Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Party Never Stops

Teaching writing is far more challenging than teaching literature. With literature, a teacher has fascinating characters, engaging plots, and important themes that they can easily get behind.  English teachers, even those who are just paying the bills until they get their great American novel published, did not choose their major because they loved writing essays (or even novels). They did so because of literature.  Teaching straight, expository writing is much more challenging because it’s hard to make the writing process interesting to students.

At least I can make the topics of writing more edgy and fun when I teach my college students.  For example, when introduce the classification and analysis essay, I ask students to break up the guests of a typical House Party into different categories.  The term “guests” is a bit of an euphemism because very few people at House Parties are actually invited.  For those of you whose rebellion happened before the 21st century, House Parties, formally known as Flyer Parties (90s), formally known as Ragers (80s) occur whenever a teen’s parents have gone out of the town for the weekend and word gets out that there is an adult-free abode in which to indulge in iniquities.  Concept has been around for decades (hell, centuries) but the name has changed.

Same with those who attend.  As the students shared their categories, I learned some new labels.

For those who for the tradition of drinking:
·         The hot heads: The ones that start drinking and just want to get down. “Getting down” means to fight. I thought it was a reference to sex. In context, both definitions make sense to me.
·         Flops: People that can't handle their alcohol

The fact that no one offered a category of silly, jovial drunks makes me wonder just how much fun is to be had at House Parties.

For those who are into a little bit more than alcohol:
·         Burnouts: People who come to do drugs
·         Fiends: People that are just looking to smoke weed and just want people to smoke them out. I assume they differ from burnouts because they are cannabis-focused where burnouts will take anything.
·         The Dealer: The person that comes to make money from drug selling.
·         Ballooners: Go to party to do noz from the noz tank until they forget how to speak. This party behavior is new to me.  Apparently, if it’s a good party, then there will be a tank of nitrous oxide to take hits off of (kind of like a step-up from inhaling from helium balloons).  And yes, the goal is to become a drooling idiot.  I also pointed out that the goal is to kill off your brain cells. Permanently.

For those looking for a little tail:
·         The thirsty: people desperate to have sex.  Before submitting this category, a student asked me if I know what “being thirsty” meant. I was a little suspicious: either they think I’ve been ballooning too much or if it was too scandalous to put into spoken (or written) language. I told them I assumed that it referred to a bonafide alcoholic. I stand corrected.
·         Smashers: girls only good for sex.   
·         Outcasts: socially awkward people that show up so they could get noticed.

As a teacher and possible mentor, even to college students, I did take this opportunity to point out that these highly destructive behaviors are all ways to escape.  Those who frequent House Parties are probably suffering some sort of personal trauma or self-esteem issues.  I commented on the irony of parties becoming the stage to let all the things that are no-so-fun about us to come out.  Our social lives, which are meant to be a reprieve from stress and anxiety, are quickly becoming the fuel for more stress and anxiety.

Not sure anyone understood me. Maybe too many Ballooners in the room. Maybe I have fallen into the Party Pooper category.


  1. HA! Thanks for this. I didn't realize I had fallen into the party pooper category either. Nice to have company down here ;)

  2. I'll take party pooping and success over self esteem issues and social ostricization any day.


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