THEY'RE NOT CELEBRITIES. THEY WALK PAST YOU ON THE STREET, BRING YOU YOUR FOOD AT A RESTAURANT, AND LIVE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. THEY'RE EVERYDAY PEOPLE. JUST LIKE YOU.
MARCH 2004: BECCA MARCUS
SHE'S A HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR. SHE'S 17. SHE'S HOT. AND SHE'S FPHATTY'S SISTER. TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT THE SUBURBS CAN BREED.
Fphatty: What are you doing?
Becca: Finishing up some homework.
F: Can we do the interview now?
F: I want you to do it under a different name so you're comfortable, and that way you can say whatever you want.
F: To give people an idea of your surroundings, describe the community you live in.
B: Ha! Well, Upper Arlington (U.A.) is a typical suburban, rich, white community. It's a bubble. Good school district, soccer moms, and teenagers drinking in their parents' basement. Everyone thinks it's sparkly white, but,.. eh. It's the epitome of stereotypes, if that makes sense.
F: Yeah. So, do you think the community only puts forth a perfect appearance, but is just as or more fucked up than anywhere else?
B: Well, because I live here, I wouldn't necessarily know about other communities, except for other surrounding suburbs. But, for the most part, I would agree. For example, Bexley and U.A. are very similar, but U.A. gets a lot more shit.
B: Because: Upper Arlington. The name itself is snobby.
F: Do they exemplify the rich white stereotype?
B: The higher-ups sometimes do exemplify the snobby stereotypes. The Upper Arlington school system is forever striving to be the best at everything.
F: Do you think they actually approach perfection, or is it all just appearances?
B: Because it's a wealthy community, many people get caught up in the "bubble" and the hype. But I do think we're a successful community.
F: Successful how?
B: As far as academics go. Other than that, I don't think we're significantly "better" than anyone else. It's frustrating, because there are kids and parents who are bitchy snobs, but there are also a lot of people who aren't, so it's very hard to bypass the U.A. "title" wherever you go. At least, it is for teenagers.
F: Would you choose a suburb to raise your kids in, or have they given you a bad taste?
B: All of this talk has been about the "it" pretty boy, lacrosse studs, beach blondes, artificial tans, and eating disorders that infest the school system. I would raise kids here, because it teaches a good lesson.
B: U.A. is definitely a good place to raise children, as long as you raise them right.
F: I've never heard that take on it before.
B: Well, I'm glad I grew up here. Because of certain opportunities I have had, I feel I am well-rounded enough to be from here and live successfully. If that makes sense.
F: Yeah, it does.
B: I mean, there are both ends of the spectrum.
F: So you would raise kids there because it's safe, but make sure to teach them to be smart?
B: No one wants to live in dangerous, trashy neighborhoods. But it's also a threat to live in wealthier ones. There are pros and cons to both kinds of communities. I think how you turn out depends on your family. Or at least how you're raised.
F: Do you feel your family enabled you to embrace diversity? To be accepting?
B: Not necessarily that, but my family definitely helped in making me a good person. Which, therefore, made me more adaptable to other situations,.. or at least not a total snob.
F: So you think it's more the family than the community that teaches kids biases?
B: I think a family can try to teach open-mindedness. But I also think actually experiencing other environments and situations is the best way to decide on your personal position. That's the way it is for me, at least.
F: So maybe the suburbs aren't the best place to be raised. They're kind of lacking diverse situations.
B: Yeah. I have to be places where I'm outside of my comfort zone and get defensive, so I feel like I'm experiencing the real world. Or else,...
F: Or else what?
B: Or else all I know is meaningless words: "Don't be racist. Don't be snobby. Not everyone is as lucky as you." Those things don't mean anything unless you've experienced the contrast firsthand.
F: Why not? Don't you think there are things you can learn from stories and history books?
B: No. Or at least, I can't. All of my life I thought I was decently accepting and not judgmental, and blah, blah, blah. But until I actually got out there and was put face-to-face with other school districts, I really had no idea. If you're sheltered from the bad-- much like U.A. is-- then you miss out. You miss out on all of the complexities of the real world. It's not perfect, but it's not supposed to be. It teaches appreciation and hard work.
F: Speaking of hard work and appreciation, do you have any idea of what your friends' parents' income is? To set a tone for where you live.
B: I really don't know. I guess I'd say most people range from $75,000 to $700,000. I don't know, for sure. I don't have a concept of such things.
F: How about your friends? What percentage of them have jobs?
B: Do you mean my real friends? Like people who would take a bullet for me, or just general people who would be at a party with me?
F: Uh,.. both. Talk away,...
B: Well, my closest girl friends have jobs. I have several guy friends who have jobs also, but, at the same time, I know many who don't. I'd say the majority of people at school don't. And if they do, it's just for extra money. I know a few people who have a job because it's fairly essential to their comfortable lifestyle.
F: Is that why you have one?
B: Yes. Wait,.. no. It's for extra money, because I'm an expensive person.
