You guys really are obnoxious jerks.

When I was in middle school, somehow or another I fell in love with Obnoxious Jerks. Not guys who treated me poorly, but The Obnoxious Jerks (or Obnoious Jeks), a book about a group of intelligent guys who made it their goal to shake up the status quo by doing things like performing the school song badly (and on kazoo) in the school talent show, bringing a fancy meal to school one day a week for lunch (and keeping jackets in their lockers to dress up for it), serving brains at the school International Festival, and, their tour de force, the day they wore skirts to school to protest the dress code. I loved the Obnoxious Jerks. There are still several phrases in my vocabulary because of them (although I usually just say them to myself, because no one has any idea what I’m talking about).

The summer I was at Governor’s School, I hung out with a group of girls that were pretty varied. We were kind of the group that didn’t really fit in elsewhere, which was fun and stretching all at the same time. I remember one afternoon we were hanging out, talking about the disgusting cafeteria food, when Emily said, “Looks like a booger, smells like a booger, tastes like a booger . . . ” and I finished, “It’s a caper, sure it is.” We looked at each other with wide eyes of understanding, and knew our friendship was meant to be. To be honest, Emily and I were only friends for another year or so, but every time I see the book on my shelf, I think about her. She’s the only other person I knew who read it (we made some of the other girls read it that summer, but they did not love it as much as we did. It is a particularly middle school book, I think. I don’t think I ever asked Mike to read it, exactly for that reason).

I have to admit that I have always been a fan of secret clubs of friends, even to the point of trying to start my own. Several times. Maybe that’s why the idea of the Obnoxious Jerks was so appealing to me – while I never went to school with guys like that, it was nice to imagine that they existed, and that they cared enough about things to try to shake them up. It’s the kind of person I wanted to be in high school (let’s face it -I probably would have benefitted from breaking the rules a little bit more), I just couldn’t find anyone else to be an Obnoxious Jerk with me. (And then there’s the whole issue of women in the group.)

When I made the link to the title, I was particularly saddened to see that it’s not in print anymore. A huge, influential piece of my growing up, gone forever. I wrote this, in part, to point out that, while I do favor books that are more . . . girly . . . I, too, can appreciate the appeal of an Obnoxious Jerk. So much so that I started the book last night. Eldest can wait. The Obnoxious Jerks wouldn’t have that kind of patience.

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11 Comments

  1. I had friends like that in high school. I was sometimes one of them, too.

    They definitely existed at my brother’s HS, too; the image of about 60 guys wearing miniskirts when the dress code changed and banned shorts but not skirts from BHS is something I will never be able to scrub from my mind’s eye.

    Posted 1/25/2006 at | Permalink
  2. Kari

    The Obnoxious Jerks did not wear miniskirts. The dress code stated that skirts had to come to the knee.

    Posted 1/25/2006 at | Permalink
  3. mr blazer

    usually real secret clubs are just two people who are bitter about the same thing. similar to the “i hate rachel green club”. anyway that is my experience with secret clubs.

    Posted 1/25/2006 at | Permalink
  4. I want to borrow that! I’ve always liked the idea of secret clubs…

    (and your experience with Emily reminds me of when Brenna and I bonded over a quote about flan from “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”… hehehe)

    Posted 1/25/2006 at | Permalink
  5. I was in a secret club! It was the girls I walked home from elementary school with. We were called The Touchtones and our secret code names were our phone numbers backwards. When we wrote notes to each other, we would only use our code names. We were very clever. πŸ˜†

    Posted 1/25/2006 at | Permalink
  6. If you talk about your secret club, then it’s not secret anymore!

    Posted 1/26/2006 at | Permalink
  7. Kris

    Just looking to see if anyone else remembered the Obnoxious Jerks. I still love that book and I turn 25 in a couple days. Brings back great memories. My older brother read it first then passed it to me when I was in 6th grade.
    Oh also another good book about clubs is 6th grade secrets by Louis Sachar!! That was one of my favorite books about secret clubs that still has me laughing when I think about it!

    Posted 9/5/2006 at | Permalink
  8. Lauren

    I know I am posting this really late and this blog was written like two years ago but I love this book! It used to be my favorite but I don’t have a copy anymore

    Posted 4/21/2008 at | Permalink
  9. Kimi

    I loved this book too! So much so that I randomly Googled it today and found this blog post!

    Posted 9/30/2010 at | Permalink
  10. FSmith

    I’m 27 and I still have the copy I bought at a random bookstore when I was 13. I love that book!

    Posted 10/19/2011 at | Permalink
  11. Finchy

    Iam 34 yo and Iam still in a secret club, 6 other (same age) lads and myself who shared not neceserily classes but the same year group and lunchtimes and after school activities together stayed friends all the way through education, we also didnt fit in, we were not the cool kids, we are each of different backgrounds, race, inteligent levels etc, but thats what makes us work, since leaving school we have continued for all these years to stay in contact by email daily, telephone weekly and although most of us are married with kids living in different parts of the country (and a couple of us in different countries), we have been best men at each others weddings and continue to share beers when possible….. Which leeds me to… because its not always possible to all be in attendence for drinks (due to family life etc) we once a year (norm at xmas) all take a day off from work, book a private dinning room (trust me with the shenanigans we get up to, think verbal abuse to each other and the waitress, you wouldnt want to be dinning with us) and spend an afternoon enjoying the food, drink and each others company reminising the previous years lunch and the funny stories that we share from over the years… our annual lunch is called the Lunch Of Death (or LOD to us lot), just thought i’d share this as Iam very proud to still have these friend that I could count on to drop verything and be there at a time in need (and its been proven time and time again) I hope everyone who reads this also has so many great lifelong friends πŸ™‚ P.S excuse the spelling.. no time to spell check and trying to post before the boss see’s me whilst suposed to be working in my office πŸ˜‰

    Posted 6/28/2012 at | Permalink

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