Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
CP: Six high schoolers spill out of Buca in their graduation glad-rags. Their carefree laughter fills a spring evening. Their unburdened joy. Why, then, do I mostly recall high school as Nine Circles of Humiliation?
RN: Because your adolescent nerd-caterpillar had not yet molted into your adult self’s Monarch-like fabulousness.
CP: Your flattery is the more gratifying because you dispense it so sparingly. But, going back to the main point here, I imagine you were the president of Pep Club and the volunteer chairman of Burnsville High’s annual candy drive.
RN: Yes, I was the drip who hauled boxes of near-inedible chocolate bars from chem lab to industrial arts, raising do-re-mi for the International Thespian Society.
CP: I was the guy skulking in the bushes behind the gymnasium, having a cigarette.
RN: I would have pegged you a “burn-out” and considered it social suicide to be seen speaking with you. No offense.
CP: I might have sneered at your preppy attire while secretly envying your popularity. I didn’t fit in with jocks, nerds, brains or the Lagniappe crowd. Even the burn-outs were a bit too burned out for me. Meanwhile, what gays?
RN: Exactly. As for popularity, this teenage geek spent his high school years gazing at The Beautiful People from afar, a lowly mortal regarding the denizens of Mount Olympus. Now I have to study the pages of the “Kotka” — our yearbook — to remember their names. Does that make me sound like the embittered nobody that I am?