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Friday, August 24, 2007

You ask, I answer

Reader-Submitted Question: How out of it WERE you as a teenager? ABBA? Showtunes? It never occurred to you that any of that was worth a teensy bit of thought?

About a month ago I drank much too much Newfie screech within a short amount of time, which is why I started to compare my life to Degrassi.

is a Canadian TV show about high-school kids in a Toronto suburb, and it's been on the air in various forms for about twenty years. I don't know if anyone in the States can watch it at all. The old shows used to air on network TV, so I would catch the show from time to time when I was living in Dexter. I still like to watch the reruns every once in a while, although I think by now I've probably seen all of them.

The new show has been on for about five years and is apparently a huge hit with teenage girls. I could probably have figured that out by myself, but my theory was confirmed on YouTube, where I found too many photo montages to count. You know what I'm talking about: slideshows or video clips set to angst-filled music. I am not a big fan of Evanescence, but trust me, if I was, there would be plenty of videos to choose from. I don't think there are ANY Degrassi videos on YouTube that don't feature a caterwauling female singer with black smeared around her eyes. You Yanks will have to settle for this:

Degrassi is nothing like my high school. I only catch it every few months, but I've seen enough to know that its characters talk frankly about problems in their lives. They swap condom advice and share their feelings about crises in their families. Sometimes they screw up big time, but don't get caught. I, on the other hand, went to a school where you could get shunned for changing your hair colour. (This actually happened to a friend of mine.) We kept lots of secrets, even from our best friends.

I cannot imagine asking any of my high-school friends what type of birth control they were using; such things were not discussed unless there was plenty of alcohol involved, and even then it would be in the proper context: "So...been up on the track lately?" (Cue riotous laughter.) Gay people did not exist. Yes, I see the irony.

I really liked my high school while I was there, but I didn't realise how much it slotted people into tiny boxes and punished them if they ever showed who they really were. It wasn't that none of these things were happening, but we all pretended they weren't real. I don't recognise any of my teenage experiences in Degrassi.

So...yes, I was that out of it. Thanks for your question. Now I'm depressed.