Do you remember the eleventh grade?
Of course you do.
The eleventh is notoriously famous for being the most awkward of grades. It’s a universal constant, like the Compton wavelength or bad acne on photo day. High school is a tough place for any kid to find his or herself.
The cafeteria was a taxonomical playground. The general cliché that one sees in really bad Hollywood movies is that high schools are divided into easily identifiable cliques at lunch time. “Over there, you’ve got your jocks. Over there, your nerds. That table was for the stoners. That one was for the foreign kids.” Sound familiar? It’s not too far off from the truth, actually.
Well the Emily Harmon High cafeteria had a table full of tall, fit, well-groomed men sitting with short, thin, smiling pretty girls. It’s safe to say those are mostly your jocks, or at the very least, people who could be if they wanted to.
Yes, there was a table full of generally less handsome males usually at least one or two t-shirts relating to some form of science fiction or fantasy. At least one person at this table will be noticeably overweight and one person will be noticeably underweight and both will be very self-conscious about it. They might take great offence if you label them the nerd table, which shows the power the word has had over their lives.
There was a table for people who carved Nine Inch Nails lyrics into things and a table for people who wore dark makeup and pretended to be vampires.
There was a table for people who all worked together at McDonald’s and a table for people who were all in the school band.
So while it was true that in reality there were several ‘jocks’ who don’t mind hanging out with ‘nerds’, plenty of ‘poor kids’ hang out with the ‘rich snobs’, ‘stoners’ who are good at math and ‘geeks’ who played soccer…you couldn’t escape the feeling that whenever you that cafeteria, you knew exactly where others expected you to sit, and so you did.