Why I’m Moving Into This 1990s Middle School Dance


Ughhhh life. You know what I’m saying? I’m very lucky, I know. I’m like one rung below those people who are #blessed. Or possibly I’m one rung higher than them, because I would never refer to myself as “#blessed.”

However, sometimes I just need to escape from my problems, petty, Tom Petty, or otherwise. Yes, I have a ton of problems concerning the human man Tom Petty. Specifically, why isn’t there more Newtonian physics in the song “Free Fallin’?” If there were, maybe you’d have learned, Tom Petty, that you can’t fucking fly without wings.

I have other problems too; life, relationships, and most importantly, after months of trying, I still haven’t been able to locate that one episode of Moesha where she speaks the lyrics to Edie Brickell’s “What I Am” at a poetry slam.  It is nowhere on the Internet or on the Non-Internet, which is what I’ve taken to calling reality. I was even willing to buy the entire second season of the Moesha series on DVD just for that one incredible scene. Brandy Norwood doesn’t even own the entire second season of Moesha on DVD.  Then again, all she really cares about is whether Donald is downstairs.

Obviously, I have valid complaints. I just need some time to get away from all my problems. It sounds impossible, but regardless of the warnings, I chase the fuck out of waterfalls. So when I decided to relocate, I thought about the one place in the world where I could truly escape from all the terrible nightmares of modern existence.  That is why I’ve decided to move into this 1990s middle school dance.

Here comes the hotstepper.

So, welcome to my new home at this 1990s middle school dance!  This is pretty much how we do it. Don’t mind the middleschoolers, they’re mostly for decoration. As you can see, I have plenty of food and beverages, as long as you like no alcohol and generic brand soda. It tastes okay, it’s not like it’s poison.

Plus, each soda costs merely 50 cents. That’s a price which—here at this 1990s middle school dance—no one will ever confuse with a birthday-party-obsessed rapper. Sure, I’ve contracted scurvy from eating a diet solely consisting of gum and plastic cups filled with pretzels, but it’s the good kind of scurvy. The kind pirates get from having too much fun—and too little fruit.

Why don’t we check out the rest of my living space?  I like to do most of my daily activities in the living room/salon/grand hall/den, which some people think looks an awful lot like an auditorium. However, this area is actually a reclaimed basketball court. I reclaimed it from the modified basketball team earlier today. They were really cool about helping me build all of this IKEA furniture, too. I thought they’d be mad, but it was 100% pure love.  Their pre-teen hands are the ideal size for turning an allen wrench.

Some people say: “How can you get any work done with a DJ and a smoke machine and roughly 200 adolescents in your home office?” I say, try NOT working!  Do you know how productive you can be listening to the Dangerous Minds soundtrack?  I just wrote 12,000 words in 8 minutes listening to Tre Black’s “Put Ya Back Into It”.

That one woman who keeps screaming “yeah” in the background of that song, the one who kind of sounds like she’s getting murdered, but is really happy about it? She’s my spirit animal. She’s my Buddha. She’s my pre-Lil’ Wayne Lil’ Wayne.  No, she’s even better for hyping me up than him. Hype-wise, she’s worth about 50 Littles Wayne.

My new home is appointed with some of the finest available furnishings, floor mats, and top-of-the-line posters. See that old banner falling down behind the scoreboard? It’s originally from 1971, which I’m sure you know was a banner year for banners.  See that puffy painted sign that says “Go Wildcats!”? It’s hand-made. So yeah, I’m pretty good.

My bathroom, at this 1990s middle school dance, is larger than my entire last apartment.  Sure, it has a ton of people in it smoking and gossiping, but so does everywhere else in New York.  Also I don’t need to watch the clock, I know that my bedtime is when DJ Ronzoni, who, as he says, “moonlights during the day as an algebra teacher,” puts on Don McLean’s “American Pie.” It is a real crowd pleaser.

I guess all decades are forever doomed to unrequited love for other decades.

Finally, here is my bedroom. I sleep on the bleachers and I sleep well, my friends.  I am surrounded by people who believe that the millennium will be amazing.  I’m surrounded by people who don’t know what an iPhone is, or a threat level, or a Tosh.0. I bask in the glow of their blissful unawareness the way they bask in the glow of the dashboard light.

As I prepare a late dinner of Crystal Pepsi, Gushers, and Dunkaroos from a newly discovered vending machine, teachers and students gather round my dining room to do the limbo, unironically.  I lean back with a contented sigh while the literal and figurative smell of teen spirit wafts in the air, mingling with the residual sweat and lingering hint of Bunsen burners from the lab down the hall.  They finish the game and the rhythm of the night shifts.

The chords of Weezer’s “Only in Dreams” grow louder, unfurling like a prepubescent crush over the length of a school year.  My new home is magical. I take my cue, stretch, and get ready to turn in for the night. As sleep crashes over me in waves from the Rivers Cuomo, I have one more pure ecstatic thought: no one is posting any of this on Instagram.

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