My name is Stacy and I hope you vote for me for 8th grade Student Body President.
Oh my God! In what part of my 7th grade brain did I think this was a good idea? I told myself as I sat in an auditorium full of other 7th graders. I am so stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid! There is no way I am going to beat Marcus Brookins for 8th grade Class President.
“Are you ready to make your speech, Stacy?” Mr. Wagner, the Vice Principal asked me.
Not really. I stood up with my long, scraggly, sandy blonde hair and my California 81 T-shirt that I wore EVERYDAY to school, even though it was 1982, and I faced the firing squad. I made my way to the podium and pulled my wrinkled speech out of my torn Jordache jeans. I just stood there for a second looking out at all the faces looking back at me and that’s when I noticed them. The popular girls. The Untouchables, snickering to each other and laughing at my expense. I hated them. That’s why I did this. That’s why I was about to humiliate myself in front of my peers. I hoped deep down in my heart that we, the majority, could somehow overthrow them. That if we banded together, the Marcus Brookins of the world would tumble down. This was a chance to change things. A chance for the ones who were made fun of to turn the tides. I saw a bright future for us. For all of us. And I was going to be their leader. And once again, I was wrong.
As I stood there giving my speech, which was heart felt and honest, I actually felt for a moment in time like I could take this thing. Like I could actually be the 8th grade Class president. When I got done giving the speech I had worked on for over a week I stood there as my two closest friends clapped their hands and screamed my name like I was a rock star. “STACY!!!!!!!!!” Sure one of them was a total degenerate and we would often spend our free time shoplifting makeup from the local Thrifty’s Drug Store we had in town. But they were my BFF’s and they had my back. They weren’t the only ones clapping though. There were others. The poor, the weak, the tired. All five of them clapped their little hearts out for me. My power trip was quickly dwindling. Not one to give up that easily, I kept my head held high and returned to my seat which was located in front of the auditorium next to Marcus Brookins.
“Marcus, are you ready to make your speech?” The vice principal asked him.
“I am.” He said with the confidence of a tiger. And with all tigers they generally bite the jugular or break the neck on their victims. And my neck was about to be broken. Now Marcus as far as I could tell didn’t have a mean bone in his body, but what he did have was charisma and the kind of looks that made girls take sex ed just for his benefit. Even I caught myself staring longingly at him from time to time. Marcus stood up and walked over to the podium and stood there with utter confidence while I snuck a peak at his taut 7th grade ass. Hell, even I wanted to vote for him. And then he started his mediocre, short speech that he probably wrote that very morning and ended it with the final nail in my coffin. “And I promise to have another five minutes added on to our lunch time!” The crowd went wild! It was like he had just single handedly won the World Cup. He can’t do that! I screamed inside. He can’t promise that! But did the crowd care? Not one bit. They loved him for it. I didn’t think they could love him more than they already did, but he managed to make them adore him even more. Even my five fellow losers were applauding him and his five minute more lunches. Traitors.
After the speeches were done we were all told by the Vice Principal to go back to our homeroom classes to vote. I dragged myself out of the auditorium and my two friends patted me on the back and the degenerate said, “It was a good try Stace.”
“It’s not over yet,” I told her. Somewhere in my delusional brain I hoped things would still find a way of changing. That I would once and for all not be on the bottom of the food chain. I made it back into my 7th grade homeroom, which was also the homeroom of two Untouchables, Brenda and Veronica. They just looked at me like it was feeding time and I was the main course. See, I didn’t know The Untouchables even existed. I had an entirely different school experience than they did and I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting them until 7th grade and let me tell you it was quite the pleasure.
From Kindergarten until the 5th grade I had gone to a private school in Fullerton CA. There, I wasn’t the most unpopular girl. I was the second most unpopular girl and was best friends with the most unpopular girl. I was tortured on a daily basis by a girl named Tyla and her cronies, and they made sure that I never forgot the pecking order. I had always been friends with the boys and if it wasn’t for them I don’t know how I would have survived. Some of my fondest memories of that time were making bug cemeteries with my friend Keith and then driving through them with our Tonka Trucks. Keith was one of the reasons I could wake up and find the courage to go to school everyday.
