“It’s a tough transition,” said one. “It’ll take time to adjust,” said another. “It’ll probably sap what little sanity you have been hiding in your brain’s most secure vaults more efficiently than Bernie Madoff,” offered a third counselor. For those of you who have forgotten your high school memories (and are consequently leading carefree lives unburdened by frequent nighttime episodes of awakening and screaming, “No, no, don’t do ahhhhh!-it was just a dream, just a dream”), you may not know what I am describing. I’ll tell you what I am describing: the single most overrated event in the history of the world, above the release of Harry Potter movie 6. I’m talking about the transition to high school from junior high.
It’s not that big a deal. Oh, sure, you’ll be with students whose voices alone could probably bench press your weight, with teachers who don’t fall for the “My dog gave my homework rabies” excuse, and with assignments and grades that will, in all likelihood, effect the rest of your life. Big deal. Guess what? It’s a tough transition.
The change isn’t tough because of these new items, but because of only one new aspect: you are expected to know how to use a locker. No more confiding in your friends that, “I’m scared of the lockers because I might lose manual dexterity in my fingers trying to insert my combination,” and getting an empathetic, “So is everyone, dude,” in reply. Now, were you to say that, you’d probably be scorned: “Manual dexterity, dude? Really? That’s got, like, seven syllables too many!”
Without the support from peers, teachers, janitorial staff, and the ACLU, the battle with these lockers becomes a hopeless struggle, similar to that of trying to chew gum and think, at the same time.
To start, there are the combinations. The problem isn’t that you’ll forget the combination, but that the locker might forget the combination. This requires some reminding on your part, usually using brunt force and words you wouldn’t normally hear on ‘The Muppets’. However, I wouldn’t recommend using this method of ‘reminding’ on live organisms.
Suppose you forget your combination. What happens then? It turns out the administration has gotten thoroughly fed up with students forgetting their combination, so schools everywhere have modified the locks to open with a little…encouragement.
You don’t have to worry about friends taking your combination and causing mischief, though, because in high school, they have moved on to bigger and better things. However, you do need to worry about those above you on the food chain, the ones whose arm is as thick as your chest. If you aren’t careful, you’ll get nice and close to the inside of your locker, and it is very difficult to help your locker “remember” the correct combination from the inside.
As if that’s not bad enough, your locker might break. In middle school, this could be solved by a kick, glue, or a trip to the office. In high school, a kick will dent the locker, glue will be seen as vandalism, and, thus, a trip to the office is your only choice. Here’s how a trip to the office will probably go:
You: [Stand Awkwardly by Stage Left, just in front of Secretary’s Desk] [silence]
Secretary: [Looks up at you with an expression that one might see on a beached whale’s face after someone said, “Look, a whale. Do you think it’s stuck?”] Yes? [somehow conveying that if you were to die from sheer uncomfortable-ness right now, she would not attend your funeral].
You: Um…my locker is broken.
You: Er…my locker is broken.
Secretary: Oh. Locker number.
You: 367-no 376-no, um, um, 673.
Secretary: 673. What’s the problem?
You: Well…it’s broken.
Secretary: We’ll send someone over.
But they don’t send someone over; they just want to get you out of the office before you die of embarrassment so they don’t have to drag your rotting body to the recycling bin (to meet the arbitrary quota of recycled goods). So the process is repeated, at least twice more. By the fourth time, you realize that, in reality, no one at the office cares whether or not your locker is broken, because they are too busy skyping other secretaries and perfecting their facial expressions (“Oooh, that was good, Mildred! Now try a “you just killed my uncle and I found out he left nothing in the will for me.”)
Naturally, then, you try to fix your locker yourself. However, since you can’t bring anything larger than the wrench that they give you in self-assemble furniture kits (the one that looks like the CEO robbed his child’s dollhouse for) without breaking school policy, you give up. Slowly, you sink into despair, regretting any visit to your locker and avoiding it at all costs. Eventually, you forget you ever had a locker, instead carrying your three-ton textbooks around the halls in shopping carts, mumbling incoherently.
This is why there is a locker in every hall that nobody ever uses. There used to be therapy groups, but that was before high school counselors realized that they could address any problem by telling freshman that, “It’s a tough transition. You should take a study hall.”