The Unbearable Banishment: The consummate late bloomer

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The consummate late bloomer

This weekend I attended the annual Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America book fair at the Park Avenue Armory. Mama mia what a bunch of great books! Row after row of booths containing the rarest of the rare from all over the world. Spectacular copies in perfect condition. I handled a book that dated back to the 14th century. I swooned. The prices are astronomical. I never go to the book fair to buy, but I have to look. It's like porn for book collectors.

There are always a few oddities that fall outside the parameters of book collecting. One year, someone was selling Hemingway's typewriter. Another year, it was Jack Kerouac's bluejeans. This year I was surprised to see Bruce Springsteen's high school yearbook. It has nothing whatsoever to do with rare books or music. Who would want such a thing? And check out the price!

Three grand is a lot of money. Personally, I don't think it's worth that much but collecting anything is a subjective passion and not open to judgment by others. Take a look at this goofy photo. Let's face it, ALL of out high school photos are goofy in retrospect.

As I was prepping these photos, I noticed something. Scroll back to the first photo and look at the list of accomplishments under the portraits. Each has a healthy paragraph of activities. Now look at the list of accomplishments under Bruce. Nothing. Clearly, Bruce did not participate in high school in any meaningful way. But he ended up doing pretty well for himself, don't you think? He was a late bloomer. Obviously, I'm not making any comparisons here so don't roll your eyes, but I was a high school loser/never made it with the ladies. Like Bruce, I didn't go to college, either. But things turned out sort-of okay for me. Not Bruce-okay. But okay in my small way. It just takes some of us longer.


Anonymous dinahmow said...

Oh, I'd say you're doing OK! A lot of that "when I graduate I want to..." stardust turns to dross.
And many of us learn a helluva lot more from living than being in a school room reading about it.
You handled a book HOW OLD? Swoon, indeed.

April 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

what dinahmow said, sugarpie! you turned out just fine! by the by, do you happen to have a copy of your graduation photo? i don't have my yearbook, but i recently found my pic! xoxoxoxx

(i LOVE the idea of holding a book that was PRINTED in the 14th century!)

April 15, 2012 at 8:46 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

sexiest underbite in rock and roll. i'd have hit that. and still would... grrr....

high school - as traumatic as it seemed at the time - was nothing compared to some of the muck i've navigated since. the things i was most proud of in my high school time? would have never made the yearbook.

standing up to some jock bullies on behalf of a gay kid. making it through all four years despite aggressive self-medication. no arrests.

April 15, 2012 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

dinah: Dross is an excellent word. I'm going to add it to my arsenal. The book cost 4 million pounds. No kidding!

Sav: Yes, I have my high school yearbook. I had a massive, bushy head of hair. It looked like shrubbery. I will never, ever post it. My self esteem couldn't handle it.

Daisy: High school wasn't necessarily bad for me. It was just so empty and unportant. I passed through pretty much ignored. It could have been a lot worse, I suppose.

April 15, 2012 at 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Sid said...

High School ugh. Didn't have any traumatic expresses. I wasn't bullied. But I didn't want to be there. It was boring as hell. Felt trapped in the classroom.

Thank heavens university was an improvement.

April 16, 2012 at 4:24 AM  
Anonymous Sid said...

Side note: Thinking about it now. I should have brought a book or crossword puzzle to class. Would have made it more bearable.

April 16, 2012 at 4:25 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

We didn't have yearbooks when I went to school in New Zealand.

April 16, 2012 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger Nimpipi said...

I love Bruce. And you. And you for posting this. It's just what I needed, some sort of validation. And you're doing great! :)

It just takes some of us longer.

Amen to THAT.

April 16, 2012 at 5:43 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

I wonder how one could be sure that they really were Kerouac's jeans?
How clever of Bruce not to get his teeth fixed.
How boring life would be if we all- like sheep - followed the path of school, Uni, good job.

April 16, 2012 at 6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We never had (nor still don't) have yearbooks here either. If we did, I think I'd see it as a badge of honour to lack a bio. Who wants to succeed in a school's terms?

My Fiona got a certificate last term for having 100% attendance last year. She was completely uninterested in it and put it straight into the recycling.

April 16, 2012 at 6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er... some people I suppose. School generally just didn't interest me.

April 16, 2012 at 6:56 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sid: Same for me. Nobody picked on me. I suppose that would have been worse. But being an invisible failure was no joy ride, either.

nurse: You're probably better of. Thumbing through mine is no pleasant trip down memory lane.

Nimpipi: You are pretty much the LAST person who I think would need validation. You're an actual writer, for cryin' out loud. The rest of us are just pretending.

Pat: And Hemingway's typewriter! How is one to know for sure?! At least with a rare first edition, you know exactly what you're getting.

looby: I still wish I had had better grades and went to college. Finding work without a degree is a tough, tough slog.

April 16, 2012 at 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the right price I can produce your year book picture-or the one of you sitting on the swing set spiting our watermelon seeds. Just in case anyone is really that curious.
The best sister ever! MT

April 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

@MT - i think we should start a bidding war! Those of us in the blogosphere can collect cash and offer you a fair price for the picture, and your darling brother could offer to out bid us to prevent release of said picture...

April 16, 2012 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

MT + Daisy: I can see the sisterhood is strong against me. Beware! You don't want to be the recipient of my wrath. Cross my vanity at your own peril.

April 16, 2012 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Hey, we just did 'Jersey Girl' at tonight's practise. Only got to see Bruce once, 2 years ago in Dublin. THE best gig I've ever been to.

As for late bloomers, I'm still holding out! Never give up!

Have a good week my friend. :¬)

April 16, 2012 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger tennysoneehemingway said...

Amen brother, amen

April 16, 2012 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

map: Fun fact: Jersey Girl, a fantastic song, is NOT by Bruce, although he popularized it. It's by Tom Waits. True!

Hem: The brotherhood is strong, too.

April 16, 2012 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

My friend, I was a TW fan long before I heard of Bruce! :¬)

April 17, 2012 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

map: Honestly, what was I thinking? I should have known. Waits really does have the goods, doesn't he? In many ways, even more so than Bruce.

April 17, 2012 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

I'm very pleased that we didn't have year books... or a Prom dance thingy.
We had a big photograph and a knees up instead.

April 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

I am going to have to send this link to one of my blogging buddies. She attended the same HS with Bruce and may have this year book! (confession, I have all mine) She will swoon to know what some "collectors" will pay. reading your bio made my smile. My brother, from Central KY, made his way to NYC and no amount of begging or threatening will make him return home for longer than a few months. What's in that water? lol (I know, I know).

April 18, 2012 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Scarlet: I couldn't go to my prom because I was TOO BROKE to pay for all the accouterments. I've been psychologically damaged ever since.

Not really.

alpha: This place isn't for everyone, that's for sure. Some hate it right from the start. Others last about five years (that was my wife). The psychologically damaged among us (see above) can settle here for life. There's no real explanation for our behavior. And, by the way, $3K was the ASKING price for that yearbook. I seriously doubt anyone bought it. Certainly not at that price.

April 18, 2012 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Eryl said...

You get to go to the best events; a 14th century book? Gosh. You're definitely doing ok.

April 18, 2012 at 7:01 PM  
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