'I Got Sunburned On Purpose': People Remember The Cringiest Things They Did In Middle School To Be Cool

Ah, middle school. Those awkward, pre-teen years when the most important thing in the world was how you looked as you walked down the hallway, surrounded by your classmates.

These Redditors shared what they did to be cool in middle school, and no doubt you'll be reminded of your own memories. Was it all worth it? Either way, it happened, so we might as well laugh about it.

[Source listed at the end of the article.]

Back in the mid-90s when Green Day was an up-and-coming rock band, I wrote the names of all their albums on my bag as a checklist and gradually ticked them off to show I had them all. Somehow, I thought that would make me cool.

The funniest part is, I didn't even have them all.


My friends and I used to brag about not getting enough sleep. Everyone did it. "Oh you got 5 hours of sleep last night? I've only gotten 2 hours of sleep the past 2 nights."

Some ridiculous game where being the most miserable makes you coolest.

A lot of people continue playing this game into adulthood, and not only with sleep.


I wore my backpack straps as low as they could possibly go. The bag would slap against the back of my legs with every step I took, but I didn't care cause I was the coolest.


I used to wear this yellow visor (it was the eighties, okay?) in a super specific way that I thought was the coolest: upside-down, backwards, and to the left. With my bleached (peroxide) hair gelled up over the visor.


There was a boy I had a crush on when I was in 7th grade. After a class field trip one day, a lot of people got really sunburned. When we were changing classes, I overheard him talking about how sunburned he was afterward. I thought it'd be a good conversation starter since I was so sunburned too. 

So an hour later when we changed classes again, I went up to him and said, "Hey Chris, look at this sunburn." and pulled up my shirt sleeve to show the back of my shoulder. He just looked at me really strange and said, "Okay, yeah... That's nice?" And went back to his conversation with his friends.

For the rest of the year, I kept getting sunburned INTENTIONALLY so I'd have a talking point with him, and kept going up to him, "Hey, what about THIS sunburn? It's pretty bad now, huh?" On top of that, I have such a fair complexion, I don't even tan. So I'd just burn, get embarrassed and go back to being really white.


I made a secret deal with a close friend to subtly drop rumors about each other, that we both have hot girlfriends outside school.

The next day after football, I initiated, "Have you seen Pat's girlfriend? She's a real cutie."

Another guy: "He was saying the same about you this morning. What, you guys made some pact about having pretend girlfriends?"

Me: "I gotta go, see you tomorrow."


I used to spike my hair to look like Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z. Later on I realized I look like a jerk. Vegeta was kind of a jerk, so it made sense.


I'd wear two pairs of pants. Normally basketball shorts under jeans. Eventually people started catching on and "pantsing" me, like pulling down my outer pair of pants, so it kind of backfired on me.

If you asked me back then I'd swear it was because it was more comfortable, but really I just thought I was super fly.


I had a mullet, listened to DJ Quik, and wore a Ghost Rider t-shirt all the time (Like the Marvel comics character Ghost Rider, not the Nicolas Cage film). I also called everyone "kemosabe." 

"What's up kemosabe, you heard the new DJ Quik single? It's even more rad than Ghost Rider."


People made fun of my voice for being high-pitched, so I started trying to speak in a lower tone, which backfired almost immediately. My gym teacher referred to me as "Kermit the Frog" for years.


I'm not sure how cool he thought it was, but one guy at my assigned lunch table in middle school drank milk out of a pickle every day. The school sold large, uncut pickles as a snack item, and every day, this kid would finish his meal, hollow out the pickle, and drink his milk out of it.


I carried around a handmade sign, took it everywhere. One side said "Awkward," and the other said "So random." I would hold them up at certain points during conversations to be funny.

Like Wile E. Coyote, but super awkward and not funny at all.


My friends and I used to bring universal remotes to school and prank teachers by turning off the TVs when they tried to show videos to the class.

Another time, we brought little remote control race cars, put cups over them, and drove them around on the floor to scare people who thought it was a rodent.


I was in a breakdancing crew comprised of 5 caucasian boys ranging in ages from 13-14. We were purposefully awful as a kind of performance art. We'd gather at the NY Public Library on Saturdays with our boombox and have everyone laughing at us. My street name was Weak T.

