In Search of Something Greater: Expulsion


Tyler Garant

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 125 in December, 2010.

Since first grade or so—okay, since the start of high school—I’ve been pursuing expulsion like it’s the goddamned roadrunner.

Along the way I have crashed, I have cursed, I have even blown up. What has happened as a result?

It seems expulsion, unlike graduation, is quite the feat; for example, if you’re awake, you may notice me sitting next to you in Calculus scribbling this crap down. In Calculus.Sunovabitch.   

It’s not that I want to get expelled, per se, it’s that if I am expelled I’m convinced my parents will let me take the goddamned G.D. (which has got to be easy) and I can stop wasting all of my time (also known as my life) dealing with numbskulls like you, yes you. Needless to say, being your SCHOOL newspaper writer and whatnot, (writing this in Calculus and whatnot) my attempts, much like Wiley Coyote’s (the ambitious bastard and my only true role model), have been…less than successful.

It’s not that I can’t get expelled, Christ, that’s as easy as punching an English teacher in the face or smoking in the bathroom across from the witch with the surprisingly perfect nose (the one in room three-oh-something)—but that I can’t get expelled in a way that I can be proud of, that I can tell me grandkids about or, hell, my grandparents about, or, in the pits of hell, my future wife about, or in Satan’s ass crack, my future psychiatrist about (blah). This quest for a suitable expulsion is what inspired me (apart from Paul X’s fascinating zit story) to start this little-big independent school newspaper here (sorry fans). And, Christ, I don’t know how many times I’ve insulted the teaching staff or how much libel I’ve actually spun—but, pompously-liberal-artistically-open-minded-principal Almighty, I can’t seem to reach a level of offensiveness grand enough to inspire the ole’ pink slip. I’ve gotten away with more than, I swear to God, any high school student I know of. So, at this juncture, I have a confession to make—I’ve discovered the very source of disciplinary immunity (also known as the puberty-brain-holy-grail—and, no, Kimberly, it is not sucking off the fat cat). Simple: if you let it be known, to a suitably arrogant and high-minded administration, intent on testicle strangulation, that you are trying to get expelled, they will, in turn, (to best spit in your face according to the most recent TI calculator) not expel you. Well, fine! Maybe I knew this all along, bud. Maybe I’ve been playing you. Are you reading, bud? I’ve been playing—I tricked you, buddy, in old-man terms, I’ve tricked you. (But, seriously, please, expel me.) (And I’m still tricking you—see, it’s easy.)

            Now, for my disciplinary immunity perks, and exhibition of God-like power unavoidably passed on to one who starts his own school newspaper (to smashing success, I might add—this is the first thing most freshman read since picking through that one Harry Potter book fiver years ago). Disciplinary immunity and God-like power: Mr. Harding, our beloved Disciplinarian, has a strange fetish involving birdseed and woodpeckers—the birdseed, of course, being straight A’s and the woodpecker being you—just ask him about it. (Pro-tip for the freshman: Rumor has it a clean-slated  disciplinary record can be tossed into the mix if you successfully haggle (or perform well enough)—but, unfortunately,a clean bill of health is another question entirely.)

            Oh, Christ. In a thinly veiled disguise to talk about myself (okay, with no disguise) I began writing about my own expulsion efforts, here in cozy Calc, with the terribly ambitious goal of getting expelled for it—and if I do get expelled for calling a cocksucker a cocksucker (or even a cocksucker a dickmuncher) then that is one to tell the grandparents. Look, before we get straying from the subject of me, I am the typical (if I had to describe my self in words other than totally handsome-badass) the typical too-cool-for-school sort—you know, the sort who sits in the back of class and doodles pictures of ship-crash-survivors-in-life-jackets-getting-blown-by-dolphins-and-the-jizz-coming-out-the-blow-hole sort, who then goes on to get straight ace hundreds on the test that everybody else fails. You may notice (if you’re real smart), that I am, in fact, a tad pompous (though I prefer the term awesome) like anybody too cool for school or anybody who thinks he’s too cool for school, and, Jesus, if I have a large enough ego, well then it’s only school’s fault for being so boring and easy and taking up all of the time I could be spending in deep meditation. Isn’t it! And to be honest, hanging around with stupid kids like you, yes you, isn’t helping the efforts for spiritual betterment either. If one more kid comes up to me and tells me he enjoyed the Joey Y. White Pee Rag Story, I’ll kick in a locker for good. I mean, did anybody even see the real meaning of the goddamn thing? (And the conceit continues…)

Do you believe I’m not even aloud to read a book during a particularly boring class (erhrm, English) without getting pulled outside of class and reprimanded? Jesus, sorry, man, I say to the teacher, I just want to—damn this sounds awkward—learn. I mean, isn’t that what the school wants too. Oh, wait. Oh, wait, you only want to strangle me down in a super-duper-teacher-Blatant Manipulation and Obvious Power Issues in the Real World!-headlock to the tile of the boringass mediocre floor. No, no, sir, I’m not trying to be a rebel, I’m trying to read my goddam Buddhist book in peace.

