Yellow Index Cards: The Male Reproductive System


Yellow Index Cards: The O.J. Trial

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If you look closely, you can even see a tiny black glove on the TV.

Yellow Index Cards: Look at Me


So, I like Julia Stiles, but I long for the day that she is interviewed by Mr. James Lipton and he asks her to talk about this scene from 10 Things I Hate About You, the marvelous teen comedy adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

Bianca Stratford, to her older sister: “Where did you come from, Planet Loser?”
Katarina Stratford (Stiles): “What, as opposed to Planet ‘Look at me, look at me?'”

I think there is one of those girls (or maybe several) in every high school…the ones who think they’re way cooler than they actually are. Ah, teenagers.


Yellow Index Cards: Dazed & Confused

I had a hard time coming up with a title for today’s yellow index cards. This title could have applied to many people and many situations at our high school. And again, I’m not trying to name names. There are two cards today because they involve the same person, and I feel them to be…complementary.


This sketch was done to capture the utter ridiculousness of a class presentation in an advanced level biology class. This is — verbatim — the title of the presentation and the opening remarks. Also, an accurate representation of the presenter’s posture…sitting on a desk. “Just chillin’…y’all need a ride?”
Have you ever played that drinking game, “I Never?” This person’s parents never caught him with a roach clip in his gym bag. Never ever. Nuh uh. No way. No how. And yet, today he is an upstanding, responsible professional adult and even a doting parent to lovely children. Guess some people’s gateways lead to different things, huh?

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The same person depicted trying to corral fruit flies for our ubiquitous, semester-long experiment involving genetics. Oh, how I miss the noxious ear-wax smell of fly nap…the eternal restraint we learned by not clapping them dead, mashed on our palms like annoying little gnats. The guilty acquiescence to drugging small insects with sedatives.


I do, however, miss the smug pleasure of watching pot-heads try to accomplish things requiring a lot of concentration. It’s like watching a kid figure out how to tie their shoes. “Mom! Look! I DID IT! AWESOME! Now I can go ANYWHERE!”

Why do people always say they would hate to go back to high school? I’d go back today in a heartbeat. It was so much more entertaining than adulthood.

Yellow Index Cards: Duck Nappers Anonymous

Right now I’m pretty sure the look my dog is giving me is saying, “Remind me why you’re doing this again?”

“Because, Bird,” I say. “This was funny once, so it must be funny now. In fact, I just laughed out loud, and this was 13 years ago. What?”

Birdy continues to look at me quizzically, which is an expression she seems to reserve for particularly perplexing moments. At the sound of the flatbed scanner sweeping, she retreats into the other room. She would normally be at my feet and has exited to protest the futility of her life, with her head on her crossed paws. From the futile padding of her pink reclining chair. Gazing dolefully at her favorite futile play-thing.


Mrs. Robertson’s 1995-96 AP Biology class was simultaneously the most boring and the most entertaining class of my day. I was terrible at science, so I didn’t pay that much attention. But I have always been committed to finding creative forms of self-entertainment and looked forward to the 90 minutes I had every day to practice that. It’s an only-child thing.

The neighborhood kids thought there was something wrong with me because I never came outside. They knew I was in there and imagined me (they told me later) perched in my second-story dormer window, hoping emphatically I would be asked to join in.


I was more likely sprawled blissfully on the gray fox shag carpet in the living room floor, listening to Beatles records on my dad’s hi-fi with his expensive padded headphones over my miniscule ears instead of the tinny $10 Sony Walkman headphones that I owned.


Or I was digging holes under the backyard holly tree to give a proper burial to the most recent prey of my two fat orange tabby cats. (Two of the more pitiable victims were two tiny identical gray mice, who I named Eeeky and Squeeky and carved an epithet for, into the smooth green bark of the holly on its eastern side.)


Or I was perched on the smooth, flat riverstone that lay at the entrance to my mother’s pastel azalea grove on the north side of the house, writing poems and stories in a journal and imagining myself as a famous writer, imagining herself in such an idyllic spot.


Me (L), Jenny. Yes, we are still that cute. Though not nearly as tan.

