VINTAGE BOOK FROM 1986 : "I Hate School"

I HATE SCHOOL : How to hang in & when to drop out
by Claudine G. Wirths & Mary Bowman-Kruhm
Illustrations by Patti Stren

     One of my fellow library technicians sent this to me. It was a result of one of her weeding frenzies, ditching obsolete materials. This is from 1986, and "school" was a pretty different animal then than it is now.
     I like how the subtitle, "How to hang in & when to drop out" indicates that dropping out might be a valid option for you. Maybe if you're, like, SUPER fucked-up, they advise you to go ahead and quietly drop out. Ride the rails as a hobo, maybe.
     Either my friend only sent me the dust jacket, or I lost the book itself, because all I have is this dust jacket and many questions about the dropping out option. Should I have dropped out? I really REALLY hated school. What if I chose poorly by deciding to "hang in?" Shit.

PERIODICALS : Vintage 1980 "Jack and Jill" magazine

     We're moving soon, so we're in the slow and painful process of packing up all our stuff. As I do this, I'm discovering, much to my surprise, that apparently I'm one of those people who keeps EVERYTHING. Weird. I guess I didn't realize that about myself.
     Take, for instance, this Jack and Jill magazine from 1980 with Scott Baio on the cover. (A 1980 copyright date means most of what you see is really the earth tone shag carpet ashes of the '70s) I found this in a cupboard amongst old photos and memorabilia. The mailing address on the label has my Slovak Grandma's name and address, which reminded me that she always had copies of Highlights and Jack & Jill laying around for us grandkids. I didn't like either of those magazines, but choices at Grandma's house were a little... limited. You should have seen the "toy box," with its battered selection of ancient dolls and weird crap that screamed "Old Country."
     And no, I did NOT have a crush on Scott Baio. I thought he was skanky.

"Dean uses an Exacto knife to put a groove in a side strip for the stock car he's building."
     The picture above is from a profile article about some kid whose hobby is putting models together, probably because he has asthma and no friends. (Just guessing)
     Poor Dean, with his horrible mop of wavy '70s hair, and crushingly dorky glasses. This could totally have been me. Only difference is my hair was blonder, I was fatter, and had more zits. Dean is a dreamy pin-up compared to me at that age.
     Spending too much time at Grandma's house could make you feel antsy and hopeless about ever attaining coolness.

"The Nut-T-shirt"
     T-shirts with crap printed on them were big in the '70s. It almost didn't matter what they said, just the idea that you could get a T-shirt made with just about anything printed on it was, like, "high-tech" for that time. There were whole shops devoted to custom-printed T-shirts.
     I like how triumphant that kid looks with his "Nut-T-shirt," like he's really making a stand for something. He has climbed atop that mound of shag carpeting to proclaim himself a proud Herbie the Health Nut fan, and will probably get his ass kicked at school because of it.


     I thought I had already posted this picture, but I guess I didn't. I made these at the end of last school year, June of 2012. These were covers from old 1980s paperbacks that somebody donated, and I declined to add to our library collection. Because they're lame.
     I was kind of surprised to see those Sweet Valley High bitches again. I thought they were long gone and forgotten.
     I love the utterly pathetic "All Alone In the 8th Grade" cover, with that forcedly cheerful nerd girl in her purple gym shorts. She is BEGGING to get her ass kicked.
     What's that? Oh, why yes, I DID make those beaded tassels myself. I'm gay, and we know how to do stuff like that.

80s TEEN NOVEL : "Probably Still Nick Swansen"

Probably Still Nick Swansen by Virginia Euwer Wolff
     One of my English teacher friends asked if I wanted about three bins full of old books, and I said yes. There's no library funding, so I'm big on donations. Whatever we can't use for our library I take to a used book store to trade in for store credit, which I use to get things we CAN use.
     As I was going through all the old books, I found this little paperback gem from 1988. The cover illustration struck me as pathetic, along with the tagline, "What's wrong with being Nick Swansen?"
     If you have to ask...
     Then I flipped it over and read the synopsis on the back:

Nick has a problem. No, problems.
Nick is 16. He is still trying to learn how to drive. He's an expert on some things, not so good at others. He's haunted by the memory of his sister who drowned nine years ago. Nick is a "Special Ed" kid.

He's been teased about it. But that doesn't stop him from asking Shana, a former special ed classmate, to the Prom. That, Nick thinks, will be really special.

But things don't always go the way you plan.

Suddenly Nick wishes he was anybody but who he is... anybody but Nick Swansen.

     Oh, dear. Poor Nick Swansen in his awkward tuxedo, waiting for his "special" date. And what's up with that seemingly random brick of tragedy tossed in, about Nick's dead drowned sister? Like Nick's struggles aren't enough "teen issues" for one book without a haunting accidental death from the past? Virginia Euwer Wolff, you are one hard and unflinching writer.
     There's even a nice little insulting "Author's Note" at the beginning of the book, which reads:

This book contains some incorrect grammar and punctuation in order to tell Nick Swansen's story in language that is consistent with his.

     Wow, Virginia Euwer Wolff, I'm not sure who's more insulted by that, poor Nick Swansen, or the reader.