Not all of my sixth grade yearbook signatures were hurtful.
Some were short and sweet.
To the point.
And did help me to believe that I was
in fact cool in sixth grade.
Those were some of my initial thoughts upon unearthing my collection of yearbooks from the basement wall unit of my parents’ house.
In addition, though I had not before, I noticed a certain amount of empathy and sincerity in the text. With forthcoming affection and adventurous handwriting.
One signature appeared frequently and was a mantra by which to live.
A source of inspiration
not only for the days of summer
that lie shortly ahead
But every summer.
When Hell shall be raised.
Fun pops at the pool when there is thunder
Lengthy landline conversations late at night.
Cold pizza and sitcoms before lunch.
Raising hell as recommended. Positive vibes
in the sunshine galore.
There were other signatures though.
Not nearly as encouraging.
Feedback that was not requested.
and too many exclamation points!!!
Also, some of the signatures lacked clarity
And were disjointed.
Making it difficult to navigate
Leaving me unsure of what is truth
On the bus
trying to crack the code.
In the end, all I wanted from the yearbook exchange tradition was a clear, definitive, straight answer to the question once and for all. Was I thought of as cool?
But maybe we must accept that there is no universal truth.
And perhaps such an admission can in fact help us to overcome
the lingering uncertainty that hopes to stain
what could possibly have been a strong
year for my pubescent social skills.
And so, maybe cool is a state of being that knows no exit.
If you're cool. You simply stay cool.
** Middle School Yearbook: Reviews and Rebuttals, pt. 2