DUBLIN — Back in 1972, my life as an eighth-grader at Lincoln Junior High in Medford was a lesson in survival. It was a turbulent time in South Medford and the nearby Winter Hill section of Somerville, and the school reflected that. If you had any interest in the academic subjects offered, you kept it to yourself. At the Lincoln, street smarts are what got you through the day.
As if I didn’t have enough to deal with, a few weeks after we returned to school in that election year, I was chosen by our geography teacher to portray Richard Nixon in a mock presidential debate against a blond, blue-eyed classmate with a fondness for miniskirts who didn’t resemble George McGovern in any way that I could see.