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Found via Longform: check out these excerpts from Cameron Crowe’s story, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”:

Jeff Spicoli, a Ridgemont legend since third grade, lounged against the doorframe. His long dirty-blond hair was parted exactly in the middle. He spoke thickly, like molasses pouring from ajar. Most every school morning, Spicoli awoke before dawn, smoked three bowls of marijuana from a small steel bong, put on his wet suit and surfed before school. He was never at school on Fridays, and on Mondays only when he could handle it. He leaned a little into the room, red eyes glistening. His long hair was still wet, dampening the back of his white peasant shirt.

“May I come in?”

“Oh, please,” replied Mr. Hand. “I get so lonely when that third attendance bell rings and I don’t see all my kids here.”

The surfer laughed-he was the only one-and handed over his red add card. “Sorry I’m late. This new schedule is totally confusing.”

Mr. Hand read the card aloud with utter fascination in his voice. “Mr. Spicoli?”

“Yes, sir. That’s the name they gave me.”

Mr. Hand slowly tore the red add card into little pieces, effectively destroying the very existence of Jeffrey Spicoli, 15, in the Redondo school system. Mr. Hand sprinkled the little pieces over his wastebasket.

It took a moment for the words to work their way out of Spicoli’s mouth.

“You dick “

Mr. Hand cocked his head. He appeared poised on the edge of incredible violence. There was a sudden silence while the class wondered exactly what he might do to the surfer. Deck him? Throw him out of Ridgemont? Shoot him at sunrise?

But Mr. Hand simply turned away from Spicoli as if the kid had just ceased to exist. Small potatoes. Mr. Hand simply continued with his first-day lecture.


1 Jon Weisman   ~  Feb 16, 2015 2:19 pm

This is truly one of my favorite books of all time -- so much so that I own two copies of it, in case anything happened to my first. Whatever you thought of the movie, good or bad, the book is fantastic.

2 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Feb 16, 2015 7:52 pm

I had no idea that was a book! Thought it was just a piece for Rolling Stone. Fantastic, have to get it. And Penn was never better than as Jeff Spicoli..

As a New York City boy watching the movie was like enetring a different dimension called 'California'..

3 Ara Just Fair   ~  Feb 16, 2015 9:56 pm

One of my all time favorite movies thanks to Spicoli. "Relax, alright. My old man is a television repair man...got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it." Ha. I didn't know there was a book, either. I'll have to read it. : )

4 RIYank   ~  Feb 17, 2015 4:37 am

Huh, I didn't know it was a book, either. And it doesn't seem like it would make a great book, honestly -- but if Jon is vouching for it I'll give it a try!

As for the movie: don't forget Forest Whitaker. Not that it was a great role, but I think it was his first one.

5 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 17, 2015 7:45 pm

I can't believe Alex wrote that letter.

After all these years, he hasn't learned a thing.

6 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 17, 2015 7:47 pm

"I'm ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball."


What did he, take notes from Crash Davis?


7 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 17, 2015 7:50 pm

Can I tell you what's funny?

Until this letter, I'd honestly forgotten all the talk about whether he was phony or not. I'd forgotten that was ever even an issue.

Remember that? A decade ago?

I do...now.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 17, 2015 9:57 pm

I've never read the book. Glad to see you recommend it, Jon. I'll be sure to track down a copy.

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