Paul’s Poetry Corner:  Your Hand on my Knee
Some Thoughts On Sliding Doors: You Have Agency

All The Different Me’s: High School Paul

I went to Benson Polytechnic School (“The Nation’s Finest Technical High School” in its own estimation). It was a citywide, limited-admission high school, divided evenly between shop students and college-bound students.

If you’ve ever seen anything I made with my own hands, you know which group I was in. Or, as Mr. Lovgren, my 8th grade woodworking teacher said, when I turned in my toolbox, “What’s that supposed to be? You know you dad’s model boat won the city regatta.” The boat stood in a position of pride in his office until he died.

You needed good grades and a teacher recommendation to get into Benson. Also, you needed a penis as well as a brain. It’s co-ed now. it has also lowered admission standards.

There are advantages and disadvantages to single-sex education, as already discussed here. I made it through four years, regularly taunted for being gay (or as they put it back then, “a homo.”) by boys at Benson, and for going to “Homo High” by my grade school friends who went to Grant.

I dressed eccentrically, as already noted, regularly wearing a coat and tie to a school where a clean tee-shirt was considered formalwear. I had a handful of close friends from the radio station (KBPS) and my EE (Extra Enriched) classes (top level tracking, back in the days when there was tracking). I literally never dated, except for the woman I took to four proms: the Benson winter and senior proms, and the Madison winter and senior proms.

And of course, sports and student government to successfully pad my resume for MIT and CalTech (although Stanford rejected me, as it would my older daughter a half-century later). They weren’t just padding, of course; I loved government and tolerated football (never above JV), wrestling (varsity letter), and track (one year of discus).

Plus, people were still nice enough to invite me to parties now and then because “a party just seems better when you’re there.”


Robert E. Malchman

"It’s co-ed now, with lowered admission standards." If I were your editor, I'd tweak that sentence to remove the post-hoc, propter-hoc implication.

And admit you got involved with discus because you thought it had to do with you talking. :-)


Point taken and corrected. Thanks for the discus pun.

Sent from my iPhone

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