Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Underground

I recently found a copy of my school's only underground newspaper, The Doppelgänger.  It's no accident that this fabulous slice of teenage angst ended up in my hands.  I helped write it.  My pals and I couldn't help ourselves.  We were new to high school and wanted a voice.  We put it together over endless cups of coffee and Camels.  Then, I made copies on my dad's copy machine while I was working in his office.  I ran off a few hundred copies.  We distributed them all over school, sticking folded up copies in lockers and under desks.  We were stealth, we were sneaky, we didn't get caught.

Well, except by my dad, who found the master copy in his copy machine the next day.  Oops.

Back then, my dad was always catching me red handed in a lot of weird situations.  His take on things was always practical, hilarious and terrifying.  All three.  Every time.  When he found a 40 oz. of malt liquor in the back of my car, he told me that no daughter of his would EVER drink malt liquor.  He told me I could be arrested and thrown in jail because it was an open container and I was a minor.  Then, he told me that next time he caught me with alcohol he'd send me to military school AND tell my mother!

When he caught me sneaking out of the house, he told me that he didn't go through the expense of installing storm windows that didn't open so I could just waltz out the front door.  Then, he told me that I could get raped or murdered out there in the dark.  And, then, of course, he said if I tried it again he'd murder me himself.  And tell my mother.

So, when my dear old dad found the underground newspaper in his printer, he shocked me by doing something unthinkable.  He skipped the lecture and went straight to telling my mother.  I think he was confused by the newspaper.  I'm not sure if he really thought I'd done anything wrong, aside from ripping off a couple of reams of paper and a bunch of ink from his office.  I'm almost positive he didn't know what to make of it so he passed it over to the teacher in the family.

The Doppelgänger consisted of articles, comic strips, Top 10 lists and small sayings like, "Name your baby Jesus Milky Way Sunshine."  The layout was as chaotic as the content.  Things were upside down and sideways.  Some pieces were typed, others handwritten.  Everything was about rebelling and anarchy and how stupid war and preppy people and "the system" were.  I am quite sure my mother took one look at the first page and cried.  Right next to the paper's title, which was misspelled, by the way (We'd left out the first 'g' in "doppelgänger."), was the sentence, "Drop acid, not bombs."  I think this was tricky for my poor parents.  I'd been told early on that if I got caught with bad grades, pregnant or on drugs, I'd be sent to military school straight away.  So, while my liberal mother deep down wholeheartedly supported freedom of speech and freedom of expression, she came down on me like only a teacher-mom could.  Swiftly, deftly and with no room for discussion.  If I argued, she'd call up her buddy, my high school principal, tell him who blanketed the school in "Doppelangers" and "let him deal with me."

With visions of expulsion or worse, months of detention, dancing in my head, I accepted the six-weeks of grounding with minimal bitching.  I never revealed who my cohorts were in the paper.  I also never made another one.  So, the 1st Issue of The Doppelanger I have here is the only issue.  Reading it in my thirties is something of a trip.  Parts of it still make me laugh.  I love how indignant we were.  I love that rebellious attitude.  But, something about it makes me sad.  At that age, I totally thought I'd grow up to buck the system.  I thought I'd be revolutionary.  I don't know if I really knew what that would look like but I wanted it.  I know I wanted to make "killer movies" or be the editor of Sassy Magazine or "kill that shit as an MTV Veejay, dude."  I thought I might write amazing exposes that would change the world or act in avante-garde plays in New York City that made all the papers because they were so out there.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd grow up to be a responsible married tax-paying adult.  I never thought I'd go to Home Owner's Association meetings or drive the speed limit most of the time or quit smoking.

But, that's what happened.  I don't write anything revolutionary.  I actually feel really sad and weird if anyone gets offended by my blogs, tweets or columns.  I'm not the 'balls to the wall' chick I'd planned on being back when I didn't know how to spell "doppelgänger."  But, I'm glad I'm still writing something.  I'm glad I still have a copy of this paper.  I'm glad there's still a part of me that is proud of it.  Six weeks of grounding or not, we did that shit.  And, that shit was pretty awesome.

*This post is dedicated to the hardworking coffee-guzzling staff of "The Dopelanger."  Props, dudes and dudettes.  Rage on.