Thursday, November 09, 2006
Satan Comes to York High School
Back in the late eighties, I was rooming in Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood with two of my good college friends, Mark and Dan.
Our house was the party house among the close-knit group we'd gone to college with. Dan, Mark and I were all in our mid or late twenties. None of us had kids, wives, or, frankly, jobs that had anything to do with an eventual career. We were at the heights of our slacker glory.
Mark was working at a one of the neighborhood Lerner papers and at a record store. Dan was working two or three jobs, including one as a bill collector. He had some entertaining stories from that one. I was working as the breakfast waiter at Minnie's, a restaurant near Depaul University. Since I was the early guy (I started at 5:30 am), I also got to leave early, often around 1:45 or 2:00, after the lunch rush was over.
Since Dan was working absurd numbers of hours, we rarely saw him. We'd see signs of him-- a dirty dish in the sink or dishwasher, some empty beer bottles in the garbage can. Once in a rare while, one of us would actually see him-- it was a running joke with Mark and I-- "Dan Sightings" we called them.
One afternoon I got home and Dan was actually at home for the day. Since this was a rare thing, we celebrated by cracking some beers open and turning on some game show. We were just talking, catching up, not really watching the television when Chicago pseudo-journalist/celebretard Jay Levine cut in with an important news flash. There had been a stabbing at York High School. Dan, being an alumnus of York (class of '82), immdediately took note.
As the story developed, it turned out that the stabbing had been committed by some kid who had been bullied regularly by jocks and finally showed up with a penknife, which he stuck in some offending dickhead's leg. Somehow they had gotten ahold of this kid's notebook, and they were showing it on the tv. Jay trumpeted that the symbols were satanic symbols, and then began speculating that York High School might be a hotbed of satanism.
Dan and I, in the meantime, were doubled over in laughter, because being huge fans of the Dead Kennedys, we immediately recognized their symbol on this kid's notebook. If we weren't already sympathetic to some poor kid getting bullied by jocks in the suburbs, we were cheering for him because he was a fellow punk-rocker. We didn't necessarily approve of the violent part of what he'd done, but we understood his feeling of fear and lonliness, and heartily approved, at least, of the artistic side of his disapproval of stupid suburban life.
I don't know if it was divine inspiration or the beer, but Dan and I decided to call Joe O'Meara, a guy he'd gone to York with and we'd both gone to Eastern Illinois University with. I helped Dan with our little prank by cueing up Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells"-- the music from The Exorcist. As Tubular Bells played in the background, Dan left a message on Joe's answering machine:
"Hello, Joe-- this is Satan, and I'm recruiting down at York High School. Buhahahahahahaha!"
Usually when we pulled one of our dumb pranks, we'd get a call within a day or two from the prankee laughing about it. Oddly, we didn't get a call right away from Joe, who has a great sense of humor.
Finally, a couple of weeks later, Dan talked to Joe. Joe informed Dan that he had not, in fact, been the one to check the answering machine first that day; it had been the nun that Joe's parents had boarding with them.
If we weren't already, we are going to hell for sure now.