Clements was a huge high school. Since the entire school couldn't fit in the cafeteria all at once, everyone was assigned one of three lunch times.
During my junior year I had B lunch. This was not good, because all of my close friends had C lunch. I was mad because I was supposedly entering my social prime as an upper-classman, but here I am without my crew during the all-important lunch hour.
I knew other people in B lunch. But everyone sat in their clicks and even though I was welcome to join, I didn't really want too. Probably dumb, but I decided that I'd rather spend time alone.
So I ate lunch by myself, on the floor outside the upstairs lecture hall.
It sounds pathetic, but I was very happy with my setup. My spot was quiet. I could spread out, stretch my legs out, and relax. It also overlooked the library, so I could count Asian people for fun.
Here's the deal: When you eat alone, you finish eating very fast. No talking to slow it down, no hotties or weirdos distracting you, etc.
I'd normally finish my lunch with 30 minutes left of lunch period. Now what am I to do with this free time? A normal person would probably go flirt with some cute sophomores or catch up on some homework.
But I'm Michael Conti. Normal didn't happen.
Instead, I would walk around the hallways looking for signs on the walls. You know...signs that say "Spanish Club meeting after school" or "Go Rangers Volleyball!"
I'd approach the sign and pretend like I was reading it. I'd look around to see if anyone was watching me. Since everyone was either in class or at lunch, there normally wasn't anyone around.
If all was clear, I'd physically remove the sign from the wall, turn it upside-down, and stick it back on the wall. I had a sharpie with me, and I'd mark the now upside-down sign with the letters BB.
What did BB stand for?
The Backwards Bandit.
That's right. I had a secret identity. I was the Backwards Bandit.
That year you'd walk around that school with a crooked neck. I turned and marked EVERY SINGLE SIGN in the entire school. I did not discriminate. Club signs. Sports signs. Student council signs. Don't do Drugs signs. They all got turned around and marked with my signature...the big black BB.
I was good too. I began to recognize different tape types and how to handle scotch loops on cardboard, duct tape on sheet paper, a large sign on a high wall, etc. I knew to be extra cautious and extremely quick around high-traffic areas like stairwells and bathrooms. I learned the location and walking routes of teachers with an off-period.
I was kind of like a loser Zorro.
And people noticed. Between periods I'd actually hear people talking about it. I seriously heard one girl say in frustration "Who keeps doing this??" as she flipped her soccer sign back to normal. After a few weeks, people would put up a new sign for their club and use an entire roll of duct tape in attempts to thwart the BB.
But you can't stop the best.
Instead of thinking about who I should ask to Homecoming, I was hoping I'd overheard someone say:
"Say is that JV football game tonite at 6 or 9? Fuckin Backwards Bandit got me again."
"Does that say 'Wow V-Ball!' or is someones mom going to the mall? Damn you BB!"
And I wondered why I could never get laid. Ah the life of a legend.