Mr. Blitz and Dr. Boo-yah, the Deans of Discipline at Boone High School, conspired mightily that muggy autumn to squash a pesky but potentially virulent insurrection. After all, with school just starting, ’twas the season for school administrators to exert the kind of pressure that makes diamonds out of worthless lumps of teenage coal. Missing that one pivotal opportunity, they could be forced into a humiliating retreat. They’d end up neutered and pitiful, riding around impotently in golf carts for the rest of the year, licking their wounds and plotting for another day.
There is no middle ground.
Blitz and Boo-yah had to dominate very publicly or just watch the rag-tag parade of pimples and piercings slouch by until the next school year.
The Statue Man.
Most of high school is a swirling watercourse of sometimes toxic events, including lesbian bitch-slap fights, nut job tazings, jocks and cheerleaders, atomic wedgies and tangy smoke-filled restrooms. But once in a while, in the meandering flow, an odd eddy forms and the world just arranges itself around it.
That would be The Statue Man.
An unassuming shaggy-haired white kid, he arrives at Boone football games trailed by a cadre of fans who know what he’s going to do. He is always accompanied by his cohort, The Cameraman.
He strolls to a good spot, like the grassy knoll (that’s what they call it) near the bleachers and a crowd forms around him. He smiles, assumes a random position and–
He freezes in place.
The scene unfolds under the constant intimidating faux-malevolent stares of Mr. Blitz and Dr. Boo-yah.
The Statue Man then waits until someone touches him.
Anyone who walks by is encouraged to physically re-position The Statue Man’s arms, legs, head, facial expression, or clothes to suit their whims. They sometimes add or subtract clothing or props, decorating him with found items.
He transforms in just minutes, seconds, depending upon the mob energy surrounding him: from triumphant Poseidon, with arms and gaze flung heavenward, to abject slave kneeling with his shirt pulled over his face.
He’s a life-size Gumby without the green slanted head, and his monkey-cam co-conspirator is not Pokey.
The Statue Man maintains this act of supernaturally disciplined, all-consuming performance art throughout the length of an entire football game. Unconcerned with whether it’s cool or not, or if they’ll get busted by the tight-ass parents on the PTA, the kids all make bendy poses with The Statue Man inspired by art history class, or English, or even anthropology. They form The Statue Man into Rodin’s The Thinker, for instance.
Or the Sistine God.
Or Dr. Evil.
Think long on this: adolescents inspired by art, society, cosmic metaphors, and funny movies.
And yet The Statue Man goes against everything Public High School in the United States of America has adopted as “appropriate behavior.”
A student cannot deviate from the norm by adopting disruptive behaviors or by promoting physical contact. What if someone touched him in a “bad way?” What if one of his actions offended someone’s religious/cultural/racial beliefs? What if he “shot a bird?” What if the kids got overstimulated and a fight broke out? Or a riot? Or, god help us, a LAWSUIT?
“Young man if you stand still one more time, you will be escorted from the premises.”
This was the decree issued by Blitz and Boo-yah at the conclusion of the game before Homecoming. It was all over the jungle telegraph at Boone High that Blitz and Boo-yah had suppressed The Statue Man. That they didn’t want Homecoming to be spoiled in any way by an “incident” so they nipped it hard.
This was it! The pivotal event that year to cement their dominance.
Or so they thought.
The unassuming shaggy-haired kid arrived at the Homecoming football game as expected, followed by his posse and paparazzi. Sporting a super-hero cape, he confidently took his spot on the grassy knoll and froze. Mr. Blitz and Dr. Boo-yah circled like sharks in well-chummed waters, working up the nuts to enforce their decree.
But a funny thing happened.
The Statue Man suddenly had a buddy. A kid froze right next to him and submitted to the manipulations of anyone passing by, just as The Statue Man had.
Then another joined.
A silent I AM SPARTACUS numbering more than a hundred individuals littered the grassy knoll; a standing army of Statue Men and Women.
They were not anarchist kids merely pushing back at “The Man” from some rebellious place. They had stepped over the line to assume the positions of grown-ups; men and women with opinions, causes, and, yes, passions.
Blitz and Boo-yah were at a crossroads. Little trickles of sweat ran like lizards down their cheeks. The bleachers even went quiet in the middle of the game anticipating the upcoming confrontation. The band’s tubas squealed to silence.
This was going to be good.
Blitz, with strict authority, swiftly and commandingly took the lead. Scowling, he approached The Statue Man closely, invaded his personal space for just one intimidating moment.
He brought his hands up, dug his heels into the ground for stability…
Blitz struck a pose.
The Statue Men and Women at Boone High Homecoming
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Statue Man’s Last Hurrah
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Photos and video courtesy of The Statue Man.
Thanks to The Killers and their hits “All These Things I’ve Done” and “Human.”