An express desire for nirvana (not the band) won’t get you expelled either. However, getting expelled might just lead to nirvana, I’m willing to bet. Therefore, reason only follows, I should bring a gun to school (don’t be terds, I’m joking, and don’t tell me I can’t joke about that, I have nightmares of somebody else doing it goddamn near every night (somebody’s gonna be driven to it under this dictatorship, read some history) so don’t tell me I can’t joke about it like laughter suddenly isn’t the best medicine until the second you’re suddenly dying of cancer or you’re brother’s coming back from Iraq in a flag).

This all could be solved if my parents would let me, simply, dropout. (Beware: that one little world, dropout, will send shivers down your parents spine with even greater power than the word suicide, I may or may not know from experience). That, however, (project dropout X) is a side venture currently and indefinitely put on hold because I do not speak the native language of the beings who seemingly birthed me (you try understanding no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no—it’s all about inflection, I think). It seems much easier to call a disciplinarian a penis-licking-crossdresser-with-a-thing-for-woodpeckers-and-possibly-even-according-to-the-school-nurse-poison-ivy-butt-stuffing-too. Christ, that was easy. (I don’t like being a punk, you know. Honestly, dear grandparents, it burns me up. But if you’re reading this, sob, what choice do I have? What’s that? Behave? No.)

Frankly, I’m a little bit tired of listening to people who are not even as smart as I am, supposedly teach me (yes, I’m smarter than the teachers too). I’m falling completely out of control, you know. Not my fault. Behold, the educational system has failed me—with straight A’s—has failed me. Well…that’s my excuse (and if the educational system is good at proving anything, it’s excuses). It is one excuse, in fact, my parents might actually buy after being questioned whether I heard the term penis-licking-crossdresser-with-a-thing-for-woodpeckers-and-possibly-even-according-to-the-school-nurse-poison-ivy-butt-stuffing-too at home. My Dad will turn to me and the principal and say no-noo-nooo-no-noo-no. Every nationality thinks their native language is best for cursing, so my Dad, a fluent speaker of no-no-no, will say ‘no’ a bunch of times, and I’ll just say son-of-a-no-good-bitch (the “no-good” part only arising because I still have a bit an accent).

But, in all seriousness, it won’t exactly be pretty in the Princey’s office when the day finally comes, is what I’m trying to say. According to disciplinarian, bald-head-fuck-face, nostudent in the illustrious twenty-six years (I’m assuming that’s in dog years) he has been serving, selflessly, at our school, has gotten expelled without tears soon following—every single student who’s gotten expelled no matter how tough, how cool, how indifferent, cries, cries, when the expulsion is passed out in front of his parents. Well then, Christ, this is one small step for students, one large step for pussy-kind, isn’t it? I can’t wait for that slip to slide across the desk. Honestly. I’m going to look my parents straight in the eyes, as they cry, and say, “yes.”

The worst part about this situation, and the true reason, probably, why I have yet to be expelled, is that everybody, at some time or another, thinks that I act out solely because my brother died in Iraq, well, yes, fuck this country, but, look, I loved my brother and it kills me hearing him as a lousy excuse for why I do what I feel needs to be done so STOP. It would kill him too—if that goddamned US issued grenade didn’t. Oh, they all Love feeling sorry for me now, but only so they can have a goddam excuse: my best interests (which, strangely, don’t belong to me at all). They lay helpful yet tender disciplinary action on my ass, and save the expulsion slips for either those without a mother dying of cancer or a brother dead from Iraq. If that’s why they didn’t expel me, because of my hero brother, then I swear to God it’s messed up, it’s messed up. Ha! I only even mention my brother because I suspect that’s exactly the goddamned reason. Look, I’ve never even accepted so much as a goddam kiss from a girl who I thought was feeling sorry for me over his death. Never.

Of course, my God, sure I’m sad. Ha! Sure. I’m sad. He died for no reason and now I’ve got my nose stuck in Tsong-Kha-Pa 24-7 to stop the goddamned pain (if you’re really interested), but if they think (if you think) that treating me nice is going to help anything, WRONG!, because it’s doing just the opposite, friends, the opposite—expel me, expel me. Oh, God. (Can I look now? Is it working?)

