Welcome to High School Dance, the sequel to How to Raise a Good Kid. I’m glad you’re here. This book is the culmination of a project that began shortly after my wife and I welcomed our son to the world. Like most first-time fathers, I felt a new and profound sense of responsibility and immediately became determined to pass along every lesson I believed was important. So even though my pride and joy was only drooling, pooping and sleeping at this point, and was years away from absorbing his dad’s hard-earned wisdom, I refused to let any of those pesky details get in my way.
First, I made a list of the events of my childhood that taught me the most, the ones that made the biggest impressions, both good and bad. This exercise forced me to revisit many harrowing experiences such as batting zero in little league baseball, my chronic addiction to a blanket, my disastrously unsuccessful try-out for the role of Winthrop in The Music Man, and the time I mooned the entire sixth grade. I wanted to let my son know whatever hardship he might face; his father had already been there, learned something of value and survived. I also wanted to let him know about all the fun and joy I experienced as a child and the love my parents showed me.
After compiling my list, however, I realized it wasn’t going to be enough. What if, God forbid, I wasn’t around to tell him the full story behind each enumerated item? I couldn’t bear the thought so I decided to turn the list into a book of stories about my childhood. Over time, the project evolved into two books: one about my grade school years, How to Raise a Good Kid, and one about my junior and senior high school years, High School Dance.
I truly hope you enjoy these collections. Few times in life are more memorable than our school years. Humiliation, heartbreak and failure are abundant, and that’s on a good day. No matter who you are, coming of age is exciting, confusing and sometimes downright dangerous, and I’ve tried to capture both the agony and the ecstasy. My wife and I were fortunate enough to add a daughter to our family in the intervening years and my great hope is that she and her brother will someday read these stories, learn a few lessons, come to know their father even better, and above all, remember how much I love them.Genre: HUMOR / Topic / Relationships
High School Dance has ranked as high as #1 on the Amazon U.S. humor and entertainment category. It is the sequel to my award-wininng memoir, How to Raise a Good Kid, and I expect steady sales.
By the end of sixth grade, I had it all: a plastic case filled with official NFL pencils, a desk to put it in, and apurpose as one of the school safeties. I had taco Tuesday, pizza Friday and chocolate milk cost eight cents. I had friends, Field Day and free reign to check out any book I wanted from the library. I could even go to the bathroom without a teacher’s aide. Yes, I was flying higher than the tater tots I liked to launch from my cafeteria spoon. I knew the teachers, the principal, and my place at Thornell Road Elementary, and scoring points on this perfectly-balanced pinball machine was so easy I believed nothing would change when I moved on to junior high school. Little did I know the new machine would tilt early and often.
I wore white on the first day of seventh grade, a carefully coordinated selection of bone-colored corduroy pants and a soft, creamy velour shirt with a collar. I was still innocent. I didn’t swear. I didn’t talk back to adults. I respected authority. And though I’d heard of the book Oh God, It’s Me, Margaret; I hadn’t read it and had no idea what it was about. I had never watched cable TV, been online, broken a bone or suffered the loss of a loved one. I had two loving parents, a warm
home and little knowledge of violence, poverty or strife. In my eyes everything was possible and as I stepped from my father’s car to the curb of Barker Road Junior High School, I expected this life of hand-written notes in my lunch bag and smiley faces on my homework to continue along the same trajectory.
Already translated. Translated by Maria J. Manzano
Maria is wonderful! Highly recommended.