My Sophmore year I determined high school athletics was not where I was going to make my mark on the world, and decided to focus my energy on music. I was moved up to varsity band, and joined the drum-line. At McClintock High School playing on the drum-line was about as cool as you could be without actually being cool. We had the privilege of standing in the middle of the basketball gym and playing cadences for prep-rallys, we’d lead coordinated cheerleader dances and student body cheers. We were definitely a focal point of the student body spirit and school pride group think that permeates and fuels high school athletic competitions. It also marked the first year of my life since meeting Scott in the 2nd grade, that he and I had no shared interest. Whereas I was leaving athletics behind to pursue music Scott was excelling in athletics. He was always a superior athlete than me as well as most of our competitors and it only made sense that he would gravitate toward that world. He was becoming more jock and I was becoming more band nerd, and as every cheesy 80’s high school movie teaches us, ne’er the 2 shall meet. We still hung out on occasion, and had some mutual friends but I was finding myself less comfortable hanging with the football/popular crowd. I still felt like a nerd who didn’t know how to match clothes and told jokes as a way to hide his insecurities and validate his existence. Plus I was not a drinker and big raving parties did not appeal to me. I remember one night when I was hanging out with Scott and a crew of friends who were all on the football team, or at least most of them. We were driving around looking for trouble, being loud and being rowdy as teenagers are, when we saw a few girls hanging out by their car in a parking lot at neighborhood school. The girls were smoking and had a few beers with them, as we pulled up to talk to them. We were having a somewhat friendly banter with these girls when they offered all of us a drink of their beer supply. There has been very times in my life when I’d actually been offered alcohol. I was raised in a fairly strict Mormon household that forbids all alcoholic beverages, so not only had I never had a sip of alcohol I’d never really been offered. I kindly refused the beer, as did a few other of the crew and we eventually left our new friends to continue our night of shenanigans. Part of the group that night was another football player named Joey. He and I knew each other from the Freshman football team but never really hung out beyond that. Throughout the night I could feel that Joey did not like me. I distinctly remember I was being all loud and going into some goofy, over the top comedic bit or whatever, and I caught his eye and he looked at me and just shook his head in disgust. His disapproval shook me. Maybe I didn’t belong, maybe I wasn’t funny, maybe I was just an annoying wannabe cool person who doesn’t have the social awareness to match his clothes, or just shut up. I remember seeing Joey that next week at school and I tried to wave at him and say what’s up or whatever, and he just looked at me, looked away and kept walking like I didn’t exist. Clearly, if he was part of the group that Scott was going to be hanging with, I was going to be around this group less and less meaning Scott and I would be seeing less of each other as well. And since I was on the drum-line I found myself hanging with my drum friends and marching band buddies more and more. The drum-line appreciated me simply because I was good drummer, and they appreciated my entertainment value. I remember once we were playing for a basketball game when we started playing Aerosmith’s Dude Looks Like a Lady, instead of playing my drum part I went into a full out Steven Tyler impression, extending my lip, singing into my drum stick like a microphone, and dancing around. The snare player next to me, Davey started laughing in hysterics. I didn’t realize it at the time but I enjoyed entertaining every bit as much if not more than playing music, although I definitely have a deep love and passion for music. I had found a new group of people who accepted me for me and who I could be myself around, or at least as much of myself as I was willing to be, and for the first time since the second grade I had to find a social environment where I was accepted without Scott there to validate me, I found this on the drum-line.