I haven’t watched The Breakfast Club in many years, and can’t remember a lot of details about it. But I do know I liked it. And that’s the way it goes, at this point. I often remember few particulars about old movies or TV shows, but still recall my initial feelings about them. And often those “feelings” are from 1985 or whatever, and are therefore questionable at best. Are you familiar with this concept? Your original emotional reaction is all that remains? Please tell me I’m not the only one?
Anyway, the mythology surrounding the film states that all the high school “types” are represented. I’m not so sure about that, but let’s go with it. I guess they’re roughly (from left to right):
The wild stoner
The eccentric weirdo
The perfect person
The smart-ass nerd
It feels like there are a few missing, right? How about The generic? Might seem a tad harsh, but you know what I mean. There were some generics around. What other ones are missing?
And, inevitably… I’d like to know which Breakfast Club “type” you believe you were. I was, without a doubt, the smart-ass nerd. Except I didn’t have a cool haircut and khaki pants like Anthony Michael Hall. I mean, check it out… Not sure why that picture is so grainy. It looks like it was scanned on the world’s first scanner. In any case, I certainly fit into the smart-ass nerd category. I mean, if it weren’t for the biting sarcastic remark, I would’ve had to shop for a new type, and I can’t have that. I might’ve been able to embrace The eccentric weirdo, but can’t see myself in any of the other categories. The generic, I guess. But what high schooler wants to be there?
Also, I have a secondary question for y’all. Imagine if the 17-year-old you could view a video summary of your 2019 life. What would 17 think about it?
In my case, there would be plenty of negatives. The Jiffy Pop haired gentleman above would have a hard time understanding how I got to be so goddamn portly, for instance, and would not be open to explanations. And he’d be confused about the fact that I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Hell, the 2019 me is confused about that one! And the way I make a living would probably be a disappointment. When I was 17 I had romantic notions on top of romantic notions. My current position would not fit into any of that.
However, 17 would be somewhat impressed that I was able to put together some semblance of a normal adult life. (He’d have no way of knowing that Toney is the brains behind the operation.) I can remember that he was confused about how any of that was possible. I’d look at my parents, and be baffled by it all. There seemed to be so many moving parts: a marriage, real jobs, a house, kids, cars, bills that needed to be paid… How does any of that happen?? I couldn’t see myself ever getting there.
And he’d probably be pleased that I’m reasonably happy, and have a wife and two healthy kids. And that I still have the capacity for the biting sarcastic remark, but have gotten better at picking my spots, if you know what I mean. And he’d love that I’m still on the prowl for great obscure music and that I’m kinda-sorta writing and doing a podcast. He’d be a little disappointed that it’s just a hobby, but he’d be glad that I hadn’t abandoned all that stuff completely.
I imagine 17 me would give 2019 me a B-. And that’s fair, I guess. Maybe a little generous… but I’m trying to be positive.
What do you have on this? Would 17 you be happy with 2019 you? And what about the Breakfast Club thing? Did you fit into any of the five categories the late, great John Hughes identified in the film? Please tell us about it in the comments. And by the way, it appears The Breakfast Club is streaming at Netflix. I might have to watch it again soon.
And I need to call it a day here, my friends.
Yesterday I posted a new podcast episode for patrons. I feel like I’m on some kind of roll with this thing. The new installments are not very focused, but I’ve been pretty happy with them. And that’s a rare emotion. Here’s your link. And here’s your summary:
In this one I tell you about living in a laminated world, the joys of being a regular somewhere, the pain of getting my tax info together, our close relationship with the IRS, my failed attempt to work for a high-powered carrot company, and my thoughts on a very real product described as “butthole chocolates.” I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for the support!
I’ll see you guys again on Monday.
Have yourselves a fine, fine weekend!
Now playing in the bunker
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People use to say I looked like him once upon a time.
Maybe that’s a topic for you – “Who do people say you look like?”
I guess I’d fall under Judd Nelson’s wild stoner category. I was always in trouble for being a smart-ass, not doing my work/homework, always getting sent out to the hallway or to the principal’s office, and just did not want to be in school. I managed to graduate but I think it was mainly from the teachers just wanting to get me out of their class.
Complete opposite once I finally went to college. 4.0 GPA, Deans list, anxiety attacks if homework wasn’t perfect. 17 year old me was disappointed in 22 year old me so I’m sure 17 yr old me has disowned 45 year old me at this point. I’m not the architect I always wanted to be but I am in a similar field so 17 yr old me can’t be TOO disappointed with the job. And I have my own house & car & pay my own bills so…I’ll take it.
“Dude! You’re still alive? Never saw that happening…”
I’d like to think I was the wild stoner. But my home life was too stable so I was a nerdy version of a not to wild stoner.
That’s exactly what I was going to say.
Glad to meet you…
A Different Jeff says
Like so many things in life, I suspect that most high school populations conform to some sort of pimply Pareto distribution, wherein 20% are clearly one of the intriguing archetypes depicted above, while the remaining 80% trifle their inconsequential youth away in relative obscurity. Count me among the latter.
What surprises me is how that seems to invert during adult life: the noteworthy kids from high school seem to grow up and amount to very little, while the kids from your class who you cannot even remember wind up on the local news for an exciting new tech startup or a New York Times bestseller.
