I was as nervous as my pimples are when they witness me wield the widely feared pimple cream from my medicine cabinet after showering. September 7 was here. I sat in the airplane, scrunched in the middle seat between an old guy already asleep with his head on my shoulder and a lady who reeked of too much perfume, doing her nails, and taking up all my elbow room. I wanted to scream, Adolescents need their space too, people!
However, I was not only nervous about attending prison (it is easier for me to say that than boarding school). I could also not shake off what I had seen on the dining table just before leaving with my parents for the airport.
It was a tuition payment check for the school I would be attending, officially known as The Lamone School for Boys (the school was all-boys, just like prisons…).
It was apparently named after the French guy who started it on the East Coast for boys to “foster and grow in an environment that revolved around appreciating natural beauty while discovering more about themselves as people.” At least that’s what the brochure said. I thought it was just an excuse for having a school in the middle of nowhere, in a desolate forest (solitary confinement was, after all, the worst prison sentence). The location of the school confirmed my worst fear.
Until I saw The Check.
Mom and Dad had told me it was a private school, so I expected it to cost a bit of dough. You know, a couple grand or so. More expensive than my local public school for sure. No. The check was made out to The Lamone School, for… Fifty Thousand Dollars.
Say what? There was no way “prison” was that expensive, I realized. (I later found out the fifty thousand dollars wasn’t even enough to cover the cost of everything per year!) I was floored. My adolescent-itis diseased brain fell out of my head.
I could not believe how much money that was.
Now let’s get something straight here. My family is not rich. Not even close. I would say we are neither super poor not super rich. Right in the middle. Yup. As I said before, I’m just your average pimple-faced teen. So fifty thousand dollars was a TON of money. It could buy a car. It could buy a yacht — okay, not really. But it could buy an unforgettable vacation. It could buy me everything I’ve ever wanted on display at the Apple Store that my parents always said I couldn’t have. It could buy an unlimited supply of the best, most clinically proven successful acne medication ever created. It could even sort of buy me a girlfriend (IF I played my cards right).
I definitely don’t think we are rich, not in the normal sense of the word. Yes, my parents are hard-working professionals and we’re comfortable enough. But are we the have-an-extra-fifty-thousand-dollars-to-throw-away-so-that-we-can-send-junior-away rich? No. Although I am rich in two things which I have mentioned in previous posts: steel and pimples. I got a LOT of steel railroad track braces in my mouth, enough to make my mouth magnetic. So watch your back, Magneto. I’m stealing your thunder. And I got a LOT of pimples. Enough to create a pimple-zombie army to descend upon Earth and enslave the human race. Sorry, adolescent-itis is kicking in.
One conclusion to the exorbitant price of the school continually gnawed at the back of my brain: Mom and Dad, delusional or not, would NOT pay 50 grand just to send me away to a prison. I was pretty sure that regular prison is FREE. Otherwise, there would be no juvenile delinquents. Not many people would pay 50 grand to see their kids off to prison. Correction: NOBODY would do that. My parents were no different. So could it be possible that they were actually doing this for some other reason than to just get rid of me?
So maybe, just maybe…
Boarding school was not that bad? Maybe, just maybe… the brochure and my parents were not lying?
Only time would tell. (I would be keeping my eye on the clock. Carefully.)
Life Lesson #2: Do not jump to conclusions. (Nobody, not even a person like me whose brain has dropped out of their head multiple times, would pay $50,000 to send someone to a prison).