Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Day I Got Showered -- Almost

Since there seems to be a story crossing the blogosphere about an Orthodox high school in which a scared freshman was hazed, I'll share my own story. When I was a freshman in high school, it was not uncommon for upperclassmen to grab freshmen and throw them -- screaming and shouting -- into the locker room shower and soak them and their clothes. The freshman would then have to go to classes for the rest of the day in various stages of wetness and drying off. If you remember the awkwardness of being a high school freshman, especially for Jewish kids who are in a big school for the first time, that is quite tortuous.

Once, and only once, two seniors grabbed me, lifted me up and carried me horizontally, screaming, to the locker room. They took me in through the bathroom and as they were carrying me in -- still screaming -- another senior walked by and non-chalantly said, "Do you know whose brother that is?" My sister, at the time a senior, was quite popular, particularly among the type of guy who would throw a freshman into the shower. It was her popularity that saved me that day from getting showered (it also got me some free pizza every once in a while, but that's another story). Some of my classmates, though, were not fortunate enough to have a cool older sibling in the school and ended up wet.

I guess my point is, these things happen. You get over them and life goes on. I don't remember who the guys were who grabbed me, but I'd be willing to bet that they've matured and turned into productive members of the Jewish community.

UPDATE: To clarify, is it wrong? Of course! Does it represent bad midos? Without a doubt. Should whoever do it be punished, if possible? Certainly. Is it the worst thing in the world? No. Is it a condemnation of a school or a community? No. It happens in plenty of places. My father-in-law's famous black hat yeshivah had fistfights every day. Teenagers are rowdy, self-centered, obnoxious and often cruel. If it was in my power, I'd make it illegal to be a teenager. But until that time, that's life folks. Welcome to the real world.

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