Then my grandfather passed away and left us his house in Big Bear, CA. I wasn’t excited about having to leave my BFF Sarah. Without me, I was sure Tyla and her gang would devour her, but I didn’t really see where I had much of a choice. Big Bear is a very small town but it had two Elementary Schools: Maple Hill and North Shore. I was slotted to go to Maple Hill. This was my chance to change things. To put Tyla behind me. To shift the Universe in my favor, and I did. 6th grade started out a little bumpy. I got into a fistfight on my first day of school with two girls, and I won. But no one messed me again anytime soon. After that, 6th grade was pretty much a breeze. I had friends. I was happy. No one bullied me. Life was good.
But once we went into junior high, the two Elementary Schools came together into one school. The Untouchables, who had been safely tucked away at North Shore, made their presence known and I had the distinct honor of becoming a target once again. It was as if Tyla had sisters, and those sisters had all moved to Big Bear. Thanks, Universe. Well, at least I had one year of peace. I guess that was all a girl could ask for. But this election was my chance to change things. To let The Untouchables know that I was not going to stand for the separation of classes anymore. That I was not afraid of them!
Later that day the Vice Principal came over the intercom and announced the new Student Body officers for the next year. As he got to Student Body President I held my breath and prayed that I had somehow pulled off a miracle and caused an upset. “And the 8th grade Student body president will be…. Marcus Brookins.” The Untouchables looked at me and laughed. You’ll NEVER break me. I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t even upset. It was impossible not to love him. He just had it. That “It” factor that you can’t quite put your finger on.
Later that day, as I pulled down my handmade election posters, I realized that I had gone about this the wrong way. Here I was being serious. Not my strong suit. I should have played into my weaknesses and maybe things would have turned out differently. I have done some thinking about this and written a new speech. I would like to try it out on you and let you make the call.
“Hello student body. My name is Stacy. Are you unpopular, or do you have hopes of becoming popular one day? I can help end all that for you. If you follow me I can guarantee you unpopularity! I can guarantee that you will be made fun of on a daily basis. I can guarantee that The Untouchables will talk about you not only behind, but in front of your back as well. Follow me to the bottom of the food chain! Follow me to the depths of unpopularity! Follow me to the Vice Principal’s office where you will get into trouble time and time again for acting out against the system! You too can wear the same clothes everyday and frustrate your mothers! You too can get bad grades on purpose! Why would you want bad grades you ask? I don’t know! That’s the beauty of my entire plan. I usually have no idea why I do half the shit that I do. But I can guarantee you one thing. I won’t make fun of you. I won’t talk behind your back and I won’t promise you something I can’t provide. All I can promise is that if you elect me you will be making a statement. And don’t you think it’s about time we make a statement? My name is Stacy and I hope you vote for me for 8th grade Student Body President.”
Things did change, eventually. The Universe shifted and The Untouchables all of a sudden became VERY touchable. They still had their clique and they were still popular, but not in the same way. It all happened one September morning when each and every one of us, including each member of The Untouchables, was given fake license plates and forced to wear them across our chests. For the rest of the day whenever we made a left turn, right turn, or wanted to stop we had to make the appropriate hand signals or face the wrath of the new people in charge: The Seniors. We had just entered High School. The rules were different, the game had new players and my status of being one of the most unpopular girls in school was about to change by something even I had no control over. Puberty. There are just some things you can’t stop and me growing into a young woman was something even The Untouchables couldn’t control. I will forever owe puberty my thanks. It may not have gotten me the 8th grade Student Body Presidency. But puberty gave me one hell of a 9th grade student body. And 10th grade. And 11th grade… It made the rest of my time in Big Bear much, much easier to bear.
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