You think I would ever join the military. I told him not to. But he always liked that shit. He was a soccer player and a life guard and all that other thrive-under-strict-authority-shit. Moron. You know how college isn’t for some people? You know about that? Well, you know what he said to me once? The first day of college orientation, where they made us split up into teams and build these card houses, and people really cared about doing it, that’s when I knew I was in trouble. That’s what he said. Oh! Idiot! And do you know why I can call him an idiot? Because I’m the only one who’s grieved properly. But enough of this. I’ve never been one for scenes.        

Anyways, in the event that I haven’t made myself (insert Nixon impersonation à la semi-crazed French teacher) perfectly clear, school is only holding me back. Back like back. Naïve counterargument from freak generation: But, high school is, like, oh my God, an experience, part of, like, growing up, I mean don’t you wanna go to Prom and all? Angry over dead brother response: Well gee Susy, I’d like to go and all but I wouldn’t know what color ego to pin on your goddam forehead—there’s just not-a-lot-of-shades of throw-up to match the color pink. Insightful response: Yer just mad, well… Angry knowing prodding: Well what? Tender Sledge Hammer: Because yer brother died. Lash out quick: Oh, God—just mad because your soul died, oh, around kindergarten, first grade at the latest—fuck, I was angry well before he died you dumb cunt. [She cries, like a stupid twit, off into the lone light of her facebook]. (That was a production of your local internal demons playhouse.)

If I had any, whaddayacallit, (not tact, not class, not patience, ah!) money, I’d just drop out myself. Unfortunately, I don’t. I don’t have any money. So throw me a bone willya? Throw me a pink slip. (Not that I want one.)  I’m a nuisance and it’ll only get worse, buddy. Honestly. This is only the third story of my little paper and I’ve already reverted to writing entirely about myself, when not discussing the felacial acts of bird enthusiasts, instead of following the Lacrosse team like I was told.

Okay, okay. But enough about me. What about you? Oh wait—you just suck.

I’m sorry. What? You have a sob story too. Oh, my God I assumed that nobody had one of those but me. Okay go on…ah wait, your sob story sucks too. Your sob story is a predictable drama-queen-indulgence. Your sob story is self-made, self-perpetuating ego slop! Your sob story is conveniently similar to that one Denzel Washington movie.  

The first step to nirvana, ladies and gentlemen, is compassion. Ahhh. (Compassion is also, surprise, the end result of nirvana, go figure.) But did you know there was a first-first step? There has to be. How does one feel the need to enter on the Path in-the-freakin-begin-with?  Alright now everybody listen up, the first-first step to nirvana is disturbing everyone so goddam seriously that you get yourself expelled. (Or so the Buddha tells me in Calculus daydreams—and why is the Buddha shaped like a giant bunny rabbit?) In other words, the real first step to nirvana is disliking everything so much that you can’t stand to be around any of it. Why? Because everything is shallow and false, buddy. Shallow and False. (Or, if you want to get technical, lacking in intrinsic-essence, fundamental difference between opposites, or actual separation between observer and observed, but widely mistaken to hold intrinsic essence, bear fundamental difference between opposites, and have so much goddam separation between observed and observer that a little girl grows up praying to the crucifix instead of praying to become the crucifix.) Ha! But nothing, (are you listening, buddy?) nothing, is more shallow and false than calling everything shallow and false. So...that, ladies and gentlemen, is the twist on the Path. Realizing you are a prick. Done and done. Now it’s your turn.  

It seems like I’m angry, doesn’t it? Well, that’s a shame. Well, that just isn’t true? (No sarcasm, for real, and you’d better believe me.) Well, I am angry. But not like that. You see, I love everybody. (I especially love my lack-of-an-editor, or, in other words, the invisible-editor I call Kermit, who hasn’t opened his mouth since the first time I slapped him.) I swear to God, I dislike all of you but, I swear to God, I love everyone. (No joke.) Everyone. (Including you, buddy.) I don’t want to see you, maybe, or talk to you, definitely, but I swear to God, I feel nothing but love for you. And it disturbs me, frankly. But I’m glad, at least, not to hate anybody. That’s good. (Plan number two: appeal to sympathy of administration. Success? Aw, shucks. What the hell was Wiley’s catch phrase anyways? Was it: fuck all of this and all of you.)

(It’s true, though, it’s true. If you must know. If I must confess. Embarrassingly true. Don’t believe me if you want.)

