I once ran for office.
Granted, it was in high school not in the big, bad world of American politics but still . . .
I was a Junior going into my Senior year at a private, Catholic all girls school. I was lucky to go to this school thanks to my Mom getting a job there. I received a superb education and it was there that my self-esteem really flourished. I arrived as a transfer mid-Freshman year from a local public school which I hated. And I do mean HATED. Every damn day of public high school I had cried. After attending the same elementary/junior high school since I was five with basically the same students, I was in a state of shock having to break out of my shell and make friends and fit in and (gasp!) put together a fashionable outfit every day- a particular challenge as a chubby kid. I was, by all accounts, shy. I know, I know. Sizzle? Shy? But it’s true! I was not always this mass of neurotic, sporadic confidence you read before you. Going to that all girls school changed the course of my personality.
It was a small school with only 91 students in my graduating class and probably around 400 students combined. We had three buildings total. Our gym was also our cafeteria was also our theater was also our makeshift assembly hall/church. You see how it is.
It was in front of all of these 400 students plus all of the faculty that I took the stage to deliver my speech. I was running for the office of Vice President of the entire student body. I had one opponent- an unfortunate girl with stringy, thinning hair. A fellow honors student, she played piano at lunch in one of the deserted halls and didn’t really seem to have any friends. She, sadly, had a particular odor about her which is why we called her Tuna behind her back.** Needless to say, my competition wasn’t that stiff.
I actually really wanted to be the President but my confidence waivered when one of the “popular” girls decided to run for that office. Instead of fighting the good fight, I took the easy road and ran for VP. To this day I regret that decision. If you’re going to go for something that matters to you- go for broke. That’s my public service message to all you youngin’ out there.
My speech was. . . unconventional. The idea came to me the night before as I struggled and stressed about what to say to my minions fellow students. I had words on paper but it just seemed so boring and unoriginal. Then it hit me: I would sing it.
(What the fuck was I thinking?!)
After I was introduced, I grabbed the mic and gave a shout out to all my peeps. (OK, I didn’t actually use those words- it was only 1990- I probably said hommies.) My friends sitting on the gym/theater/cafeteria floor cheered loudly for me. The energy in the room was electric. I was nervous and excited. My sister and her best friend sat in the wings ready for my cue to hit “play.” I said a few words and then the music started. I began to sing. . .
“Start spreading the news
We’re voting today
I want to be a part of it, ASB ASB'”
Oh yes. I changed the words to Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York and sang them to the crowd. I danced and wore a top hat. I made a complete fool of myself for the sake of winning votes. It was, in a word, awesome. And yes, I won.
But man, I should have run for President.
* The cafeteria served chimichangas at break. I ate one once in my entire school career and it gave me horrible heartburn. So bad, in fact, I laid down in the aisle of Spanish class because the pain was so piercing. Senor Martinez had no idea what to do with me.
** I am very sorry I called that girl Tuna behind her back even if she did really smell like tuna.