It was that time of year again at Simi Valley High School to prove who was the most popular and well liked. Student body elections. I do not think there is a need to go into great detail of how this process works as it has been done by almost every teenage TV show and it has definitely been done by “Saved by the Bell” at least five times, including the “college years” period of that influential TV show. In brief, these elections allow the student body to elect fellow students to facilitate as puppets and spies for the faculty so the proletariat (students) do not start thinking they have no control over their schooling. To be president does not give you any power other than saying you are president and you can put it on your university applications. This time of year irritated me and something had to be done to illustrate the ridiculousness of it all. So I concocted a plan.
I did not consider myself to be a very popular student at the time. Despite my presence in several school clubs highlighting my nerdiness, being captain of the some what successful soccer team, vice-president of the table tennis club, and also playing tennis with the star 6’9″ basketball player as my doubles partner who refused to play at the net, I felt I had alluded the public eye and I enjoyed that fact. So elections time of year was everything that I hated about school. It forced all the girls to become uber friendly to everyone, giving out lollipops and blow jobs while at the same time raising their high pitch voices a few more octaves above the threshold that can break glass from a distance. The guys running for office created these huge moving groups of “posses” with them in the middle throwing winks and eye brow raises at anyone who dares to look through the orbiting football players. It was just all way to fake and it appeared that the more blatant you displayed your fakeness, the better you would do.
To ensure that no student could avoid the barrage of insincere sentiments, candidates were allowed to put posters on certain walls of the school that illustrated their rhyming prowess or exceptional skill at drawing stars with so much glitter that your respiration would struggle as you went through a cloud of glitter. Things like “Vote Chris for Prez cuz hez better than sliced bread” or “Vote Shelley for treasurer and she will lower the drinking age to 14” or “K-I-M-B-E-R-L-Y: K is for Kindness, I is for Intelligence, M is for Maturity…” A lot of money and time were put into these things, I am sure, but how effective they were when each one was surrounded by 42 other posters, I do not know.
The day before elections, the candidates would make speeches in front of the student body. (As I type this, it just dawned on me that the point to these elections is to prepare them for real politics. I wonder how many have made the leap into the real world of lies and promises?) The speeches were painful to watch at times but it got you out of class. Some where very good and you would applaud the oratory skills of the candidate. But they each could have been talking about what they had for dinner the night before and what they intend to make dinner like on the next night. It did not matter since you would gain no influential decision making powers or giant budgets if elected.
After the speeches, the candidates were instructed to take down their posters and marketing material so election day would be a clean sheet and this apparently promoted fairness. This is when Luke decided to strike!
I went home and printed 100 sheets of normal paper that had “VOTE LUKE 4 SUPREME LEADER” in giant black and bold font. I then purchased two white poster boards and wrote the same thing on it. I enlisted the help of my friend Helvig. He was the obvious choice since he was taller than me and he drove a ludicrous black truck that was on airbags. I thought that this might aid in our stealthiness. Around 9pm we left for the school thinking that even the janitors would be gone by then. We arrived listening to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3iW-ERh8dg and wearing all black outfits. We each had a roll of masking tape, 50 sheets of paper, and a poster. We plastered the school as fast as we could putting the papers everywhere and the posters in the now empty designated poster areas. We made sure to get some of the papers in some very high and awkward positions. We left as swiftly as we arrived and were engulfed by the dark of the night.
The California schooling system allowed seniors to effectively not go to school. My typical school day went something like this. School should start at 8 but I had a free first period because I signed up for bowling, and then dropped out the same day but the system never recovered from my intentional dupe. 2nd period was AP statistics with Wickwire who was the tennis coach who liked to call me up in class saying he needed to talk to me and then when I got to his computer he would ask me if he should trade this special diamond plated sword he found in Diablo 2 (video game) for a sceptre of light once owned by the dark princess. Duh… keep the armor. 3rd period was AP English which was a bore, 4th was AP math where I learned how to program on my TI-86 calculator. Lunch time I was allowed off campus due to my good grades. 5th period was AP Government/Economics with Mr. Hibbits where Dustin and I perfected our chess skills. Often times I would need to leave this class to travel for Tennis or Soccer matches. Then the final period, 6th, was for Soccer or Tennis depending on what time of year it was. I miss this time of life, I must say.
The point is, I did not need to show up to school when the rest of the population did so I got to miss the initial reaction by faculty and students in the morning. I did not know if they had all been torn down or what. Normally I had to be checked in at the front gate, but as I drove by the front of the school I noticed an unusual gathering of faculty loitering at the gate, so I drove on to the side, parked, and jumped the gate and quickly snuck into Wickwire’s class. The signs were still everywhere and the grin on my face could not have been any bigger as I sauntered to my seat. Wickwire, in a way that only he could do, while laughing and shaking his head at the same time trying to act like a teacher, called me up to his desk and this time it was not for Diablo advice. He said my presence was required in the vice-principles office.
This particular vice-principle was present at every soccer game through out the year and knew of me really well. We did not have a personal relationship, however, so this meeting was all business. I walked into his rather lavish office and sat down across his big leather desk. He was sitting in this huge leather chair that was facing away from me. As I sat down, he slowly spun around to face me, holding up a piece of white paper for me to read that said “VOTE LUKE 4 SUPREME LEADER”. I had anticipated this moment and I had my alibi ready. I started laughing really hard and snatched it out of his hand, reading it up close, like it was hard to read the giant text. I asked “HA! Where did you get this?” and he looked at me with a very unimpressed expression. After a moment of silence he responded “Why would you do this Luke?” It seemed like a harsh question but I stuck to my guns and said “I have no idea what you are talking about. I just got here. There must be another Luke at this school who would have done this.” To which he replied, “We checked, there is one other Luke and he wouldn’t do this, while you on the other hand, would.” I resented his accusing tone and finished with my final argument that it must have been my friends just having a laugh and getting me in trouble. It seemed this was very believable for him as I am sure he knew the types of roughians I hung out with. Never the less, he forced me to miss my class (oh shucks) and go clean up every one of these pieces of paper all around the school. I took my time and it ended up taking two class periods. I intentionally left some of the harder to reach ones which inevitably stayed in their place for days, even weeks.
The elections went by without a hitch, all the winners were unmemorable, and status quo remained in power. Years later I had heard that I had received a few write-ins on the ballots but the school would have never informed me of this fact.