My fellow only-child buddy and AP Bio lab partner, Jenny, understood this entertainment-of-oneself fascination and encouraged me to explore it during class, for her own entertainment. She aided and abetted by providing me with the very art supplies used to create this frivolous series of sketches. Jenny always had yellow index cards in her backpack. I’m not sure why. I think because she was organized enough to have index cards, but if my gut instinct is correct, she always had yellow ones because it was her least favorite color, and she used the cards in order according to color preference. Okay, really, that would be me. Jenny will have to tell us herself.


For those of you who don’t remember, this is a scene illustrating the story Mrs. Robertson told us one day prior to doing an experiment of some sort on water fowl, about how she had come to obtain the birds we were about to test. Do I remember what we were testing them for, or what the result ended up being? Of course not. I don’t even remember if they were alive or dead. We could have been testing feces or feathers or skin cells. Who knows? But because I documented it, I remember the story of the ducks’ provenance.

In the sketch, Mrs. Robertson is crouched beside the lake at Isothermal Community College, in the next town over. She is there under the cover of night, flashlight and fishing net in hand. Her car is shown parked in the one parking spot available at the lake, waving a flag that reads “Duck Nappers Anonymous.” Near the beam of her flashlight, we see a duck who is obviously freaked out, and a thought bubble by her head explains, “Heh. Heh. Heh. They just THINK I’m getting pond water!”

A second later, a diabolical afternote: “AP Biology SUCKS!”

In the distance, approaching on an access road, is a blue Nissan campus security truck, ego inflated by a flashing light supported by its roof. This type of vehicle was notorious for busting the secretive activities of high school students, whether we were trying to make out or trying to smoke pot on the college’s soccer field, which happened to be surrounded on three sides by thickly forested pine groves. (It was appropriately located on Piney Ridge Road. I like it when things like that make sense.) More than one of us carpet burned our knees in Clark Griswold station-wagons, eluding at high speed on back roads the tin-can, pseudo-po-po in our tanks with the faux-woodgrain accent trim. As if they were Homeland Security. Oh. Wait. That was before Homeland Security existed. I suppose rather than Guantanamo, we feared…not arrest (they weren’t real cops)…not our parents (they probably would have just laughed)…but perhaps embarassment, which is really one of the only things teenagers have to fear in small towns.

Anyway, when Mrs. Robertson mentioned this caper, off-handedly in the build-up to the duck experiment, Jenny and I looked at each other, and then around at our classmates, engaged in their own personal little bubbles of distraction. We shared an expression that we still share often — a sisterly acknowledgement that something is happening here that only the two of us are appreciating. This is a connection on which I still base a part of my evaluations of friendships. Nowadays Jenny lives about a mile and a half from me with her husband, in an actual city, hundreds of miles from where we grew up, and on occasion, we still share that expression. And whenever that happens, my heart just leaps with the excitement of being “in on a secret.”

Yellow Index Cards: Michelle’s Abnormally Large Boobs


When I was in high school, I took Advanced Placement Biology. My good friend Jenny was my lab partner. We were both English nerds who were terrible at science. So we spent most days doing the bare minimum for a B (which was actually an A in GPA points because it was weighted). Like I said: nerds. And drawing charicatures of people in our class. Or things that happened during class. On yellow index cards. At this late date, I can no longer remember why we were using yellow index cards. Or index cards at all, for that matter. Jen convinced me that I needed to blog the yellow index cards series, since we still get a laugh out of them 13 years later. Some of them require knowing the people they depict to appreciate the full humor. But I will try to clue you in as best I can.

This particular one was about a girl whose boobs were always just IN. YOUR. FACE. I mean, I’m sympathetic, because I have big boobs, too. But I try not to throw them around like a blue light special. This girl always seemed either oblivious to that notion or like she took great pleasure in tossing them about for us to avoid looking at. And not in a Salma Hayek kind of way (seriously, hers are huge, though). More like a Jodie Sweetin kind of way. It was not sexy. It was abnormal and dorky.

If you went to high school with me and you know who I’m talking about, let’s not name any names here, okeedokee? I know I named a name, but there are lots of people named Michelle. Like Michelle Obama, for instance. Although, I haven’t noticed anything particularly unusual about her boobs.