My high school senior Homecoming resulted in my first original one-act play — a farce.
The play, “The Play About Homecoming,” went over well with its high school audience, and my cast did great. The show brought considerable laughter to an auditorium full of teenagers. But what I and a few friends had to endure to get it…
I was very last-minute with the whole Homecoming thing. Three days before the dance, I learned one of my female friends was dateless, so I figured I’d swoop in and save the day.
She wasn’t the problem, and neither were her two best friends—but their dates left pretty much everything to be desired.
One was a 21-year-old guy who for some reason wanted to go to a high school Homecoming with a 17-year-old girl he barely knew. The other was our same age, but not our same level of hygiene, and he wore a tie-dyed shirt under some garish sportscoat.
I’ll withhold the names of the girls. They suffered enough. I don’t even remember the guys’ names at this point.
Neither fellow qualified as a gentleman. I’m not saying I was Mr. Wonderful, but I was at least Mr. Tolerable. However, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum…no.
A highlight of the dinner was when the 21-year-old decided it would be clever to attempt to resuscitate his chicken dinner. He certainly made an impression.
A moral conundrum occurred as we were leaving the restaurant, when I witnessed No-Hygiene-Guy exiting the restroom without having washed his hands. Do I tell his date? Or do I let her remain blissfully ignorant? I opted for the latter, and my date seemed to agree that was the better course of action.
So then a couple of months later, I wrote the play for my school’s annual one-act festival.
Everyone knew it was based on a true story, inevitably leading to questions of what was real and what was my own embellishment.
Such as this question, asked with a combination of dread and tentative anger: “So wait, this part about my date not washing his hands, you made that up, right?”
My date instantly distanced herself from me: “It was Daniel’s idea not to tell you!”
I lived, in case you were wondering.
Answers to the frequently asked questions included:
“Yes, I did tell my date to punch me if I ever became anything like those two guys. Yes, she agreed to.” (I’m pleased to report she never punched me.)
“No, those guys didn’t actually beat me up.” (I guess I just felt guilty on behalf of the male gender and wanted someone punch me.)
“No, we didn’t ditch them at the restaurant.” (I was writing with the benefit of hindsight. Plus, I figured making an audience spend more than a dinner with them was pushing it.)
“Yes, he really did try to resuscitate his chicken. And yes, he really was 21 years old.”
The play had no moral value or life lesson whatsoever.
But the surrounding events certainly did: When life throws a pair of bozos at you, make a play.