School Daze #2: Vintage Cliques

I'm currently reading Paul Feig's hilarious account of boyhood in the late seventies/early eighties in his book Kick Me.  Feig is the creator of Freaks and Geeks, an amazing show that I highly recommend you watch. If you've already seen it, watch it again.

In the 1980s, the distinction between the various cliques was pounded into our heads via John Hughes - The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink are 100 percent about the caste system within the nation's schools - the rich, the stoners, the jocks, the geeks, the burn outs, etc.

The 70s certainly had their fair share of cliques as well. I definitely fell into the geek category until something woke up inside me (I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks) and got interested in girls and having a "good time".  In one fell swoop, I put away my "childish things" - the Dungeons & Dragons, the Star Wars figures, the nerdy clothing - hit the roller rink and never looked back.

It wasn't till I'd been married ten or so years that my inner geek resurfaced.  Once again, I found myself reading comic books, obsessing about Star Wars, and spending more time on the ol' computer. I'm curious what clique(s) the readers of this blog fell into back in their younger days. Drop me a comment, I'd love to hear it!


  1. Dack ThrombosisApril 06, 2010

    I was a stoner. Big time. Dropping acid and smoking pot every day in the mid to late 1980s. Had hair down to the middle of my back. Wore concert t-shirts. Funny thing about it, though, is I pretty much got along with everyone in my school. I had so-called "popular" chicks sitting in the back seat of my car before school smoking cigarettes and dope with me and we were laughing our asses off. I'd have jocks and geeks hanging out with me at times, too. Strange days.

  2. I love this, and I loved Freaks and Geeks when it was on the air...

    I fell into the freaks category and pride myself on the fact that I still wear Doc Martens and am a little off-beat still. Kids made fun of me for wearing all black and having spider web earrings and listening to Depeche Mode and The Smiths in HS.


  3. In middle school it was all about science fiction for me and parents were buying my clothes from the Goodwill store so I lived in a small geeky world. Star Trek, Star Wars, Planet of the apes and comic books ruled my life. Then in 9th grade I discovered heavy metal. I grew my hair out and when I got a job at 16 I invested in plenty of black rock band shirts and my geekiness subsided...until like after high school. Now I enjoy the best of both worlds.

  4. Interesting. I'm a bit complicated. I was a church kid, but I listened to heavy metal and wore the concert shirts and hung out with stoners at school, but never much outside of school and never did any drugs. I guess I mostly hung out with the car guys, many of whom went to my church.

  5. I meandered from the brain trust to the burnouts and punks. Freak AND geek.

  6. I was a band geek, but then my friends and I started a rock band (Kiss, Van Halen, etc), so we became about 2% cooler than before. Friends ranged from poor stoner burn-outs to rich goody-two-shoes.

  7. Fabulous post, Gilligan! I was The Shy Kid in the preppiest hell you can imagine, so I was always on the periphery. I was accepted on the fringe of the various cliques, but I never fully committed to one.

    My best bud and I were Atari computer geeks of the game-playing and pirating type, so I guess that counts as my label. A clique of two.

    I was a raging hormone case hamstrung by shyness, so I was very confused. Fate entangled me with a girl who lived an hour away, so I was even less of a presence those last two years of high school. Even when I was there, my brain (and other various organs) were miles away.

  8. I was a loner,so I didn't fit in with any cliche.I pretty much kept to myself.I went to high school in Brooklyn.A school that could be called tough,but I really didn't get into trouble.I liked running,so I tried to make the track team,however my grades were always up and down and I couldn't join in.I was invited to join certain classes and groups but was never to assure of myself.