The Old White Boys Club
I was running late, since traffic was horrific. There was still plenty of time to relax before the opening pitch, but I wanted to chum it up with my uncle before game time. Originally, it was supposed to be my grandparents and I, but my grandmother fell down the stairs and wouldn’t have been able to make it, let alone feel comfortable in public, so the tickets had been passed on to my uncle. He was smiling and waving when I walked through the door of the restaurant.
This was an odd event. It wasn’t odd because my uncle was smiling and waving when he had to go take care of family issues, but that I was at this event, and yes, it was an event. The entire outing to see the Red Sox play the Rockies was organized an school I attended for seventh and eighth grade, and I wasn’t sure I’d know anyone or even care to know anyone, since it wasn’t exactly my fondest memories. Cardigan Mountain School was supposed to be my shining light in a world of darkness; a bright beacon that would lead me out of the depths of slackerdom. Needless to say, I learned a lot while there, not one iota of which took me away from my apathetic ways.
Cardigan is an all boys boarding school located in the beauteous backwoods of New Hampshire in a little town called Canaan. I would say that Canaan is a one horse town, but it was so small, it couldn’t sustain more than half a horse. The nearest bastion of civilization is a 30 minute walk to the town square and the corner store. The closest town with something worth doing is a 45 minute drive. It was an exile into an all male world of budding testosterone and childish clics. The two hundred some-odd sexually-frustrated, adolescent boys who attend each year are a combination of social screw-ups in need of discipline, snotty rich boys building their white boy networks, scholarship kids there to take in a better education and environment, and upper-middle class kids whose parents believed the education was better at a reputable private school. I fell into this last category.
I know now that being there was a good experience, but it was hard to say that until my senior year of high school. I entered the school as “a bright young man with unfulfilled potential and a penchant for ignoring his work.” I left it as a socially stunted, morally twisted bastard who knew how to get away with things and remain under the radar. Cardigan introduced me to drugs and alcohol; to sneaking into the woods to smoke and hang out; to committing crimes without being caught; to stealing… I mean borrowing goods we were interested in; to subtle practical jokes and devious ploys to injure someone’s pride or body. As in the real world, a collection of rich white boys is the bastion of deviance in its most common form. Half the boys there know they wouldn’t get kicked out because of their parents money, and the other half didn’t care if they did. Of course, not every child was evil like that. Some were merely the targets instead of the perpetrators.
My uncle smiled, shook my hand, gave me a hug, and told me he wouldn’t be staying for the game. My cousin was having some issues, and that took precedence. We chat for a little, and he introduces me to Courtney. Courtney is Cardigan’s Alumni Liaison. I certainly wouldn’t have minded having a liaison with her. But that’s besides the point. Looking around, there were 20 or so people, all white (or tanned white), mostly male, and all well-to-do. I was in the midst of an old white boys club.
When I say old white boys club, I don’t mean the KKK or another racist and power hungry organization. I’m talking like the skulls; the “secret” organization that both Bush and Kerry belong to; the brotherhood that’s birthed more of this century’s presidents, senators, and political hobnobs than I can count; the white boys club responsible for getting people into Harvard, Yale, and other Ivies and making sure they graduate even when they don’t deserve it. Cardigan is a school for the rich and well-to-do, and I somehow got taken along for the ride.
Here I was, a poor college student in the midst of a living bank vault; a Marxist idealist surrounding by my capitalist oppressors as they networked for the futures of their empires; a kike covering his crotch in the middle of a camp of aryan pursuers. I was someplace I did not belong. My grandparents paid for my tickets, but there was free food and beer paid for by the school and by people showing off their checkbooks. I wasn’t about to turn down a free ride on the white boy express.
It’s not a bad thing, having money, being white, and networking. These people were there to make their and their children’s lives better. It’s a fact of life that people do what they have to to get ahead, and I can’t hold that against them. These were people that, morally, I should’ve distrusted and disliked, and who should’ve distrusted and disliked me. But I was in. I had been to their school and abused their policies and took advantage of people like them; people whose idea of culture was art in a museum, far away from the minority artist. But the worst part was, I enjoyed being there, with them, on their tab.
We sat in the club level, where waiters come around and deliver your stadium snacks to your seat. The clientèle were primarily white, most dressed nicely. The only thing that could’ve made it more of a white boys club would’ve been a private suite, strippers, and a cross burning. I was going to scalp my two extra tickets, but Courtney, much to my amusement, convinced another young gentleman to fence the extras for all of us (my total profit, $86). I was there for baseball, not the camaraderie, and it was worth. The Red Sox lost, I got lots of free stuff and made some money.
Still, I’m unsure if I should feel guilty for brazenly enjoying something seemingly so wrong.