Thirty Years Ago This Week The Breakfast Club Met For Detention

I saw The Breakfast Club at Danielle’s father’s house. We were in the sixth grade. Danielle was my “cool” friend. To be her friend, you had to recite the name of every Guns N Roses album. She wrote the word “ugly” next to people’s pictures in the yearbook (“Sorry” was all she said when I saw mine). She got to stay home from school the day that Kurt Cobain died. Her mom worked at Gloria Jean’s in the mall, and I remember pretending, multiple times, to like the taste of an Iced Latte.

The day I saw The Breakfast Club, Danielle’s father wasn’t home, though it was his weekend with her (this partly explains Danielle). She brought the videocassette out of her father’s cabinet as if it were a piece of fine jewelry or a loaded gun. She said we could get into a lot of trouble. We sat transfixed for the next two hours. 

I have always answered The Breakfast Club whenever asked to name my favorite movie, partly because it was the coolest movie I’d ever seen at a time I desperately wanted to be cool. But, watching it more recently, I see the movie as a blueprint for me intellectually, for all the questions I would eventually become obsessed with: what is power and how does it operate? How much of life is socially constructed? How do we define ourselves? How do we annihilate hierarchies of difference? How do we connect?

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As an introvert, I have dreamed of a day of detention like the one the Breakfast Club enjoyed. Even as an adult, I yearn for that feeling of camaraderie within a group; for the joy of being recognized; for the thrill of belonging.

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