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High School Memories

A warning to my technical acquaintances who read this blog through syndication, this is a post targeted to the Highland High School Class of '95, so you will probably not understand any of this.

My 20 year reunion is coming up, and weird as it seems, through Facebook and other social media, I feel more connected to my classmates now than I did 20 years ago. Because of the buildup to the event (which, thanks to the cross country travel I've been doing for work over the last few years, I'll be able to attend), I've been feeling nostalgic.

To the HHS Class of '95; in response to Andy Jensen's Playlist posted yesterday, I was challenged to create a list of my own that matches my own personality bend.

As I write this, I wonder if any of you share these or similar memories. Please share them in the comments section below, or wherever you saw this post. Some days it feels like no time at all has passed since walking the halls of HHS, and other days it seems like centuries. While I'm glad for the experiences I had, I'm more glad that they're over and live on only as memories, and that time has rounded off the rough edges of awkward memories.

My list differs somewhat from Andy's. First of all, my music tastes were definitely skewed more towards the Classic Rock and Comedy genres: I think that They Might Be Giants "Flood" was the first album I purchased, and I spent my hard labor days listening to the Arrow, or X93. I would stay up late on Sunday nights—saving some bit of homework until then—to listen to Dr. Demento on the Radio—while I finished it. And while I listened to my share of INXS, U2, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana, I peppered my music selection heavily with BTO, Queen, Guns N Roses, Weird Al Yankovich, and Spike Jones. And finally, like Andy's list, these are not my favorite songs from the time, but they remind me most strongly of high school days and high school people. So, without further ado, and without any particular order...

Louie Louie, by The Kingsmen

In November 1993, a local radio station started playing Louie Louie 24/7 as part of a gimmick to gather market research for a new radio format. This may or may not have been related to a later format change, below.

Basketball John, by Robert Lund

Who didn't love the Jazz. I loved watching Jerry Sloan's perfected Pick and Roll performed by the masters: John Stockton and Karl Malone. Then there was this song. It was a huge hit in the Utah region. The Jazz had just moved to the Delta Center, and were coming off two straight playoff years. They had also redone their uniforms and logo to the 90's favorite color: Teal. I can't believe it took them to 2010 to finally get rid of that color. I went to only one Jazz game in the Delta Center and sat so close to the ceiling I could feel the heat radiating off it, but we watched a ton of games on TV, especially during the playoffs.

Basketball was very important for me growing up. My closest friend (in age, we were only 7 days apart, and proximity, he lived just around the block) Austin Germer, had a concrete pad and a hoop in his back yard, and we invented new and exciting ways to goal tend (instapoint!) while playing dunk ball on a 7' rim with his brothers, my brothers, and other neighborhood boys. After several years of this, I thought I was pretty good, so I tried out for the Sophomore team. I was disabused of that notion very quickly... Thank goodness for Track, where the only talent I needed was endurance.

Mormon Rap, DJ RMP

Rap was cool (or so I've been told), so why not make it cheesy and funny. I realize that many of my classmates weren't LDS, so may not have caught all the references and inside jokes in this song, but surely you heard it (it was on the radio a ton), and knew many of the jokes. You know what? Many of the jokes haven't gotten old. All of the things are the same.

Particle Man, TMBG

Tiny Toons + TMBG were a winning combination. This video and Istanbul (from the same album) made it my favorite album of the 90s. Of course, who can think of Particles without thinking of Dr. Atiya or Mr. Chenworth, or Triangles without thinking of Mr. Corsi? Or maybe you had Mr S. (who literally signed my yearbook "R=1-sinθ"), or Mrs. Larsen? I'm introducing my children to Tiny Toons (via Amazon Prime streaming) and TMBG (via Here come the ABCs/123s) so that another generation can appreciate the comic genius of one of my favorite cartoons and bands. Sean Adkins, Amy Ryan, and I were to have a special study period with Dr. Atiya, but a drunk driver took Sean away from us. Amy and I still had the class, but we were sad that we were only two.

American Pie, by Don McClean

On my 18th birthday, a bunch of us drove Dave VanTassell's Chevy Suburban to 7-11 for Big Gulps and then to his house to watch a movie. The rest of the story is legend, but classified... I'm glad I didn't have to spend my first night as an adult in Jail. Along for the ride were Kevin, Robert Van Boerum, and JJ Perrier among others. Thanks guys for a very memorable birthday.

The symbolism of this song (especially how no one really knows what it means) also reminds me of 11th grade Honors English with Trevor Anderson and that poor girl we'd torment by calling her "poof" every day. She never caught on that we weren't talking about her hair.

