Memories Of A Really Bad Student Council President (Part Three)

It was 14 years ago today that my life changed forever, and not for the better.  After delivering the political speech of my life in front of Delta’s student body in the school auditorium on the morning of Friday, May 22nd, 1992, the vote was on.  I spent the rest of the morning impatiently waiting for the results.  It was hard to concentrate on anything school-related with something so important to me on the line.
At lunchtime, I went outside with my friends and we talked about a variety of things, including everything related to the election.  It was a very warm, sunny day, and I presumed the votes were still being tabulated.  Very soon, we would all know the winners.
During my first class in the afternoon, Grade 11 Advanced English, one of the students in that class, the lovely Mimi Vattaso (who was also in Drama with me) informed me that I had won.  (Apparently, all the winners were informed during the lunch break, except me.  That was because I wasn’t in the school at the time.)  Moments later, Jason Wadden announced over the P.A. System that I was the new Student Council President.  Shocked and elated, I immediately left the room screaming my head off.  I ran around the second floor like a maniac two times, arms flailing around, acting like I won the Super Bowl.  I bumped into some hot girls along the way who offered their congratulations, and then I returned to class.  For the rest of the day I was on a major high.  I’m not sure many people thought I had a chance of winning which made my victory even sweeter.  (When I was gathering the necessary signatures to run, my Grade 11 English teacher, Mrs. Bray, wished me luck as she signed my paper but openly said that she didn’t think I would win.  Who knew I could win over hundreds of students with a silly speech?)
I found out later that I won the election by 20 votes and that Erin (who I thought was the only candidate who could beat me) came a distant third.  The guy who came in second would always hold a grudge against me, I believe, because of this.  He was a very angry guy, gossiped maliciously behind people’s backs and, in my view, would’ve been just as sucky a leader as I turned out to be.  I was incompetent, as he was not shy about saying (nor was he incorrect).  But had he won, his style would’ve alienated people even more than I did.  Anger is no substitute for stupidity.
My good friend, Sean Webb (who I still bump into from time to time), treated me to the movies that night.  After screening the excellent Deep Cover with Jeff Goldblum and Larry (not-yet-Laurence) Fishburne, we hung out in the lobby where some more hot chicks from school offered their congratulations to me.  If anything, winning a big school election like that seemed to get the ladies’ attention.  (Can I get a "Hey Now"?)
Shortly thereafter, we snuck into Alien 3 and I remember before the film started, as Sean and I were yapping, killing time, I couldn’t stop shaking.  Either it was me or the Centre Mall Cinemas jacked up the air conditioning way too high that night. 
After the screening, we left the multiplex and I thanked him for the evening.  I went home that night happier than I had ever been in my entire life.  I felt like a climbed a mountain for 18 years and finally reached the top.  It was all downhill from there.
My one-year term as the incoming Student Council President was to begin in September, the beginning of the new school year.  But before then, I had some responsibilities.  The outgoing President, Andie Gallagher, gave me the heads-up on what was expected of me.  It was an absolute slap in the face.  I had no idea about the sheer amount of work I was expected to do in order to keep things working smoothly.  Even after she told me, I still had no clue.  Plus, I was still rather excited about winning the election.  I hadn’t come down yet.
I remember we attended a President’s Council meeting together.  The Council is made up of Student Council Presidents in high schools throughout the city.  I definitely felt like the odd man out.  Zilcho experience, no political instincts.  I was in over my head and I knew it.
Andie drove us to the meeting on her rather cool motor scooter.  That was rather sexy, wrapping my arms around her waist, wearing a helmet and my sunglasses (which nearly fell off my face a couple of times) as we were zipping through traffic.  (Who knows?  I might’ve had a shot with her.  After all, she was "the Prez but no lez.") 
The President’s Council were going to meet every month during the coming school year and this first meeting would be a taste of what to expect.  One of the advisors was a high school drama teacher, a real character.  He introduced himself as "a drama fag."  (He was perfectly straight, I do believe, but very funny.)  I remember when they did the role call I got up and did something silly that got a laugh.  (Why I felt the need to perform in that moment I’ll never know.)  Other than that, I don’t remember much of anything I did or said during the meeting.  
I can’t remember who told me this but someone said (either Andie or Mr. Simpson, one of the council faculty advisors) that all of us on council (especially me) should expect a drop in our grades, something like 10%.  That was not cool and yet another ominous sign of the future.  Was I prepared to sacrifice my percentages for this unpaid gig?
Before the school year was over, I had to do 2 things.  I had to organize a year-end barbeque and I had to attend Grade 12 Graduation.  (Having successfully completed all my Grade 11 courses, my Graduation would take place the following year.)  
The Graduation gig was easy.  Every year, the incoming Student Council President walks toward the front stage stairs and keeps an eye on people (mainly graduating girls with oversized dresses) as they come down, offering any assistance so they don’t fall and hurt themselves.  I’m happy to report that no one fell on my watch.  It was the only thing I ever did perfectly as President. 
As for the year-end barbeque, that’s a different story.  When I found out that I had to find a place to have this thing, order all the food and invite people, deep down I realized I should’ve known all of this crap before I ran in the election.  This was a chick job, putting together a barbeque and I wanted nothing to do with it.  So we didn’t have it.  And yes, people rightly complained.  Looking back, I should’ve called a meeting with all the people who were going to participate, ask for help and delegate and work it out.  I should’ve been upfront with all those people and say, "I need help on this thing so we can all have a good time.  How do we make this happen?"  But like I said, I had zilcho experience running anything.  And this was the first black mark against my name.  There would be many more to come.
Right near the end of the year, I remember having a conversation with one of my Vice Presidents.  He told me that people are worried about next year’s Council.  "They’re saying we have no experience," he said, quite rightly.  "We’re gonna prove ’em wrong," I replied.  Actually, we didn’t.  Their worries were sadly justified.  But none of us would know just how difficult our last year at Delta was going to be.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, May 22, 2006
3:48 p.m.
Published in: on May 22, 2006 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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