Living Gatsby’s legacy

Fear and loathing at Homecoming 2018.

Michael Marquess II, Cover Editor, Co-Art Editor

The night hasn’t even begun, and I’m already shaking.  We’re standing in line for the Homecoming dance. I can’t tell whether I’m shaking from the cold or the anxiousness. The thumping bass from the gym doesn’t help.

It’s jarring to see the everyday students of Bothell dressed up so formally. It’s as if we’re all different people tonight, a bunch of kids playing adults. How fitting for this year’s theme to be The Great Gatsby. The expensive suits, the pampered hair, and the monstrous party bus perfectly encapsulates the vapid American Dream.

When we finally enter the gym, the strobelights paint us blood red. The writhing crowd clumps into a single silhouette, wriggling like a seizuring slug. I can’t help but stand still and admire the horrible beauty before we plunge ourselves into the spinning thickets of flesh.

Three minutes in and I’m already sweating. The DJ screams something unintelligible into the microphone, and the crowd erupts in an inhuman squeal. Each 808 kick pierce my eardrums, deeper and deeper.

Now I’m in the bathroom, drying my hands on the paper towels. A group of seniors lean against the wall, trying to be inconspicuous, waiting for Mr. Price to leave so they can go back to billowing out cotton candy clouds. Oh well. At least the smell will cover up the B.O.

As I wedge myself back into the crowd, the music picks up a notch. It’s getting real now. No more sweet melodies for these kids, it’s time for pure techno. Feet fly off the floor. Arms lift to the sky. Sweat continues to pour. And of course, the chaperone’s look at us disappointedly, wondering where did we go wrong?

As the walls of meat press against me, I soon find the humor in all of it. We’re all expected to squeeze ourselves into expensively spoiled suits, applying touches of make-up with surgeon-like precision. Yet as soon as we hit 80db, we abandon that act, throwing it away to relinquish out true emotions into the hot air. The ASB whip us into civility with dress codes and contracts, yet act surprised when they blast trap music and see the crowd devolve into a feral grindfest. Skin on skin, breath on neck, our sweat sloshes around inside our starched collars. The music is simply background to the cries of profanity, lust, and unfiltered catharsis. What a complete mad-house.

Oh well. At least the donuts were good.

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