One of the great goals of mankind is to be in the in crowd. The kids at play groups jockey to play with the "in" kids. In the workplace, we all know what the true hierarchy is, and it is not based on job titles. In the nursing home, the oldsters want to sit at the "in" table at lunch. And so it is in high school.
High school is the home of cliques, crowds, in groups, out groups, the nerds, the band kids, the drama kids, the ethnic kids, and so on. There were the clean cut kids who would end up with good educations and nice homes and SUV's. There were the juvenile delinquents who would later spend time in jail and end up working on the docks or sweeping up a bar.
One of the gifts of the sixties is that kids who had no hope of being popular in the existing crowds of yore had a chance of getting into a new crowd, a hip crowd, or in my case, the crowd of hip intellectuals. Being a hip intellectual in high school never would get one elected into the student council or date a cheerleader, but it at least allowed one to be in a group and even have a Jewish girlfriend.
My entree into being part of the hip intellectual crowd was a new club in high school, called the Philosophy club. A freewheeling discussion group, you listened to people talk about the Vietnam war, WBAI, Paul Krazner, Wavy Gravy, Andy Warhol movies, the Fugs, drug laws, rumour about pop stars, all while belonging to an academically sanctioned club. We had a young hip teacher who flirted with the chestier seniors in the class. Later the Philosophy club could lead to involvement with high school underground newspapers.
editor's note: To be continued