, of course, and they started to explain their reasoning. However, I could not focus on their calm and collected explanation, as I did not feel the same.

All I understood was that school would begin on September 7, so start packing ASAP!

At that moment, my adolescent-diseased, panicked brain fled from the situation and took me with it:

I imagined myself in a zombie apocalypse. Because honestly, I would rather have been stuck in a zombie apocalypse, struggling to survive, than to go to… My acne-infested mouth with enough steel braces inside to make me magnetic could not even say the words.

But I was not in just any zombie apocalypse. The zombies were pimples, even larger than the ones that grew on my face. And as usual, I had finished all my pimple cream. I was defenseless.

It was as I sprinted away from the swarming pimple-zombies that my mind unleashed its reaction to The Talk. 

What?!? Boarding school??? What?!? Boarding school??? Wake up!!! Is this a dream? It has to be! Maybe adolescent-itis is contagious? I mean, I know I’m crazy, with my adolescent-infected mind and all, but my parents too?!? What is happening??? Boarding school??? What????? Boarding school?!? Boarding school?!? What?!!! BOARDING SCHOOL!!!!!!!!! 

No!!! I don’t wanna die by the wrath of You Know Who! I don’t wanna live in fear of getting attacked by evil wizards flying around on broomsticks! Boarding school is something that only exists in the movies, right?! Why is this happening to me? I don’t wanna get beaten by ex-Army sergeants and run miles and miles a day until exhaustion! I don’t wanna live far away from home in army barracks infested with cockroaches. I mean, pimple-infested adolescents are one thing, but cockroaches and other critters too?! Lord Voldemort, just Avada Kedavra me now! Boarding school is for children with magical powers and military jocks! People who deserved to be punished! Not me!!!

Then my thoughts and I returned to the dining table at home with my parents, just in time to hear the end of their sensible response. It was about how boarding school was not what I probably thought it was, not the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

or military boot camp.

It was actually a place where the sons and daughters of many wealthy and powerful went to school. It was an extremely expensive opportunity of a lifetime, where I could meet people from all over the world and discover my passion in life, play sports, try new art forms, travel to new places, blah, blah, blah.

“Got it, Lew?” asked my dad, Dan, when he finished reciting the advert brochure from memory that probably read on the bottom in fine print, Everything on this brochure is not true.

My dad was usually not this serious. He was always the jokester in the family. On the other hand, my mom was the family enforcer. She was normally the more serious and firm one.

“Yep. Makes sense. Thanks for explaining.” I responded untruthfully. I did not believe a word of it. I believed it as much as I would believe it if you told me I had no pimples. I would tell you, good one. 

I had heard the rumors at school about their friend’s brother’s best friend’s cousin twice removed who went to boarding school and came back with scars and other nightmarish tales of… boarding school. The word was revolting:  I was left feeling just as confused as before, maybe even more. The question that lingered in the back of my brain: What did I do to deserve this punishment?

Life Lesson #1: Don’t show up to anything unprepared. (If you show up to a pimple-zombie apocalypse without pimple cream, you will not like the end result.)