High-School Senior Marvels At What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been

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Vol 37 Issue 19

Area Woman Can't Understand Concept of Suggested Donation

NEW YORK–During a Tuesday visit to the American Museum of Natural History, Omaha resident Mary Stefano, 49, struggled to understand the concept of suggested donation. "So, if the sign says $10 is the suggested donation, that means I have to pay $10, right?" Stefano asked the admission-counter cashier. "Because, if you could pay less, why wouldn't everyone pay less?" After the cashier explained that $10 is what most adults pay, but museum visitors have the option of paying more or less depending on their ability, Stefano replied, "But if I don't pay $10, I won't get to see the whole museum, right?" After another 10 minutes of queries, Stefano was escorted out of the museum by security.

Vast Array Of Lip-Balm Options Paralyzes Shopper

PLANT CITY, FL–Looking for relief for her dry, chapped lips, Walgreens shopper Danielle Liddle was paralyzed with indecision Monday upon confronting the store's vast, intimidating array of lip balms. "I just wanted some simple lip balm, and there was this entire wall," Liddle said. "Blistex, Carmex, Chap Stick, Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, Vaseline Lip Therapy, Burt's Beeswax–I didn't even know how to begin the selection process." After nearly 30 minutes of browsing, Liddle narrowed her choices down to Blistex mint, Walgreens cherry medicated, and Chap Stick Ultra SPF 30.

Supreme Court Agrees To Disagree On Abortion Issue

WASHINGTON, DC–After decades of divisive debate, the U.S. Supreme Court finally agreed to disagree Monday on the hot-button issue of abortion. "It is the opinion of this court that we could go on and on arguing about this forever," said Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the opinion in the 9-0 decision. "But in the end, that serves nobody. So, finally, we threw up our hands and said, 'Let's just agree to disagree.'" The court's ruling contains language that specifically prohibits justices from bringing up the matter again.

Man Hoping To Accidentally See Roommate's Girlfriend Naked

ATLANTA–Steve Smidlap, 23, roommate of Andy Cordova, admitted Monday that he is hoping to "accidentally" catch a glimpse of Cordova's girlfriend naked. "Every now and then, I'll just sit in the living room with the TV off and hope they think I'm in my room or out of the apartment altogether," said Smidlap, keeping an eye on the hallway between the bathroom and Cordova's room. "I think I have a decent shot of at least seeing Valerie's ass if I stay diligently to the task."

The Medical-Marijuana Ban

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that federal law does not allow a "medical necessity" exception to the ban on marijuana use. What do you think?

My Weed Connection Is Dried Up

Hola, amigos. Whaddaya say? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I've been tied up lately. Actually, I meant "pissed off," not "tied up." It's hard for me to think straight these days. It seems like every little thing is stacking up against me, like the universe has got something against your old pal Jim Anchower.

Moving-Day Tips

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China's Olympic Bid

Beijing is in competition with Toronto and Paris to host the 2008 Summer Games. What are the Chinese doing to win over the International Olympic Committee?
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High-School Senior Marvels At What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been

FREDERICK, MD–Brian "Bri" Moeller, 17, poised to graduate from Frederick West High School next month, reflected on what a long, strange trip it's been Monday while signing his fellow seniors' yearbooks.

Brian Moeller stands outside Frederick West High School, where "so much crazy stuff went down, I can't even begin to explain."

"Looking back, I can't believe how naïve I was when I first arrived here as a freshman, so many untold epochs ago, with no real understanding of what the world was like," said Moeller, pausing to take a long, contemplative sip from his Capri Sun juice pack. "Man, my eyes have been opened since then, let me tell you."

Attempting to capture the essence of his journey from freshman-year innocence to senior-year wisdom and worldliness, Moeller signed his friends' yearbooks with the phrase, "What a long strange trip it's been," a line from the song "Truckin'" by The Grateful Dead–a band he was not even aware of four years ago, but whose greatest-hits album he now owns.

"As a younger man, I'd heard those words but never truly understood them," Moeller said. "Now, after all I've seen and done, they resonate deeply within me."

Drawing a "Steal Your Face" logo on the signature page of classmate Aaron Aberg's yearbook, Moeller added: "Those innocent years of the Z-108 'Friday Top Five At Five' countdown–back in, what, '97? '98?–they're so far behind me now."

Gathered with friends on a bench near the spot where the bus driver used to pick them up after school, back in the days before they had driver's licenses, Moeller and his friends reflected on how far they'd come.

"The cafeteria–can you believe we actually used to eat lunch there?" said Michelle Benson, 17. "God, I feel so bad for all the little freshmen and sophomores too young to drive to Stella's [Pizza]."

"Remember how everybody thought Janelle was going to be B.F.F. [Best Friends Forever] with Andrea, but she ended up being B.F.F. with Stephanie instead?" Renee Marks chimed in. "We were so young back then... so foolish and young."

Messages from friends in senior's high-school yearbook.

His face growing pensive, Moeller mused on some of the many experiences he and his friends shared during their years at West, including that time they endured two whole hours with no electricity when the school's power went out; the time the school janitor lost his temper and yelled, exposing them to the harsh realities of working-class existence; and the time they confronted, head-on, the disturbing truths of modern urban life during a class trip to Chicago to see a touring production of Rent.

"I'll never forget my long talks with Gina, the foreign-exchange student, junior year," said Brett Kogan, Moeller's best friend. "I learned so much from her. Up until then, I'd never realized there were no Hardee's in Italy."

"Of course, we're older and wiser now," said Moeller, wistfully touching the Dave Matthews Band patch he placed on his bookbag last year. "After that crazy weekend at Matt's dad's cabin last fall, I doubt anything could faze me."

Though the years offered more than their share of good times, Moeller noted that it was not always wine and roses. There was the time he left his term paper in the breakfast nook and had to call his mother to have her drop it off at school, mere hours before it was due. There were those long student-council meetings that were "a living hell." And there was the hard-earned lesson gained from the time he went to Jeff Rossum's party instead of studying for the following day's algebra midterm and wound up flunking the test.

"At the time, that really seemed like the end of the world," Moeller told Julie Duchamp, with whom he bonded during Mr. Kannenberg's second-period algebra class, becoming "so unbelievably close" in the process. "But now, after coming through the other side, I know that whatever doesn't kill me only makes me stronger."

Moeller said he cannot believe how much happened during his long and storied time at West.

"After graduating from eighth grade, I was thinking, 'Okay, I'm in high school now,'" Moeller said. "I thought I knew everything there was to know. But I was wrong, so wrong. Over the last eight semesters, I've seen it all: Kristin and Justin's soul-shattering breakup, the tragic futility of drunk driving portrayed at that one school assembly with the gruesome slide show, the true bonds that form among brothers in arms as they face unthinkable odds at State Debate."

"Four years ago, I was but a boy. But now, I am a man," Moeller said. "It's a sad and beautiful world." He then went home to eat Fruit Roll-Ups in the den while watching MTV.

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