Monday, January 11, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Why the trick didn’t work on Devin

That trick hadn't worked on Devin since seventh grade.

Back then, to get out early you needed a blue slip from the Principal's desk, and most kids carried them out all day, like personal emancipation proclamations. They proclaimed to all the suckers who would have to stay through ninth period Math. They'd march to the curb with them, and hold them in one hand until Mom or Dad drove up, which was when the slip lost its power.

But there was one boy, Trey Galloway, who stuck the slip in his breast pocket and made no fuss about it. If you asked Devin, Trey was an absent-minded idiot, but a fashion trend was born. Ignoring the leave-early pass was a whole magnitude of cool above making sure everybody saw it. Soon all the boys wore their slips in breast pockets.

From there, the trend escalated to a boy named Gary (Devin forgot his last name) who stuck his pass in his pants pocket and was stopped in the hall by a teacher. No one had even known he'd had this magic pass until that moment. Gary was forced to show the pass in front of dozens of his peers, a minor social infraction, yet it put a limit on the coolness: not caring about your pass was cool only so long as everyone else saw it.

The limit was a good thing for the trend. It defined the optimal coolness: for everyone to know you had something they wanted and you didn’t care about it. For many seventh graders it reinforced the need for breast pockets on days they were leaving early, but it inoculated Devin against this strain of ostentatious apathy for the rest of his life. How trivial a game, how lame to feign emotionless over something you should want, and how juvenile to tease others with your goods. It was probably why he detested so many popular musicians.

He was on his way to interview another rock star today, waiting for the train. That seventh-grade inoculation was why Devin didn't give the blonde with the plunging neckline a second look. And that was why he was the only one on the platform that didn’t see her jump down onto the rails.


  1. Holy surprise ending, Batman! Where the HECK did that come from? Didn't see it coming at all. ( I love it when that happens!)

  2. Thank you, Cathy! If you're interested, it actually came at the start. I began with her jumping down onto the tracks and him being the only one who missed it. Then the whole drive became the explanation for why.

    Hope I didn't terrify you, Shelly!


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