High school just wasn’t my thing. I was a wee little dude who could have passed for a seventh grader. I was shy, sometimes going a whole school day without saying more than a handful of words. I was nervous around the ladies; my first kiss didn’t happen until the end of my senior year, and even then, I had no clue what the hell I was doing.
But those four years weren’t just filled with social awkwardness. There were delightfully dorkish moments I’ll always remember. I served as co-editor of the school newspaper, which is where I discovered I could say things in print that I’d never have the acorns to utter in a room full of classmates. And I captained the quiz bowl team, a legendary squad that won conference championships and ignited a dominance that lasted for a good decade afterward. We were nerds long before “The Big Bang Theory” made it cool to be one.
If I could re-live my high school years, I’d do a lot of things different. But if given the chance to go back and try again, I’d take a hard pass. A re-do would change who I am today. It’s easy to forget that our fumbles and faux pas establish a firmer self-recognition of who we are and what our role is on this crazy planet.
Numerous songs remind me of high school, and in a good way. They remind me not only of shortcomings and regrets, but also of good times and good friends who are still my buddies to this very day. Here’s Volume 6 of the Coughing Bison Mix Tapes, songs that truly are the essence of my adolescence. Before we jump in, here’s a quick recap of the previous mix tapes:
“Santa Monica” – Everclear
“Lightning Crashes” – Live
“Water’s Edge” – Seven Mary Three
“The Difference” – The Wallflowers
“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” – Crash Test Dummies
“When I Come Around” – Green Day
“California Love” – 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre
When I got my first car (long live the Silver Streak!), my brother put in a new stereo with mega bass speakers in the back. I bought MTV Party to Go Platinum Mix and we sat in the garage and cranked it, with “California Love” getting a good chunk of playtime.
“Down” – 311
“Only Wanna Be with You” – Hootie & the Blowfish
“Here Comes the Hotstepper” – Ini Kamoze
“Ants Marching” – Dave Matthews Band
“Loser” – Beck
“The Distance” – Cake