Back in High school I was what you would call an overachiever. Did I care about grades? Sure. I needed them right? That’s how I was going to get into the best theater school, so I could become famous, and eventually rule the world. Muuuuaaaahahahahaha. Or that was the plan at least. I wasn’t always like this though. From birth through 11th grade I was usually on the short end of the stick. Hell, I owned the short end of the stick. And it was mine for the keeping. I was so unpopular that the dorks in school were embarrassed to be seen with me. This is not an exaggeration. I just couldn’t win. It wasn’t for lack of trying; it was because of one problem we have in this society, one very harsh, very painful, very clear problem. Women are just mean to each other. It’s as simple as that. There’s no chemistry involved, no complex mathematics, we are just bitches to one another and there is nothing we can do to change it.

The reason I’m giving you this background is because there was a group of girls who made sure that I was down and that I stayed down through my years in private school. No matter what I did, they reminded me on a daily basis that I was not – and would never be – an Alpha. I had my place and I knew it. Then I went to public school and for one glorious year it looked like I was going to break free from the rule of women. But my one year of ecstasy was short lived once I entered Middle School and met the “Untouchables.” The Untouchables were a group of girls with beauty, money, and more than enough time to remind me that I had none of the above.

I would wake up every morning to the taunting sound of my alarm clock going off “LOSER! LOSER! LOSER!” And I would drag my ass out of bed to face yet another day of humiliation as I watched the Untouchables go to the dances with the boys I wanted to dance with, and make fun at my best attempt at fashion.
“Hey Loser, what do you want for breakfast this morning?” my mother asked me.
“What?…. What did you just say to me?”
“I just said, “Hey Stacy, what do you want for breakfast this morning?” What did you think I said?”
“Oh…I just didn’t hear you. Waffles…waffles will be fine.”

I played basketball and sucked. Volleyball. Sucked. Tennis…don’t even get me started. I didn’t even try out for softball because I eventually realized I was lacking some serious hand-eye coordination. I had auditioned for countless plays over the years, but always ended up as “third lamb from the left,” or some variation of that theme. I didn’t want to be third lamb on the left. I wanted to be Mary. I wanted to be the one to give birth to the Baby Jesus. But it was never meant to be me. I auditioned for the role of the Wicked Witch in the play Snow White, only to end up with the part of the Magic Mirror. I bet you can imagine my humiliation during the curtain call when I walked out on stage, face painted silver, and wearing a cheap cardboard sign that read “Magic Mirror.” In Hello Dolly, I wasn’t Dolly. I was chorus member #7, singing “Hello” to Dolly.

My competitive nature took over was in when I was a junior in high school and I wanted to audition for the coveted part of the school mascot (And no it wasn’t because I was so ugly I HAD to wear a suit! I wanted the job.) I wasn’t sure of myself but my mother’s pep talk helped me through the process. “What’s the worst that can happen? So you don’t win.” But this time I did. FINALLY, I had won one. I found my niche. I may not be able to sing or play sports, but my white ass could dance. From there on out, I had a killer instinct and eventually got used to winning, and losing was just not an option! So when the Rock Off came around again my senior year I had to win. Again.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a Rock Off is let me break it down for you. It’s a competition where the students dress up and perform as their favorite band or singer and lip sync the song of their choice and then they are judged by fellow students and faculty. My first Rock Off attempt was in 7th grade. My group was Kajagoogoo, and the song was ‘Too Shy.” This one didn’t go over so well. I wanted to go for the “sweaty” look, so I thought it would be a good idea to cover ourselves in Vaseline. All we looked was greasy. We didn’t place. The next attempt was in 8th grade after Footloose was a box office smash and we did “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams. We also didn’t place but we got honorable mention. Who gets honorable mention?
By my junior year in High School I had stepped up my game, and had performed Jodi Watley’s “I’m looking for a new love” and put together a HUGE group of dancers with a fully choreographed routine. No one had pulled something like that off before. So it was an easy win.

My senior year wasn’t going to be so easy. Because of my big win the year before, I had girls that wanted to see me fail. Desperately! Yes, I know who you bitches are and I know what you said. So I had to make sure this time my group was bigger and better. First thing that had to be done was pick the artist. Easy call: Tiffany. And if you’re going to go with Tiffany, you have to go with “I think we’re alone now” (Don’t make fun of me too bad, it was 1988). This I could work with. Now all I had to do was choreograph the damn thing. No problem. So I spent a couple of weeks in my small house in Big Bear making up the dance and teaching it to my best friend Jennifer. Now we needed to put together the band. I had 8 back up dancers, two male guitarists, a keyboard player, and a drummer. Everybody danced. That was non negotiable. I’ll admit it, I was what you would call obsessed. I ate, drank, and slept the Rock Off.

