1994 Really Big Dreams.

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I know people identify with Thomas’s lack of direction. Perhaps now even more than when I started the comic. Everything seems all messed up & earnestly working toward any goal seems pointless a lot of the time. The world is trying to adapt to how connected everything is, people are trying to take control of the internet for their own desire for power, no one wants to hear things they don’t agree with & want the opposing side destroyed rather than allowing them to live how they want on their own. But you gotta get up every day & just see what happens. Maybe today is the day you figure it out. You leave a little room for hope. Laugh in the face of the tragic & go on. Maybe today is the day you meet that person who completes you. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

1994 was the year I graduated from high school. I remember how stupid I thought he ceremony was. People were like “don’t be like that, you’ll look back & wish you enjoyed it.” Fuck that noise. It was stupid then, it’s stupid now. Graduating from high school is barely an achievement at all. A celebration of averageness. Then again, considering how hard it seems to be for some people maybe I’m wrong about that & it just seemed like any fool should be able to do the bare minimum and pass on through. The bar seemed so low & I learned more from books I read on my own than from the ones in my classes. Th fact that I resisted doing the things I wanted to do because I didn’t think I could actually survive doing them didn’t help my attitude. Anyway, none of that matters now. Although I should probably write a high school story someday. If I had been raised by parents who expected less from me I probably would have been a school shooter. There’s probably a story in there someplace.


I always thought that pomp & circumstance ceremonies from any educational institution were nothing more than “A Last Supper” of sorts for those who wanted to value their worth before being thrown out into a world that literally doesn’t give a shit about their skills unless it’s guaranteed to turn a profit by their higher-ups.

I’m sorry but those ceremonies, as well-meaning as they are, are sorely disconnected from the reality of business and give graduates a false sense of security in their job future.

Being English, I’ve never really understood the whole American education system. High school graduation isn’t a British thing, never has been. You don’t graduate here, you just leave with whatever exam certificates you have passed.

I suppose it’s because we don’t have a “grade school” system, you just go from year to year without actually passing anything – the exams are separately assessed, and the range of subjects taken varies considerably from individual to individual.

We don’t have yearbooks, either.

My niece moved to the US at about 15 years of age and was asked to be a valetudinarian; it caused much confusion that she had no idea what this was, having paid so little attention to school life (we don’t have Prom Queens or Homecoming, either..)

I think I’ve said this here before, but the reason why I love this comic so much, and especially sections relating to Thomas and Carol, is absolutely because I relate to Thomas. About ten years ago I was right where Thomas was – aimless, working dead end job after dead end job, and nursing a love/hate for the one that got away. And then I met my Carol and the world was in color again. And she encouraged me to make something of myself.
Fast forward ten years. I went back to school, got a degree and a good job. We’re married with one kid and another on the way. And when I read this comic for the first time, I saw myself and my wife in Thomas and Carol. And I will always love yhis comic for that.

If you’re young and you feel aimless, take some advice from someone who has been there: your options for the future only close off if you choose to close them. It might hurt, it might suck, buf as long as you are alive, you can change your future. I knkw, because I did it.

Good luck.

There are lots of things in life that just don’t make sense until you are on the other side of them. There are things that I put too much importance on and things that I wish I had paid a lot more attention to but I suppose that is the nature of life. The comic brings up a lot of nostalgia for my college years, in my case I worked in a theater. It’s funny how much of Jackie’s observations also apply to my years working in a mega bureaucracy (MHMR).

High school graduations are always pomp and circumstance and lofty aspirations-and no-one remembers them the next day. I persuaded them to hire John R. Erickson (the guy who writes Hank the Cowdog) for a graduation speaker. His whole family participated-funny stories and singing (and hawking books in the hallway).They had me write the senior prophecies-then told me I had to read them in front of everybody a day or two before-they were all silly-especially mine. It wasn’t solemn. It wasn’t staid and respectable. And people remember it to this day.

I do agree that we do give a lot of weight to something like graduating high school, and that it’s a lot of celebration for what a lot of people might thing is mediocrity. However, if you went to school when I did (in the 80s), I had only one half my class actually finish high school. One half. That’s half the people got pregnant/expelled/flunked/arrested/ and/or quit. In my smaller school, that was a lot of people. I graduated at the top of my class, but to me, that meant nothing since half the class didn’t even graduate (which made my bar seem so low at the time). And it wasn’t just my high school. A lot of people I knew from all over the country told me how a lot of students were just dropping out or prevented from graduating. So it became a testament of how much you could put up with and how good you were at staying out of trouble when I was in high school.

Not that I was boring or anything. I had a whirlwind time of sports, choir, barbershop quartet and unofficial drag racing. I got in fights (which I luckily won most of), broke many hearts/had my heart broken many times, and got into a lot of weird but fun situations. I went to college, graduated from there, went into the Air Force and now I work for a large IT company.

So yeah, I barely remember any of the classes or teachers or actual boring shit we did in high school (which filled up 80% of my teenage years), but had I dropped out, none of it would have happened. I would have missed out of the stuff that made my life fun back then. I feel bad about those who never made it that far. Nowadays, getting through high school seems easy peasy lemon squeezy. The ACT and the SAT still kick a lot of people in the ass, denying them good scholarships and such, but that’s the qualifier for college (that or join the military).

So I see where the younger crowd is coming from being disappointed with high school. And I feel like it does seem like things are harder now since everything seems so broken on the more basic levels. But you gotta get through it and go for what you want, or basically get stuck and die. *shrugs*

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