I was so fascinated to watch the hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last week, and, like you, I sat there completely and utterly transfixed, and I hung on every word. The hearing lived up to – and even surpassed – its billing, with riveting testimony on both sides. If the first alien landing in the history of mankind had happened during that hearing, not one television station would have cut away.
I don’t recall that they ever used to ask these types of questions of Supreme Court nominees: When did you lose your virginity? Did your friends have a particular way of saying the F-word? Did you get sloppy drunk a lot in high school?
And, then, after questions like that, they pulled out stuff from his high school yearbook and used it against him.
All that got me thinking hard about my own high school yearbooks and the pictures in them and the comments people had written. And I really didn’t know how incriminating the stuff in there was. I mean, I’d held onto those books for decades, but I think I’ve literally only read the comments one time in my life – about four seconds after someone wrote them. But it struck me like a ton of bricks that I’d sure better check and see what’s in there just in case I’m ever nominated for the highest judicial seat in the land.
(You may not realize this but, to quote Wikipedia: “The Constitution of the United States does not require that any federal judges have any particular educational or career background.” In short, you don’t even need a LSAT score to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Now, I understand it still seems unlikely that I’ll get nominated to serve on the court, but, for anyone who says it’s impossible, I would remind you that Donald Trump is president.)
So, anyway, I thought I’d better check and see what was in there. I had a lot of “fun” in high school, so I was kind of scared to look. But, finally, I got my courage up and opened the 1976 Whirligig – the yearbook for Greensboro Grimsley High School – and I chose a written comment at random. This is the actual first comment I read in there …
You are a pretty cool cat considering your jokes and being a sophomore. Glad to know you’re living your life for Christ! See you this summer at Campaigners [A Christian youth group]. Your Christian brother. Andy.
Well, that’s not so bad, I thought. In fact, I come off looking pretty darn good in that one. Then I looked at another entry from a guy named Eddie, who I have no recollection of.
“Sorry for not ever getting to Young Life [another Christian youth group], but I know what was accomplished there was good. Have fun next year. Love in Christ. Eddie Hendrickson, ’76.”
Yet another classmate wrote that I had been “very instrumental” in his “growth in Christ.”
OK, so this wasn’t going so badly after all. There was nothing in my yearbook about devil’s triangles nor were there any mysterious references to a supposed tramp named Renate. In fact, in that whole yearbook, there was only one troubling entry I could find: One girl wrote that my jokes were terrible and she added at the end, “If you ever want to find the ‘swings,’ just ask me where to go.”
Now, I don’t know what the “swings” are, or what that’s a reference to; but I can easily imagine my political opponents having a field day with that one. But I would, if I had to, swear under oath on a stack of Bibles that I have no idea what that means. (In the name of honesty, I will admit that it does sound a little shady, whatever it is.)
Other than that one reference, though, I looked squeaky clean in high school and seemed completely in the clear. I still didn’t know what my other classmates were doing in high school while I was trying my best to turn people to Christ, but I thought I’d look through the pictures and see what I could find. I won’t name names in this column, but I will say that, the three years of classes covered in the 1976 Whirligig include people who are now elected leaders, law enforcement officers, judicial officials and many others you would know. The names in there are like a Who’s Who of powerful and important people in this city and I must say that quite frankly I was utterly appalled at what I saw these people doing in there. I mean, clearly, late ’70s Grimsley was a cesspool and I have no idea how I stayed so connected to God in that environment.
Here are some of the highly incriminating pictures I found …
- On page, 76, the photo clearly shows that the entire Key Club had just attended a porno film. This is the Key Club for goodness’ sakes, supposedly the schools best and brightest.
- In one very damning discovery, I saw that the student newspaper was named “High Times.” Talk about thinly veiled references; they didn’t even bother to veil that one at all.
- On page 25, I saw a group of male students openly engaged in what looks like hazing at best – and waterboarding at worst. Likewise, on page 82, the Junior Jaycees, in a clear case of bullying, are beating up a guy – I don’t know if he had just come out or what.
- On page 172, you can see the total disregard for the institution as students sleep in class.
- On page 27, you can see what’s clearly an unwanted sexual advance if I’ve ever seen one in my life. Hey buddy, “No means no,” and that goes for the prom like anywhere else.
- Ironically, that year Grimsley put on a play called “Pure as the Driven Snow,” but that seems like a misnomer to say the least, since the two leads are seen here, on page 65, making out on stage in front of the whole school. The name of that play is also clearly a reference to snorting high quality virtually uncut cocaine.
- In the next very alarming photo, on page 67, these students are openly wielding rifles at school. And these are members of ROTC – who should of all people know to follow the rules at school.
- And, on 87, there’s a picture of these women in bordello-like lingerie with the caption that says, “Look at those legs!” Demeaning, exploitive. And, quite simply, dirty, dirty, dirty. Women are not playthings for men to gawk at! (I will point out to my future court selection committee that I had nothing to do with that being in there.)
- On page 132, I saw that another school play was called, get this, “Once Upon a Mattress.” I don’t even want to know what that’s about, but I think it is pretty clear from the title. Come on, people! This is a high school play, not some seedy off-Broadway production.
I noticed that, at Grimsley, there was also an entire club called “Student Affairs.” I want people to know that I had nothing to do with that, I was not a member and I do not condone that kind of behavior.
So while I was in the clear, the annual was chock full of damming evidence for the rest of my classmates. While my whole class at Grimsley High was apparently filled with rampant inequity, somehow – mostly through my close relationship with God, I guess – I had been spared. I am in none of these pictures.
Then I got this uneasy feeling. My high school yearbook looked squeaky clean, for me if not for my classmates, but what about my Junior High Yearbook? What about my three years at Kiser Junior High?
I got that book out and some comments were innocuous but then I found what would no doubt cost me my seat on the Supreme Court. I cringed as I read the damning passage.
“Scott, Keep on pulling for Duke, they need your support, and keep on working on Mrs. Harris, maybe someday ya’ll [will] get engaged, well you tried to get her to once but she wouldn’t, Good luck.”
I frantically looked through the rest of the Kiser annual and I found out I had written notes to myself throughout the book. To my terror I saw in my own incriminating handwriting, that I had made notes about all of my teachers and I had written, “Mrs. Harris – best teacher I ever had in my life. I must see her again.”
I just shook my head. Let me say first of all, Miss Harris, that I don’t remember exactly, but if I made any inappropriate advances toward you at Kiser, I am truly sorry and it was only a youthful indiscretion and not a reflection of who I now am as a person.