GETTING MORE TALE #631: The Locker Door
Before the first day of highschool even began, I had selected the posters I was going to hang up inside. For my first locker ever, at the beginning of grade nine, I chose Gene Simmons. It was a weird picture of him from the Asylum era, no makeup, and his tongue pinned to the neck of his bass by the strings. I was truly disappointed that girls found the picture repulsive and didn’t want to talk to me. I’m still proud that I was flying the Kiss flag right from day one. For some reason, I also had a picture of Mr. Mini Wheats, from a box of the same-named cereal.
Meanwhile, my best buddy Bob had something cooler. It was a poster of Bruce Dickinson, circa 1986, standing next to the giant stage Eddie from Somewhere in Time. Everybody seemed to agree that the new Blade Runner Eddie was the coolest one yet, and that poster was the envy of the hallway. When he was done with it, Bob passed the locker poster down to me. I was thrilled — so much that I used it again the next year.
Bob moved on to Samantha Fox. She took over from where Eddie and Bruce once were. “Hey, that one’s topless,” remarked the English teacher Mr. Payette as he strolled past. She was covering her modesty with her arms, but she was indeed missing her top.
In grade 10, Bob and I did something sneaky. On the first day of school, he advised me to bring an extra lock, and see if I could snag an extra, unoccupied locker. I did — right next to my own, in fact. So that year, Bob and I had this spare locker that we shared right next to mine. He had this little Nerf basketball set. You could hang a net from the locker door. We also had gotten into remote control cars. We stashed them in the spare locker and played with them during the lunch hour. We got caught by the stern science teacher, Mr. Branday. “Take this to the gym!” he shouted at us.
Branday was a weird guy. Every year, he began his science class with the same line. “Science is a tool of the mind. With it, one can open more doors than with the bare hands alone!”
Bob and I had such a good time, that year of the two lockers. A fresh succession of posters went up, although I hung onto Bruce and Eddie until it was literally falling apart. One I liked a lot was a cardboard cut out of ZZ Top’s Eliminator car, from a Monogram model kit I built. I always wanted to rig up a Walkman with a speaker in the door of that locker, but we figured if the racing cars got us in shit, music would even more.
Locker posters usually came from magazines such as Hit Parader, but it had to be a vertical poster. A horizontal one would only be good for home. A kid down the hall, Michael Wright, had a picture of a computer in his locker one year. I tended to stick to rock stars. Def Leppard went in there, and so did a rare picture of Vinnie Vincent in his Kiss makeup.
I tried to take care of my posters so I could use them again. They seemed like a big part of my identity. I brought my posters to school on the first day every year, so my locker would never be bare. Nobody but Bob seemed to get that. I always enjoyed carefully packing them up on the last day of school before summer holidays. Except for the last year of highschool, when I knew it was the very last time. There would be no more lockers. The very last locker posters were coming down, for good. I hated the feeling, the finality of it. Knowing life was about to change and almost all my old friends would be gone doing their own things. It was a…lonely feeling. The lockers were always a communal place. You’d chat with friends before or between classes. Life really felt different afterwards.
Somewhere in this house in an old video tape, of my grade 13 year circa 1990. Bob and I rented a camera one weekend, went into the unlocked school and did a tour. On that video is a detailed look at my locker posters of 1990-1991. One day I’m going to have to get a USB VCR and take a look.