F: Would you even have one if you didn't want extra cash?
B: Probably not. But I do think it's important.
B: Because it helps teach responsibility. I see no cons to it, unless you have no time for one.
F: What do you need that for?
B: What are you? I've never known anyone to ask why you need responsibility.
F: Sorry. I'm asking because a lot of people say jobs teach responsibility, but they never go into what they mean by "responsible", or in what way it's important.
B: Good point. Well, you need it to grow up; to be a person who cares about more than yourself. It helps you to learn to manage your life, and blah, blah, blah.
F: I know. In college it seemed a lot easier for people who had jobs in high school to adapt to managing their money and paying bills.
B: Well, my job at the library, I don't think it's going to help me at all when it comes to knowing how to pay bills or anything like that. I just think it's a good responsibility to have. I know plenty of people who have jobs that help them in that sort of way. Mine just isn't one of them.
F: What do your peers spend their money on?
B: Food, clothes, CDs, DVDs, alcohol, drugs, movies, concerts, gas.
F: Do they spend their parents' money on drugs, alcohol, and all of that "bad" shit?
F: I think that's funny. It makes me think of an '80s teen coming of age movie. Do you or anyone have savings?
B: Yep. A lot of people do.
F: Do you know what for?
B: They're created by them or their parents, because money is important.
F: For a life savings or college?
B: Both. Mostly college, I'd say. It's the "key".
B: Money is the key to many things. Obviously. So people take it seriously.
F: True enough. Do you know how big your class is?
B: Well, the school is about 2,500, so each class is,.. 700, maybe?
F: Oh, you're smart!
B: You're cute.
F: Do you know who your valedictorian is yet?
B: I think so.
F: Do you know their GPA?
B: Ugh,.. probably something disgusting. Like 4.5 or something. That's another crazy thing. In order to be in the top half of our class, you need a 3.6, I think. That's disgusting.
F: What's yours?
B: 110-ish. Top 25%-ish. Buncha "-ish's". I think things have changed a little since I last checked.
F: Do you think people are more concerned with the size of a scholarship they get, or just getting into a school, period?
B: Both, I think. It's just ridiculous. The bar keeps being raised in our school, especially with the new international baccalaureate system. It's killing adolescence.
F: I was going to ask you about that next. But first, what's the international thing?
B: It's higher than a college credit. If you take the whole program all four years, then you get a little certificate, and I think you can skip your freshman year of college.
F: That's nuts! Do you think people are losing the social lessons they should be learning because they're too busy doing homework?
B: Yes! All work, no play. It's sick. It's like, if you're not taking all A.P. (Advanced Placement) classes, you are a slacker; and if you get more than five hours of sleep, you're lucky.
F: Well, those people are losers! (laughs)
F: It'll be interesting to see all of these people graduate college as super-geniuses, but they won't know how to interact with a dog, let alone other humans.
B: Yeah. Well, that's life.
F: But does it have to be?
B: (laughs) I don't know. No. Yes. I don't know. Be more specific.
F: Do you think that's a good and healthy way for the human race to be? All book smarts, no people smarts.
B: Not at all. I think human smarts are much better. Because,.. oy. Too many reasons.
F: You said enough.
F: Unless you want to say more.
B: That's okay.
F: Do you know anyone who isn't going to college?
B: Some people are getting jobs or not going to college proper-- more like institutey type things. Some people are taking time off first. Something like 93% of people I know are going to college.
F: Did you say "institutey"?
F: Like asylums? (laughs)
B: No! (laughs) Like a "School Of Fill In The Blank". To get a license or something; it's school, but not "college".
F: Is anyone going into the military?
B: I don't think I know anyone, but I'm sure people are.
F: What are your friends' thoughts on that?
B: Scary. Sorta unreal.
F: Like how?
B: Unnecessary. It's like going someplace voluntarily that could kill you. If that makes sense. It's just very different. Very drastic, very honorable.
F: Are people your age supportive of the military?
B: Yes. I think for the most part.
F: Interesting. They're all, as far as you can tell, gung-ho about how the government is behaving? Do they support the country's actions of late?
B: (laughs) No! I guess most of my friends hate Bush with a passion.
F: How about their parents?
B: I don't know. I do know there are a lot of Republican people here; it just so happens that I don't hang out with them. I think a lot of kids go by what their parents think.
F: Do you have an idea of what the general feeling is about the government?
B: I guess. Bush is a moron. That's what I hear most often. But even a lot of those people are anti-Middle East. I hear a lot about how everyone hates the President and the war, but I think there are probably plenty of people in U.A. who are so pro-America that they will go along with whatever seems best for us. I guess I would say that the opinions are mixed.
F: Okay. Does it seem to be an important subject to people? Do they talk, think, and learn a lot about politics?
B: When we say "people" from now on, are we speaking about the community, or Americans in general?
F: I'm talking about kids your age in your community. Sorry, good question.
B: Okay, just checking. I think people pretend it's important to them. But when it comes down to it, it's just something to argue about or make fun of. Entertainment. I don't think the majority of people really honestly care about or even know about what they're talking about.
