Sunday, April 5, 2015

Class Election

Last week I shared with you my political desires to run for class election of the early risers of Salt Lake City. I told you that I had my campaign slogan already picked out. "McCann Can Do It!" And the words would be written under a picture of me riding a flying liger.

Well. One Stranger, who apparently has an inordinate amount of time on his hands, sent in the below image:

From Mike B.

And I can't decide if I'm happy or terrified that this image has been created. Because, you guys. Now I basically have to run for some kind of office. I mean, look at this thing? Even the angry moms who don't want me to slap their children at the grocery store are planning on writing me in to the next PTA elections after seeing this.

The majesty. The glory. The implied promises of exceptionalism. Obviously anyone who runs for office with this as their campaign poster knows what the hell they are doing.

But all of this is giving me uncomfortable flashbacks to a much earlier time.

The year was 1997. I was in 7th grade. I weighed somewhere around 45 pounds. I was a probably a ginger, although desperately trying not to be one.

I spent the majority of my time in the middle of a daydream. Most of the daydreams involved flying and saving the day AND PROVING EVERYONE WRONG.

Notes from teachers on my report cards frequently said things like "in his own world" and "tied himself to desk" and "wanders around recess alone talking to himself" and "admittedly fantastic hair."

It was in such a state that something possessed me to run for student government.

In hindsight, I think Bob and Cathie should have probably intervened somewhere in the middle of all of this. They probably had a moral, and maybe even legal, duty to step in and stop this from happening. They should have anticipated the humiliation. The years of attempted recovery. Not to mention the total and complete waste of time.

But Bob and Cathie practiced hands-off parenting when raising their children. They weren't the types, for example, to walk down the street to the neighbor's house to demand that the parents of whatever wretched child lived there stop their kid from bullying one of us. If we had walked into the house missing a limb because a gang of wild children ripped it off in an alley, Bob and Cathie would have been like, "well, we would step in and help, but then what will you learn? Also, move. You're blocking the tv."

Truthfully, Bob and Cathie were involved parents. The best I've ever seen. And they were always available for moral support. But when it came to personal conflict, they popped a bag of popcorn and eagerly sat on the sidelines, grateful for the entertainment.

So, no. They didn't stop me from running for student government. They actually helped me put together my video for the thing. The video that was shared with the entire school. The video that Bob and Cathie pulled out for many years to come whenever they could gather an audience of at least one in their home. The video they showed every passerby, despite my sincere begging that they destroy it.

My campaign slogan was: "I'm a fan of Eli McCann."

I swear to you I just became incredibly uncomfortable when I typed that out. I even looked over my shoulder. Tami curled a little.

In said video, the 12-year-old version of myself dressed up as various characters, giving ringing endorsements of the candidate.

I was a nun, telling the students in an excessively-vibrato singing voice that Eli was God's chosen one for this task.

I was my aunt Jackie, with comically painted-on swooping eyebrows, fawning over her prepubescent nephew and his abilities to lead.

I was a social outcast, a classic nerd, talking emotionally about how Eli befriended the nerd at a time and in a way that showed his all-consuming compassion.

I was the dog from the Taco Bell commercials.

Each character proclaimed themselves "a fan of Eli McCann." Each character asked for the support of the other 7th graders.

Spoiler alert: the video was a phenomenal flop. It was appreciated by no one.

When the video aired the following week, I was sitting in Mr. Golding's algebra class. My classmates stared at it in confusion. It was played third or fourth among the dozens of videos shown for various student government positions. When the video ended, Mr. Golding turned to the class and asked, with a real look of concern on his face, "does anyone know that kid?"

AND TO MY HORROR, nobody raised their hand.

You guys. THIS WAS MY CLASS. AT THE END OF THE YEAR. And either nobody knew who I was, or nobody wanted to claim to know who I was. And I'm really not sure which is worse. But neither of those options are good.

And I couldn't blame the class. I didn't raise my hand either. When the question was asked, I looked over my shoulder, just like everyone else, as though I, too, wondered who this Eli McCann person was.

When nobody claimed me, Mr. Golding muttered "very weird" and went back to grading homework.

The good thing about doing something embarrassing when you are exceptionally unpopular is that it mostly goes unnoticed.

Election results were announced at the end of the week. I waited on pins and needles.