Orange Crush, by REM

Junior Year, at Prom time, a girl I'd had a crush on for years had finally broken up with her long-time boyfriend, so I had my chance to ask her to a dance... But it was not to be. They reconciled, so my proposal was rejected. As a conciliatory prize, she left a 2-liter of Orange Crush in my locker. So now, every time I hear this song, I'm transported back in time. Good thing you don't stay in high school forever. I remember more details here, but leave the story vague to protect the identities of the guilty parties, but since the beans got spilled on Facebook, my back up date was Amanda Harris.

Boot Scootin' Boogie, by Brooks & Dunn

This was a very popular line dance, with the Cotton-eyed Joe (Rednex version) while we were in High School.

Senior year, I took Body Conditioning first period to bulk up (heh). We always had the radio up loud and usually on Classic Rock, while we were sweating over our cleans, squats, benches, and countless sit-ups. I can't remember now who was in that class besides Kevin Reed, and Erika Sheffield. Sometime during the year, the much loved X93, a classic rock station, announced that they were changing formats. When the day of the switchover finally came, we were tuned in. When it started playing country, the whole class groaned. We weren't allowed to change the station (Mr. Wilson's rules), so we had to listen to country for the rest of the period. I think this was a palpable symbol of the end of Generation X and the beginning of Generation Y, and the arrival of "Pop Country" as a Genre. Also, you'd think that I, having been voted most likely to win a Nobel Prize in Science senior year, would have more songs reminding me of a science or math class or something, but no, it was this P.E. class that is brought back to memory.

This class was held in the old wrestling room newly appropriated as the weight room. Highland had just received a big donation to build out their weight training equipment for the sports teams, especially football, rugby, and wrestling. The equipment was all high end and most of it was new, and the sound system was bangin'. I weighed as much as a feather all through high school, but after working out all year, set a school deadlift record for my weight class: 435 lbs. I had to do it twice, because I was short and had done it using the wrong bar. I went back 5 years later and found that Coach Wilson never posted it on the big board, but I did set it (and every once in a while my back reminds me after helping someone move).

The Rocky Theme (or any song off the Rocky Soundtrack) also remind me of this class, especially the wind sprints and crunches and push ups up the hill in Sugar House Park.

All of Me, by Jon Schmidt

Remember when he came and did that assembly? Now my kids, my wife, and I watch him and Steven Sharp Nelson as part of The Piano Guys.

You Don't Love Me Anymore, by "Weird Al" Yankovich

My favorite track off the "Off the Deep End" album. I'd listen to this album on my portable CD player, as I was rollerblading home from Hires Big H at 1:30 or 2:00 AM after closing at Hires Big "H". I started at Hires my Sophomore year when I turned 16, and worked there until graduation. Austin worked there for a very short while before going to work at the bagel shop on 9th South. I saw lots of friends from High School while I was bussing tables, making shakes, washing dishes and cooking.

In The Mood, By Glenn Miller

Often when I hear this or any of a long list of Big Band favorites we played in Jazz Band, I'm brought back to Bob Curry's Jazz Band class with Rob Christiansen, Austin Germer, Steve Lynn, William Grimshaw, and Aaron Torres.

This recording has a lot of flair. It's fun to watch musicians have fun with a piece that they know so well. Also, how fun it was that swing made a big come back in 1998-99?

Dr. Demento Favorites (the rest)

Warning, these are not for those with no sense of humor, especially of the teenage boy humor variety. These remind me of homework, mostly, as I mentioned above. However, I do remember having discussions with friends at school about the songs we listened to. Shared experiences are great bonding agents.

Bananas at Large "Da Turdy Point Buck"

Betty Lou...

The Firm "Star Trekkin"

I'd watch Star Trek: TNG in Syndication on Fox 13 every weekday night at 10:00 PM while doing Calculus or Physics homework. It offered a nice break after racking my brain for hours, so that I could concentrate and finish the work. I was always a Trekkie, while my brother was the Star Wars Geek.

Green Jell├┐ "Three Little Pigs"

The Frantics "Ti Kwan Leep"


This appealed to my burgeoning anti-establishment phase, and the desire to "boot some head".

Bryan Bowers "The Scotsman"

Bongos, Bass & Bob "Thorazine Shuffle"

Napoleon XIV "They're Coming To Take Me Away"

Ogden Edsel "Dead Puppies Aren't Much Fun"

At some point I lost the tape that I'd made of dubs off the radio, but thankfully, the Internet has everything. It was always better to do homework with something occupying half your mind so you didn't die from the tedium of integrating one more exponential, or factoring through one more quadratic equation.

Edited 9/10: Removed semi-rhetorical questions answered via Facebook comments, added details about my Jr. Prom date, fixed spelling and punctuation.
Edited 9/15: Fixed a few dates.


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