Young 97s

I saw this book in the library where I work. It’s called 97 Things To Do Before You Finish High School.

It got me thinking. How had I spent my youth? Did I measure up? Had I done all the things that the new-fangled youth of today are doing? So I went through the list and made a list of my own. What follows is the list of the things in the book that I didn’t do before the tender age of 18. Dig if you will the picture of what this says about me.

1. Join a club.
I was racking my brain on this one. I wasn’t anti-club or anything, but I honest to mergatroid can’t think of any club that I ever joined. I was a part of the school thespian society, but that was the biggest bullshit club ever. There were no meetings, and all you had to do was be in a lot of plays and you were in the club. I even held an office in that club. “Scribe.” Can someone please hold my hand because the sheer theater geekiness of that title is making me a little faint right now. I never scribed anything for anyone in a thespian-related context so I have no idea what the hell that was about. I remember the day I was “elected” scribe. There were four offices. President, Veep, Scribe and Treasurer. None of these people had any responsibilities at all. It was after rehearsal and our teacher was like “who wants to be thespian president?” and someone would say “ok, me.” When he said “scribe” I was like “I’ll do that.” But that’s not really a club, is it? You want to know something else bullshizzy about that club? When I was a senior, we had a graduation awards ceremony, where people got called out for best GPA and Most Volunteer Hours and real shit like that. And, for some reason, my name got called that year and I got a thespian award. Like, it was a little trophy and everything. Why I got one and no one else did I never figured out. Weird.

2. Give technology a break
There weren’t cell phones or email or PDAs when I was in high school and I was the last kid on earth to even get a VCR player or an answering machine. My technology consisted of tv-watching and…um…yeah. Just tv watching. And, come to think of it, when we spent summers in Fiji, there was no tv there. So I guess I did have a break from technology. Sort of. Does that count?

3. Host a film festival with your friends.
Really? This is what the kids are doing now? FAN-SWAH.

4. Start or join a book club.
Oopsie, future librarian. I didn’t even know that book clubs were a thing to like, DO. I never talked about books with my friends, really. Unless it was to tell them that this one or that one was good. But discussing? Nuh-uh.

5. Sing karaoke.
We didn’t know nothing from karaoke. But this one kind of counts because we sang in front of each other all the time. Theater geeks do that, you know.

6. Dine high end on a low budget.
Not unless you count the Olive Garden, which I TOTALLY DO.

7. Record an oral history.
Kids today, I tell ya. They are doing fancy things. I didn’t know shit about what an oral history was. Although one of my best friends in high school, Mike, made me a present for graduation. It was a multi-page list of every single inside joke we had with our friends. The list was more than a hundred items strong, and I still have that sucker and I love it. One night, for some reason, Mike and I tape recorded ourselves reading out the list to each other and telling the stories behind why each item was so dang funny. I don’t give a monkey ball about possessions usually, but that tape was one of the most important things I ever owned. It was crazy, and funny, and nonsensical, and awesome. I lost it somewhere and I can still make myself get a little misty over the fact that I lost it. Sad. Don’t you feel so sad for me? I know, my problems are so yooge. I deserve a telethon. It ain’t easy being meezy, baby.

8. Spend quality time with your grandparents.
Never got to do that.

9. Learn a martial art.
Only the fine martial art of cutting others with my eyes.

10. Enter a sports competition.
Nope, but I spent much of my youth in dance auditions, and if you want to show me a more cut-throat event, I would love to see it. Maybe cock-fights?

11. Determine your blood type.

12. Detox your body.
That would have gotten in the way of my very serious Cool Ranch Dorito and Faygo consumption.

13. Plant an herb garden.
The thought of me doing this NOW is laughable. As a teen? Whatever.

14. Know your silhouette and colors.
I am starting to doubt the validity of this book. Did they really just say that? Am I being punked?

15. Visit your state capital.
I went to the city, but never the actual building. There is nothing at all entertaining about this one.

16. Take a camping trip.
Still have never done this to this day. No one wants to take me, I think. I have asked numerous camping-type friends to let me tag along and no one has ever helped a girl out. What does this say about me that my friends are too scared to take me into the woods with them?

17. Hike to a mountaintop.
We didn’t have mountains in the midwest. That’s still true, right? Now that they have earthquakes there, who the hell knows.

18. Make a podcast.
Once again I reiterate that I was brought up in the days of yore when we had to do things like order plane tickets over the phone and buy stage makeup because drug store/mall makeup didn’t carry brown colors and there was no such thing as a self-service slurpee maker and we played text-based games on our Commodore Vic-20s. So, nope.

19. Keep a scrapbook.
20. Learn to match beats.
Although I did know how to run a sampling machine and a sound board in high school. Do they still even make sampling machines? Or did I basically just say that I know how to work a Victrola?

21. Create a comic strip.
No way. The closest I came was I created a storyboard once for a film class. Sort of the same? Kind of? A little? Ok not really.

22. Paint your room.
23. Write your own manifesto.
Kids are writing their own manifestos these days? NUTS.

24. Contribute to community beautification.
Please. I mowed my parents lawn until I wanted to DIE. That was all I could take.

25. Visit your local officials.
If by this you mean my local McDonald’s drive-through officials.

26. Write an op-ed.
Dang, I missed out on that one. I had very strong opinions about Betty versus Veronica.

27. Understand the stock market.
My economics class in high school was an effing joke. As were most of my classes.

28. Learn basic car maintenance.
I still need to get around to that.

29. Learn CPR.
Yeah, that one too. What the hell have I been doing with my life?

30. Ride a horse.
I had never even seen a real horse except but once in 6th grade camp.

31. Bury a time capsule.
What was I going to put in there? My acid washed jeans and my autographed photo of Soupy Sales?

That’s it. Out of 97 items, I didn’t do a third of them before finishing high school. A FULL THIRD. A sampling of the ones I DID do, however, are: throw a house party, learn about safe sex, take an art class, make your own halloween costume, and go skinny dipping. You know, all the important ones.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl


  1. Are you serious?! According to that list, I was a Grade-A Loaf in high school! But wait…this list was things to do before you finish high school, so means these things could be done in middle school, too? Or, earlier? Yeah, I’m totally going to expect my kid to understand the stock market and write their own manifesto in 4th grade.

  2. I too was a loaf. We had to find out our blood type in high school during science class, which basically meant pricking our partner’s fingers (and in my case, making your partner pass out due to all of the blood.) Also, maybe I’m being a naysayer but are high school students actually going to read that book?

  3. ‘Host a film festival’? Does that include watching a bunch of movies in a row at a slumber party? Cause if we actually had to crack out a projector, I think there are very few fulfilled teens finishing high school.

  4. We make a lot of demands on our kids these days and when we don’t other people do it for us. I am sure I did much worse than you on knocking out even a small portion of this list. Luckily I was raised in the 60s when nobody wrote books like this.

  5. Oh, your comments made reading that crap list totally worthwhile. Somehow I don’t think hacking into a government database made the list. Am I right? And with an old school dial up modem (300 baud). Took us months to figure out the right phone number. Kids today with the darn internet have it too easy. Why, we didn’t even have thousands of fancy martinis when I was in high school. There were 2 kinds and they were both made with gin. Uphill both ways in the snow! Ahem. Sorry, birthday approaching. Carry on. 🙂

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