After I had put the group together we had to practice. Every single day for over a month. Being as I lived in a one-bedroom house there wasn’t enough room for all of us, so I made everyone do it in the street in front of my house. I put my entire group through hours of practice until they got it right, yelling “CAR!” from time to time so we could all move out of the street and let oncoming cars pass. My friends had the patience of saints for putting up with my tyranny. The keyboard player and the drummer couldn’t do most of the dancing because of their instruments, but I made them come to practice every day regardless. Because damn it, you have to apply yourself if you want to be a winner!

When we had the dress rehearsal for the Rock Off and I saw the competition, it seemed like everyone had upped their game from the year before. Even friends of mine who had been on my team in years past had jumped ship and were now competing against me. Whatever, it’s your funeral. I had a huge target on my back and knew everyone in the room wanted to beat us. My BFF Jen reported back to me that she had overheard a “friend” of mine say, “I don’t care who wins as long as it’s not Stacy.” If I needed extra motivation to repeat, there it was.

The night of the Rock Off I was so jacked up on adrenaline people probably thought I had done lines of blow off of my Homecoming crown (another story all in itself). I was pumped and made sure everyone else was pumped with me. We went out on stage and when they introduced us it took them an entire semester just to get through all the names alone. I started lip-syncing, the backup dancers started dancing, and the drummer and keyboard player started fake playing. We rocked the house. Even when the music stopped in the middle of our act and then started back up again not one person missed a step or was out of line. Who says tyranny and death threats aren’t effective motivators?

After all of the bands competed we had to wait for the judges to announce the finalists. Once the finalists were announced the top three would compete again for first, second, and third. This is the time I went around to everyone in my group and told each of them I had a certain family member of theirs held captive and if they ever wanted to see them again they better step their shit up. The finalists were announced and we had made top three.
“Okay, let’s do this again. Only better this time,” I told the group. I’m pretty sure I felt the heat of a middle finger in the center of my back, but considering I was the only one who knew the whereabouts of their family members they may want to watch it.

We performed again and this time the music didn’t stop which got us even more pumped up. I still have the video and like to play it over and over again till my husband’s eyes bleed and he cries out in pain. “Please, I’ll do what ever you want just don’t make me listen to any more Tiffany!”

When the judges got up to announce the winners there was a rather large part of the crowd chanting for a heavy metal entry. I can’t remember the song; I think it may have been something like “We are going to eat Stacy’s dust,” or something pretty close to it. But the chanting kept getting louder and louder, when at one point I looked over to my left and who did I see? My drummer, chanting for the competition. No, he is NOT chanting for them! Traitor! I stared lasers at him until he felt the heat and caught my eye. I gave him the look that my mother used to give me whenever she wanted me to stop doing something that said, “If you don’t stop now I will swallow your soul!” And he immediately changed his tune and started yelling “Stacy! Stacy! Stacy!” at the top of his lungs. That’s better.

And the winner is… “Tiffany, and I think we’re alone now!” And a majority of the crowd went wild, including my traitor drummer. I had won again and victory tasted soooo sweet. My alarm clock no longer shouts LOSER! LOSER! LOSER! But I am still one competitive mother f*^ker! If I had an opportunity to do it all again, Hello Dolly would be a dance off, Mary would be krumping while she’s giving birth to a break dancing Jesus, and the Magic Mirror would do a hot pole-dancing routine while Snow White and the Wicked Witch slung booze just to get by. But you can’t re-write history, all you can do is dance your way through it. Oh…and by the way, “CAR!”


4 Responses to “LOSER! LOSER! LOSER!”

  1. Home Alone Says:

    I loved the Rock Offs. I did Cyndi Lauper I think in Middle School or my fresman year. We were beginners and did little dancing but had some awesome guitars!! 🙂

    • Rock Off’s are awesome!!!! I think we should still be allowed to do them as adults. It would make life so much more fun. I’ll look into it. See what I can do:) P.S. Bring your guitars.

  2. I love the way you tell this story but you are being way to hard on yourself my friend. I dont remember you being the Nazi you make yourself out to be. You were just a natural leader and we beleived in you. Shit we wanted to win too and we knew our odds of winning with you in charge were way better then with anyone else. It is so weird reading this and realizing how you struggled cause I would never had guessed it at all. You were always so confident and so much fun. You never boasted were never self-absorbed and you never never never had anything to prove. You were ambitious and it was contagious. Those two years we did the rock off and won were some of my best memories of HS and my friendship with you. I just wish those moments werent so short! I just remember thinking I wish I could be as confident, fun and beautiful as Stacy. Never a jealous thought in my mind. I always knew you were special. Those people that routed for you to fail just didnt get it. Oh well their loss. Love you always

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