McCallie Society

Ladies in Waiting

As was stated previously, baby boomer Ansel Head could not be shaken from enlisting in the Corps of Cadets at McCallie. To an outsider looking in, especially to an uneducated baby boomer, the Corps seemed a happy, homogeneous, and harmonious community. Perhaps it was the glossy brochures and polished sales pitches coupled with the snappy uniforms and parades that threw him off.

In any case, McCallie’s marketing had been less than honest. Fortunately, Head had not had to exert much energy nor time to uncover the truth:  Not everyone who had enlisted had done so enthusiastically or freely. This difference in cadet commitment caused factions to form. The factions and their interaction constituted McCallie society.

Head’s analysis had deduced these axioms: At the top, there were the Achievers, the Brahmans; wanting to be at McCallie and buying into its program, they excelled in athletics, academia, and military. There was the Middle Classers, great at getting by, and just wanting done with it; the money from their parents made the school solvent. At the bottom were the Misfits, those who rebelled and wanted nothing to do with the place but were forced there by desperate parents. Achievers received accolades from teachers and cadets, Middle Classers were generally left alone but constituted the majority, and Misfits received much unwanted attention.

Looking back after 50 more years of education, Ansel Head was unable to discern any difference between McCallie society and every other society he had encountered. Tried as he might to discover something new, everywhere he looked and studied, there were always the Achievers, the Middle Classers, and the Misfits; and people within any society in which he found himself could be stereotyped by these sub-strata. And so he did.

Robert Brook

At McCallie, recruit cadet Head decided almost immediately that he would join the Achievers; he had volunteered freely and felt compelled to make the most of it. His new roommate, Robert Brook, who was the son of the top achiever in his McCallie days, could never settle on what faction he would join. Seeking attention from where ever it would come, he moved between factions as the mood hit him, never becoming a permanent part in any one group. Or so it seemed to his Achiever roommate.

Brook was the exception to Head’s understanding of society and it caused him confusion. Throughout his life, there would be others who broke the mold and blured Head’s picture of the world, but that didn’t prevent Head from viewing that picture through what  had become at McCallie, with little analysis or study, a settled truth or axiom for him on how society organizes itself into the three strata.

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