I, meanwhile, have steadfastly maintained a firm and steady course of mediocrity.
Nice application of the 80-20 rule, to oversimplify. I was thinking along similar lines. I didn’t see the damn movie and don’t long to, but I wasn’t enough of a whole person in high school to have or portray an archetype. I was one of the shlubs who didn’t, 20 years later, run for Congress, lose, and OD, or make the front page for soliciting prostitutes to urinate on my rival’s bed. I ended up doing OK: I don’t wait up late for a call from the Nobel Committee — on the other hand, I’m not on parole. The only qualitative indicator for success is laughter, and I get to do some of that.
Even though, at any time, you are every age you’ve ever been, you are only allowed to interact with the universe at the age you are now — actually now — OK, right NOW. Your 17-year-old self only exists on a plane that cuts through the space/time continuum cone perpendicular to the centerline of the cone, and can only influence or be influenced by other elements existing on that plane. So he/she can’t see or talk “forward” or “backward”. Blame it on entropy or Einstein or Thomas Wolfe or the Republicans or the Illuminati — you quite literally can’t go home again or hear from home once you’ve left. It’s a small point, literally, but the question “What would your 17-year-old self think of you now?” is equivalent to “What do you think of yourself now?” in the context of spacetime as measured by entropy.
I might have this wrong, but, as I recall, according to GR, the only way to break this barrier is to call yourself at Beachwood 4-5789. Ask for You and I suspect you can get a date any old time.
Spoke Easy says
Cathy W. says
I had distinct elements of weirdo and nerd mixed together, with just a faint touch of ‘the criminal’ as Judd was called. But it was all overlaid with severe shyness, so most people probably saw me as a ‘generic’. :-/ 17-year-old me would be astounded that I’m fat as shit, seeing as I weighed 90 pounds back then. And I’d probably be amazed that I’ve had 2 divorces and married 20 years to the third husband. And I feel like the 7 kids would surprise me, too.
I was a mixture of the smart-ass nerd and the eccentric weirdo, with Judd’s anger issues liberally mixed in. I can’t identify with the other two much at all.
Sebastian Valmont says
Mix of smart ass nerd and eccentric weirdo. I was non descript and fairly normal, just read Stephen King novels in the back of the class and spent my lunches in the library.
As for how 17 year old me would rate me, I’d say an A. Some points are knocked off for getting married, but I’m almost graduated from college and am set up to have a decent job. I’ve also maintained most of my values, though I decided to give up on the idea of being a film director and/or writer. Romantic notions are fun when you’re a teenager with the whole world in front of you, but I’m happy I’m down with the real world now.
You knew me in high school, and know that i fell into your category.
The 17 year old version of me would be surprised i could pull off two marriages with kids, each, and be impressed that i can still pull tail for the past year, and much younger tail at 57 years old.
I was somewhere along the eccentric weirdo smart-ass nerd axis.
17-year-old me would say, “damn, you got fat!” and “you started smoking? What are you, retarded?” But he’d be impressed that I managed to make a career out of being a techie of some sort. Disappointed that I have no wife or kids at my “advanced” age. Relieved that I’m OK financially. If I can talk to him while he’s passing judgment, I’d have a few words of advice.
The closest I can come is a generic nerd I would have loved to be extroverted enough to be a smart-ass. 17 year old me would be surprised at the twist and turns that found me, a grandfather in Florida running out the clock on a healthcare career.
A Different Jeff says
I recently heard a radio interview of Willie Nelson, who was asked if he had any advice for 20-year-old Willie. He considered only a moment.
“Nah,” he replied, “he wouldn’t listen anyway …”
Phil Jett says
I was a nerd/athlete mix. Didn’t get lots of ass, but aimed low and still lost my virginity prior to graduation. Spent 12 years in the Navy and made myself a great career in the utility business. Recently got the thanks for all the hard work but time for you to go involuntary separation 2 years before my full retirement point and pretty much told them to fuck themselves, interviewed with the same company for a new job and got it plus a 4.9% raise.
I’ve been married 32 plus years, happily, and just finished spending the day with the wife at the American Sign Museum followed by late lunch and beers at Zola’s and more beers at our local pub/beer haunt.
I went to my 40th high school reunion last summer and realized my life ended up better than all the most likely to succeed crowd who are still working in the old hometown building pipe wrenches and cutters for Ridgid.
For me life is good motherfuckers.
surreal killer says
The 17 year old me would probably say: “wow, you’re still alive? Didn’t expect that would be possible!”
Kathy Griffin: “Nobody’s career has tanked as bad as mine”
Jussie Smollett: “Hold my bleach”
Great topic, Jeff!
17 year-old me would probably be pretty disappointed in present-day me. I’m not writing for a living, I have, ugh, kids, I don’t live in New York and my job looks pretty boring.
But, I’ve also changed and I’d tell that little dick to take a hike. I’m really happy with the life I’ve created. I have a million friends, I make enough money that I get to do tons of fun stuff, my kids are amazing, my wife is funny and awesome and I actually enjoy my ‘boring’ job. What more could I want?
So, I’d probably get a D from 17 year-old me and I don’t give a fuck.
Beer Richards says
Why are you all dumb ass nerds…not one jock? WTF is that? Scholar jock here yesterday now and today fuckers….~tears off duct tape.
But seriously, narrow types never have existed. Cheers.