F: How are you doing? I feel like I have a lot more questions, but we've already talked a lot.
B: I'm good. Not ready to go to bed yet, and I don't know what else I would do. So, yep, keep going.
F: Anything you want to bring up?
B: Nope. You go.
F: Back to the college thing. This sounds like a dumb question, but why are you going to go to college?
B: Because that's what you're supposed to do. That's what's expected, and how you don't "fail" in life. Plus, you get a better job if you go.
F: Do you want to learn about stuff, or is it purely what you just mentioned?
B: I want to learn. But I never stopped to think that I had a choice to go to college or not go. It's automatic. Honestly, what's the point in staying in school past 16 if you're not going to go to college?
F: What do you want to learn about?
B: My interests are psychology, philosophy, religion, and art history.
F: Do you expect those interests to hold up? Or do you expect yourself to do a 180 and end up with a degree in physical education, or something like that?
B: I don't expect to, because those are the only things in the world I really find interesting. But, you never know.
F: Yep. You're going to Ohio University next Fall. Why did you choose that school?
B: Because it's safe.
F: Safe how?
B: It's close to home, a lot of people I know are going there, it's a good school, it's pretty, and it's affordable.
F: What do you expect to get out of college, socially and/or educationally?
B: I expect to come out a much smarter, better person. I can't really be more specific than that.
F: How do you feel you need to grow as a person?
B: I think there are a lot of things. No one is perfect, obviously. I just want to be "all that I can be".
F: Yikes. Are you nervous?
B: About school? Definitely.
F: Why? About what?
B: I don't like change. I'm easily intimidated.
[Some sisterly razing goes on about nothing readers would be interested in. Becca makes fun of Fphatty, and she's made to look like the fool! Then Fphatty gives Becca what for, and they both end up confused and humiliated.]
B: Come on, man. Gimme a break!
F: Can you sing the theme song to that? Gimme A Break?
B: What's that? No.
F: Do you know who Mr. Drummond is?
B: Sounds vaguely familiar, but, no.
F: Arnold? Willis?
B: I guess not. No.
F: How about Orko?
B: For some reason, this is pissing me off.
B: I'll cut you.
F: Can you tell me the way to Eternia?
B: You're going to Hell.
F: That's obvious. Those are all things from the '80s.
B: Yeah. I wasn't a big girl then.
F: I'm trying to gauge how young you are.
F: Is everything you know about the '80s from I Love The '80s?
F: Then what do you think of when I say "The '80s"?
B: It's like Hell threw up on itself.
F: (laughs) You made me laugh my balls off!
B: Bad clothes, makeup, a lot of bad music, just bad, bad, bad. There are a few okay things.
F: Bad, like the Michael Jackson album?
B: He was good in the '80s.
F: And then?
B: Now he's freaky weird. And I don't like the new music. Only in America can a black man become a white women.
B: Thank you.
F: So, how about that Super Bowl tit? Are you offended or amused?
B: I don't care. At all. At all. I wasn't shocked or offended. I just don't care.
F: What do you think about the FCC freaking out?
B: They can do what they want. I don't care.
F: Do you think people need protection from body parts and sex and cussing?
B: They aren't protecting me, just little children. So, I don't know.
F: But they are affecting you. They're limiting what you can watch, buy, and say.
B: I mean, I don't think that if you swear, have sex, watch violent movies, play bloody video games, and listen to Eminem you are a bad person by any means. But I'm not going to say that five-year-olds should be exposed to all of that.
F: Why not? Just to ask.
B: I can't say that I know where to draw the line,.. but, yeah. I guess to preserve innocence. I don't know. I can't speak without referring to popular morals.
F: Okay. So, this is almost my last question. What's it like to be hot?
B: Nothing like you!
B: (laughs) I love you.
F: Yes. But, yeah, you're pretty cute. It's not a secret. What's it like?
F: Is it a bother? Do you get any special treatment?
B: (laughs) No special treatment. I feel weird.
F: I figured you would. But, don't you get discounts or anything like that?
B: Well, I've gotten free stuff. But I think it's purely because I have a vagina.
F: (laughs) Well, I hate to tell you this, but it's true: you do have a vagina.
B: So, Fphatty, what's it like having a penis?
F: It's alright, since it's detachable.
B: Do the boys make fun of you?
F: No. It comes in handy for picking locks and stuff like that.
B: That's one tiny penis.
F: I got it from Debbie. Let's move on. My very last question is, do dogs have lips?
B: That's a stupid question. (laughs) Yet,.. clever. I don't know. Damn!
F: See, I don't think they do. I heard a vet say once that they don't have real lips because they don't have muscles in them like we do. They can't drink through a straw, because they have no lips to form a seal.
B: I have a comeback.
F: Do it!
B: You have lips, so I guess the answer is yes. (laughs) Boo-ya!
F: Goodbye. You're dead to me. Actually, I think I respect you more.