It's funny, it started out as us trying to breakdance seriously, but we were just no good. Then one of us came up with the idea that if we couldn't be good - maybe we could be bad. So we began to choreograph bad routines with a lot of jumping around, missed high-fives and self-congratulatory praise.

Our signature move: One of us would yell "Popcorn!" and all five of us would jump up and down in place at different rhythms until someone else yelled "Popped!"


Chain wallets.

It started off with short chains. Eventually, it became an unspoken contest to see who could have the longest chain.

I flipped over the handle bars of my bike many times when that saggy chain got wrapped around the pedal.


Had a pretty righteous wave of Extreme Yo-Yo that swept through my school during 7th grade. And by extreme, I mean a bunch of kids getting excited over who could make their yo-yo "sleep" the longest.


I'd wear a braided leather belt that was way too big, then buckle it and let all the slack drop out of the buckle... like over a foot of belt just drooping down to the floor. Thought I was real fancy.


I played that ridiculous game, quarters, with the cool kids. For those who never have never had the pleasure of playing this game I'll give you a brief background. One person starts a quarter spinning on edge by flicking it. The second person has to touch the quarter without stopping the spin, followed by person one touching the quarter. This touching goes back and forth between the two people like some weird game of hot potato until one person touches the quarter and it stops spinning. 

If you were the poor soul who caused the quarter to stop spinning, you had to put you knuckles down on the table and the other person would fling the quarter at you as hard as they could. It would hurt and make people bleed, but in middle school it was the coolest thing to do during lunch break.


My friends and I were the most annoying kids ever in middle school. We made these pen launchers out of broken pens and rubber bands, and would shoot paper, pen refills, and toothpicks at random people. 

One of my friends used a metal pen refill one day, and it actually got stuck in the kid's arm. We stopped using them after that.


I was known around my school for making little stick figures out of pipe cleaners. I made the heads just big enough to fit around a pencil so they became an accessory. It made me happy seeing someone pull out a pencil with one of my little pipe cleaner people on the end of it.


When I was in 6th grade, I learned that the girl I had a crush on was coming to dinner with some family friends of ours. I wanted to do something to impress her; to make her think I was really smart. I knew at some point she'd probably be in my room as it's where the kids generally congregated during these sorts of things so I began to set the stage.

At the time, I was all about dumpster-diving and hitting up yard sales with my other computer-geek friends to build Frankenstein sculptures with the components we salvaged or picked up on the cheap. So naturally I gathered all my my old spare and broken hard-drives, poured dish-soap all over them and got the hammer out at the ready. When they entered my room, I made sure I was furiously smashing away at these drives with my hammer -- tiny metallic pieces and soapsuds flying everywhere. We made eye contact for a moment before she and her friend slowly backed out of the room. She avoided me for the remainder of the evening.

All these years later, I can still remember the look of horror and confusion on her face. I can't for the life of me remember what series of thoughts lead me to believe there would be any possibility of her having a positive reaction to it. The pubescent mind is an interesting thing.


Playing with yarn.... buying "rare" types of yarn.

For some unknown reason, "string games" became a huge fad in my middle school.

You want to be the coolest kid on the block?

You better have some crazy good Angora fiber and a killer "Cat's Cradle."


I wore a hideous plaid suit jacket from the 1970s that I found in the back of my dad's closet. I thought it was hilarious in a "so uncool it's cool" kind of way. 

I think I just came off as wanting attention.


I wanted to be both punk and grunge at the same time. I would wear flannel shirts, cargo pants, and 10 necklaces and 20 bracelets. I thought I was so cool. Now I just cringe thinking about it.


I wore those multi-colored, multi-shaped rubber bracelets. People would have arms full of them and even trade them: anything from green rockets to purple rhino shapes, and everything in between. The more (and wider variety) you had, the "cooler" you were.

It was like some awkward interlude between the adolescence of trading Pokmon cards and the social hierarchy of high school that was coming afterward.


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You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, or so the saying goes.

The same can be said for your interactions with cops, most of whom are perfectly happy to let minor infractions slide––When was the last time you were actually ticketed for jaywalking?––provided you're not a total Karen should you interact them.

Your local police officer likely doesn't care about jaywalking or the fact that you went five miles over the speed limit unless you give him a reason to, as we learned when Redditor Takdel asked police officers: "What stupid law have you enforced just because someone was an a-hole?"

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