The Eighth Page

CXXVI: The Inside Story

We’ve all seen them around, wowing teachers with their brilliance, looking exhausted yet still suave, and smiling in that special way that shows that they know they’ll make a difference in the world. They are the board members of The Phillipian, and I used to want to be one. Despite the fact that I’ve never subscribed to The Phillipian, I felt a strong connection with those special little angels. Since they rejected the application I submitted telepathically, I decided that I needed to take action. My first plan for obtaining a coveted spot on the masthead was simply to show up at the “office” and receive a board position on the spot. I envisioned that my entrance into that shabby haven of wonder would be strikingly similar to one of my favorite scenes in Peter Pan. I would walk through the door, and Peter (Clem Wood ’04), Tinkerbelle (Rohit Acharya ’04), and the Lost Boys (everyone else, obviously) would gather round and start singing, “We have a mother, at last we have a mother!” But to my dismay, Clem, who was not, in fact, wearing the green tights that had featured so prominently in my fantasy, asked me to leave. When I refused, he said that he would put me on the board if I left. I quickly hustled out of Evans, but when Friday rolled around, I was not on the masthead. Those Phillipian kids are too smart for me. I saw WOW (Wood, Oran, and Wong) in the library the next day, huddled at a table. At first I played it cool and tried to make them want me. But want me they did not. So I mustered up all of my courage, sauntered over, and busted out the old Schouten charm. “Olivia…” I purred. But before I could even dazzle her with one of the “pickup” lines I practice in front of my mirror, she slapped me. Really hard, too. She is feisty. I didn’t understand at all. Just showing up in Evans and being naturally irresistible had won me a place on the WPAA board. My head spun. What am I doing wrong? Who am I? Is my life just a worthless spiral of meaningless events culminating in my rejection from the Phillipian board? NO! I had a plan! If I could not beat them, I would join them! Then I realized that the entire point of this whole excursion was to join them, not to beat them. To make friends with the Phillipian-ers I would need to look the part. That night, I took a shower. I replaced the Backstreet Boys in my CD player with ’N Sync. Also, I’ve noticed that the Phillipian board often eats a lot of bagels, so I started doing that, too. To top off my new look, I wore my retainer. I don’t have glasses, but I thought that a retainer might give that same image of my being super smart. But as I trooped over to Evans to fight the final round of my battle, I did not feel as cool as I looked. Again, questions raced through my mind. Is acceptance into this small, select group of perfect, chiseled, golden-hearted specimens that crucial to my life? Do I have an Oedipal complex? Is Justin Timberlake a natural blond? Yes, yes, YES! Boldly I opened the door to Evans and strutted down the hall. “Clem,” said I. “The time has come. Accept me now.” “Ali…what a congenial shocker.” I could tell Clem really meant this and would have embraced me then and there, but then Jenny Wong came along and ruined everything, as usual. I don’t know what this girl’s deal is. She just hates me for no reason. In any case, she came along and started bullying me, just as she always does, throwing her weight around and acting all intimidating. Jenny just had to go and prove she was the baddest. I whimpered and threatened to tell on her, but she went and took my retainer anyway. She wears it every day, and I don’t know how to get it back. After this horrible experience, I felt very lonely and sad, so I called up my good friend Anthony Reyes ’05. He made me feel so much better about everything. We hung out in the WPAA room and talked about how much cooler we are than The Phillipian. Then, he carried me back to the Knoll as we watched a beautiful sunset that the Phillipian kids could never see, because they’re locked in Evans. Anthony and I have found the true meaning of life in that sunset, but none of those bullies ever will.