I took dead last. How do I know I took dead last? Because only three of us ran for that particular position. They announced the winner and the runner-up.

If only I had the flying liger poster at the time.

~It Just Gets Stranger

42 comments:

  1. You have to share the video. But I will always vote for you Eli. :-)

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  2. Love the poster.
    Your story, however, reminds me of my own awkward childhood. Fortunately, no videos were involved during my equally unsuccessful campaign. Goose bumps just remembering that fiasco.

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    1. It also reminds me of my own awkward childhood and adolescence. I was cringing and laughing in solidarity at the same time, that being said, I really want to see this video. I do think it's encouraging that none of the teacher notes said "randomly undresses in class", so that's something.

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  3. That reminds me of my story... In my junior year of high school I came up with the great idea to run for senior class office. I thought of a witty slogan and (at least what I thought was..) a HILARIOUS poster design. Anyway... voting time comes around and I come in dead last. Flash forward a year and its reaching the end of my senior year and I am standing in the deserted foyer of Bountiful High, its in between classes so its just me and a senior girl, we are both quietly looking at the posters of the those running for office that year. As I am slowly scanning the rows of posters and faces when I see something familiar.. my poster! Outraged, I turn to the girl and say to her "Can you believe this kid?? That is my exact design and slogan I used last year when I ran" confused she turns to me and says "Wait... do you even go to this school??" Mind you at that point I had been going to school with her for 3 years, been in multiple classes together and we had even been in the same dance group together.. It was at that point I decided I was done with school for the day, grabbed my keys and drove home. Oh and as for that kid who used my idea? Yea.. he won.

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    1. I was in a drama class in ninth grade for some dumb reason. Our assignment was to mime a scenario of our choosing. Way out of my comfort zone I awkwardly stumbled through a performance of spilling cereal and milk everywhere at breakfast. When I got finished the teacher said, "well I have no idea what she was doing but let's clap for her anyway." It was a class full of officers and cheerleaders which mattered to me then. I promptly dropped that class

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  4. 3 things:

    1 - Mike B is a genius. That poster is amazing.


    2 - I know Bob and Cathie still have that video laying around somewhere along with a few others 😉. This might just be the perfect time for Cathie to have her revenge for all of the things you have written about her here.

    3 - You are probably too young to remember this or you just didn't care at the time, but I ran for sixth grade class president and my slogan was "McCann can do". The election went terribly (probably because I didn't have the amazing poster Mike B made). But, maybe you should consider changing your slogan because it didn't work for me.

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    1. 3 things:

      1. I agree with your #1 - he is an absolute genius. I'm wondering if I could commission one of myself on the flying unicorn.

      2. I'm sure you can cajole that video out of Cathie. C'mon Krishelle - you can't let the Stranger universe down here - we're all counting on you!

      3. You obviously didn't win because you didn't tell people what you CAN DO . . . Eli is - he can do IT! But if you get that video and find a way to post it - I'll forgive you and vote for you next time.

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  5. Sometimes I wonder if you are an actual person. Because ain't nobody got that great of hair!

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    1. I can vouch for his existence! I work downtown and see Eli about once a month doing various things. On Friday, I saw him in the children's play area in City Creek mall. His hair is even more spectacular in person.
      ...This sounds creepy to me as I type it out but I swear I'm not a stalker!! I am just coming and going to work like a normal person. I actually think that I saw Daniel this morning too.

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    2. You just keep telling yourself those lies...stalker!

      By the way, you looked great today in that shirt...don't ask me how I know who you are.

      *cough*

      <_< >_>

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    3. Those lies help me sleep at night!! Thank you very much!

      So you are the creeper that keeps walking past my office window huh? I had a feeling it was you. ;-)

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    4. Damn, and I thought I hid behind that bush so well.

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    5. I just come here for the comments.

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  6. Stinkin' hilarious! Figure out how to get your campaign commercial from VCR tape to a file that can be posted. I DO have the tape....and for once - he did not exaggerate!

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    Replies
    1. I believe that the Costco photo center can convert VHS to DVD. :)

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  7. Replies
    1. But Cathie is usually Anonymous and ends her posts with her name...

