Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pineapple Head

Pineapple Head was a counselor at my high school. He was a big guy with lots of forehead and he was Hawaiian. He was aptly named.

The jocks, cheerleaders and brainiacs had been pimped by the counselors for years. I really had no idea what the counselors were for (mental health, maybe?) since none of them had ever spoken to me about anything or acknowledged my existence.

But when I was a senior, I was summoned into Pineapple Head's office. He wanted to know what my plans were after graduating.

"I dunno. Get a job maybe?"

"What about college?"

Until he asked about my going to college, I'd never considered it. My parents couldn't afford to send me off to college.

"My parents can't afford college."

And that was the end of session number one with Pineapple Head.

After that meeting with Pineapple Head I got to thinking. I had never really considered college before because I wasn't the star of anything and didn't know what to aspire to. But I was good at lots of things. I designed and made my own clothes. I embellished my hand made clothing with embroidery. I could go to college and become a clothing designer!

I demanded session number 2 with Pineapple Head. I told him of my new found dream to become a clothing designer and sought his help to send me off to college in pursuit of this dream.

He opened a little book and starting thumbing through it. I think this little book was called "Careers for Women" and the only two entries in it were nurse and school teacher.

I don't recall how the rest of this session went but I do recall being humiliated afterward. The gist of it was that I wasn't smart enough to go off on a career path that wasn't listed in his book with 2 entries.

This is so sad, people, but I was an adult (with lots of crappy jobs under my belt) before I knew that there are things such as college loans and grants. I'm pretty sure the jocks and cheerleaders were informed of this (and that the brainiacs just knew it already). Another later life revelation was that a good liberal arts education can take you a long way. Or maybe help you find your way.

Maybe Pineapple Head didn't know it himself. Maybe he learned it later when he got his PhD. He's Doctor Pineapple Head now. But he's still a major asshole to me.

And this dumb girl who couldn't go to college is going to college now and maintaining a four point oh. O.K., it's community college, but still.

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