Alright, buddy, so I’m all over the place. And this doesn’t qualify as news. (Well then it’s our first editorial, buddy! Quick, the champagne!) And you don’t know what I’m trying to say. That’s good. Because I’m not trying to say anything. Nothing. Nothing, buddy, I’m done trying to say. You know what I want. My previous two school scoops, if you’ll recall, centered around two other infamous students. And now, this time around, the scoop is on me; I think we may have gone around once too many times; I think I’m gonna puke. Well, so be it, buddy. Deal with it. You know what this is. Call it an egoist’s indulgence, or a call for expulsion, or a plea for the-help-of-all-those-help-themselves-by-helping-other-jits, whatever floats your boat, buddy. I’ll just keep calling it sad. Leave that to me.      
Believe me, my buddy, my prissy Princey, I know nobody cares about me. Nobody cares about anybody. So let’s talk about something we all care about. The cliques. The goddam stupid cliques. We’re all very, very concerned about the cliques. Well then, how about a promotional contest! I am offering my own, my very own, much coveted slot in the popular all-star lineup to anyone who can, well let’s see, rack up the most detentions within the month. Yep, folks, that’s all it takes—misbehaving! The winner will get the benefit of many alpha-male/happily-complacent-hyena friends, and the chance to go to Friendly’s every weekend with a bunch of bimbos. The winner will get all the high-fives, low-fives, fist-pounds, chest-pounds, forehead-knocks, and hallway ass-slaps he could possibly want. The winner will even earn the love (envy) and respect (fear) and, best of all, pathetic hate (pathetic hate) of the lower cliques who they will no longer notice. The winner can get a cell phone constantly ringing with texts about weed and a girl named Jessica. The winner will get honor. The winner will get so goddamned depressed he will either (a) start publicly breastfeeding Batman action figures or (b) write silly newspaper articles pleading for expulsion. Entries start now. Good luck fuck!

To all of my friends (except for Pauly): you are not my friends. To all of my not-friends, you are my friends. Well, that just had to be said. I’ve never been one to isolate myself in the world of student royalty and you know that, you know that—and I never considered myself better than anybody (I only considered myself better than everybody) which is why I flow in and out and around all the cliques searching for warmth and finding myself, inevitably, unabashedly, the most popular (but not the most cool, alas) kid in school. I am so proud. How will you go on without me here?

If you had one message for all the cliques out there, what would it be? Oh, geeze, well, stay true to yourself—oh wait, that’s not right…stop playing these goddam roles and be a real person. And what about the administration? No comment—oh, wait, that’s not right either, ah, keep up the good work—no, no, sorry, geeze, ha, my mind is just all-a-flutter, ah okay, I’ve got it, stop treating students like brain dead ass kissing, straight-lined drones. How’s that? Not clear enough! Alright, because studies show that when you treat students like brain dead ass kissing, straight-lined drones, they become brain dead ass kissing, straight-lined drones. What study was this? I believe it was called the look-around-you study. And the hypothesis? Shove it up your ass. The hypothesis was shove it up your ass to the power of ten.

To put it in a form all you fake-academics can understand, I will now perform a five-pointed essay on why I should be expelled.

I want to be expelled. (Thesis and introduction.)

Because of the teachers. (First argument.)

Because of the kids. (Second argument.)

Because of the opportunity costs. (Third argument.)

I am an intellectually-grown-human-being who should not only be granted his wishes, but his goddamn freedom. (Conclusion.)

For math-lovers (God bless your soul and I am envious):

X = y(number of teachers + number of kids + number of missed opportunities); where Y is the coefficient of suicide. Solve for x. HINT: mass-ugliness-of-ego can be substituted for number of teachers + number of kids. Okay, fine, then get your pencils out. We are in Calc class after all and I don—oh, you’ve solved it? Well, whaddya get?  X = happiness. No. No, I’m afraid that’s not right. Check your math, son. Well, go over it again. Alright, we don’t have all day. The answer should be depression, son, depression. Okay? You see now? Alright, good. And, to complete the problem, do you know what depression is also equal to? Oh, shit. Jesus, look it up in the back of your book. It’s a stock value. No, no, in the back of your book. The back, the goddamned back. Look, forget it. It’s a stock value, a constant, and it was discovered in the eighteenth century by a Swedish proctologist after numerous experiments with caged monkeys and it is called the validity of freedom.       

But, my Princey Pal, if you’re searching for a really valid reason (without all that rational crap you hate so much) then, of course, I am forced to say, as artistically as I can, perhaps in Haiku, yes, in Haiku, a triple Haiku, I know you love Haiku:

Holding my hand tight

Little sister points at him

The man who touched me

Pink slips in the wind

Blushing hot from your ego

Find their true way home

The hallway grade fool

Sips his coffee glad until

Everyone knows all

Epilogue: Sorry about all that. My brother died, didn’t you hear?