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  8. I didn't run for a political office in middle school, but we did have an assignment where we had to film ourselves reporting current events or similar - and I had the BRILLIANT idea of adding commercials, because that's what the real news does, duh. So I filmed myself playing with quints dolls and other such nonsense that any typical middle school student should've grown out of according to the moral standards of cool-ness. My class laughed. Not in a good way.

    And now other embarrassing middle school stories are flooding to the surface of my memories, so thanks for opening that can of worms. I guess... =)

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  9. I and my almost equally nerdy/outcast friend ran for president/vp in fifth grade. We never came up with a clever slogan so didn't use one (thank goodness--I actually like your 7th grade slogan (the rhyme works so well with the cadence), but apparently it's enough to embarrass you. Can't imagine what a bottom-of-the-barrel slogan we'd come up with would feel like years down the road), but we actually ended up almost winning. Kinda restored my faith in my classmates for a while. (such optimism was quickly dispelled as the class chose the biggest jerks in the class for officers for the next 7 years)

    And that poster is glorious.

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  10. Wait... I can understand your classmates not acknowledging that they knew you, but how did your teacher not know your name after having you in class for most of the year???

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  11. I pretty much demand you mass produce those posters in all formats so we can plaster them EVERYWHERE.

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    1. Tshirts! The Strangers need tshirts!

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    2. OMG YES T-SHIRTS. And, it will show your leadership abilities AND your philanthropic nature if you produce the t-shirts on TeeSpring or other crowd funding platform and give the proceeds to charity, like the Save the Ligers Foundation. Or Hannah's charity. Or is it Rebecca's? I forget, but it's a good cause.

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    3. Seriously. Do you guys remember the SweatBlock advertisement? Strangers will buy practically ANYTHING Eli gives his ringing endorsement to.

      And if we buy enough of the Tshirts, Eli might not even have to work 36 hours straight because he'd make a little bit extra from this website.

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  12. My maiden name was Cooper, so my posters said things like "Don't be a poop, vote for Coop!" And "Vote for Super Cooper" with some kind of superhero logo. I didn't win.

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  13. Nun, Aunt Jackie, Classic Nerd, the dog from the Taco Bell commercialsApril 6, 2015 at 11:54 AM

    I am a fan of Eli McCann!

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  14. My slogan was "Get off your fanny and vote for Dani". Yep..........I lost.

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  15. Freshman year I ran for Freshman Pres. and brought posters on Monday with the Slogan, "Listen to your heart, vote for Morgan" and gave out heart stickers and a bunch of other heart themed treats. My opponent brought posters late, on Tuesday, and her slogan? "You think with your brain, not your heart; vote for Sally!"

    Somehow I won by only a few votes (I think it was 7) and it turns out, those 7 (or 8?) people were planning on voting for Sally until she wouldn't help them cheat on their engineering test and then subsequently voted for me.

    Also, it turns out that my (now) very best friend was the one that gave Sally the idea (we weren't friends at that point).

    True story.

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  16. Seriously.... you need to post the video on YouTube. Now that you're one of the popular kids on the interwebs you'd get approximately 5,862,763 7th graders voting for you. Not to mention us adults.

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  17. I had a very brief stint in student government in sixth grade. I had no interest in that kind of thing; I only ran because my brother came up with a brilliant campaign slogan and I couldn't let it go to waste: "If you don't vote for Nathan, he won't win." I'm pretty sure nobody in the school knew who I was, but apparently the thought of me not winning bothered people enough that they voted for me, because I won. I served valiantly as the school's vice president, and then decidedly never ran for anything ever again.

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    Replies
    1. This is my new favorite student government slogan.

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  18. I guess there is a movie called "Tammy", but yesterday my roommates were talking about it and I immediately thought of your toe.

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  19. I'm surprised no one's mentioned this yet - it's Tuesday again. Take your trash out.

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  20. My children have a habit of signing up to run for student council and then wishing they hadn't when they find out that the elementary school campaigns involve PUBLIC SPEAKING. I am hands-off when it comes to science fair projects and book reports, but since I'm all about making my kids learn to do hard things, I jump in and force them to go through with the elections. Because I am by profession a ghostwriter, this means that I end up writing the campaign speech. I would just like to brag that 100% of my speeches have resulted in a win for the underdog. It's a gift. I don't know why the Republican party hasn't called, yet.

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