“High school is organized into concentric circles of despair and Sisyphean drudgery which align quite nicely with the Nine Circles of Hell our friend and eternal optimist Dante Alighieri described so fully,” writes Ms. Cornelius on A Shrewdness of Apes.
Circle 5 (The River Styx, the Wrathful and the Sullen) is for the seniors. Some plan to drop their honors classes and coast as soon as their college applications are mailed. Others swore they’d never go to college or trade school, but they’re slowly wising up.
. . . after antagonizing Mom and Dad for the last six years, what with the brushes with the law and the suspensions and the phone calls from school and the poor grades, their parents are COUNTING the days until they can tell their offspring that their bedroom has become an exercise room, and seven bucks an hour at TWO part time jobs at fast food joints minus something called FICA and social security will get them a run-down one bedroom apartment with three roommates, rides to work on a bus, peanut butter sandwiches, no vacations EVER– much less three months in a row off, no health care, and tennis shoes from K-Mart, not Foot Locker. No bling, no phat threads, and no pimpin’ any rides. Suddenly four years of sitting in a classroom listening to someone drone on and on about 18th century British literature or the principles of accounting doesn’t sound nearly as stupefying as fifty years of soul-destroying repetitive labor where you come home at the end of the day with the smell of fried food permeating even your HAIR, which you now have to get cut at Great Clips four times a year.
Circle 8 (Malebolge, The Fraudulent) is for counselors and administrators. They may be panderers, flatterers, simoniacs, hypocrites or sowers of discord, scandal and schism who spend their time gossiping and “think that teachers are all incompetent, hyperbolic, child-hating misanthropes.”
Ms Cornelius is having trouble handling the loss of Daylight Savings Time.