Notes for Writers of Alma Maters

I graduated from Warner Robins High School (Go Demons!). Our alma mater probably looked a lot like your alma mater:
 On the city’s eastern border,
Led by God’s great hand,
Proudly stands our alma mater,
Dearest in the land.
We will ever sing thee praises,
Striving without fail.
Here’s to thee, our alma mater–
Robins High all hail!

 I’ve always felt that Warner Robins High School, the institution of learning where I first encountered Paradise Lost, The Canterbury Tales, and polynomials, deserved a better alma mater–though I suspect it’s close to the median for this sort of thing. Literary standards for alma maters are pretty low.

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“I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all.”

When I was in high school, Bon Jovi had song called “Wanted Dead or Alive.” I’m sure you know it: “I’m a cowboy. On a steel horse I ride…”

Even when I was seventeen years old and spang in the middle of the target demographic, that claim always struck me as odd: Jon Bon Jovi, this Jersey boy with enormous, teased hair, announces that he’s a cowboy. It seems to me a person should have to choose: you can either be the front man for New Jersey’s greatest glam rock band, or you can be a cowboy, but you can’t be both. 

But that’s not even the most remarkable claim in this remarkable song. In the last verse, Jon Bon Jovi sings,

I’ve seen a million faces,
And I’ve rocked them all.

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