It’s always been a dream of mine to create a strip referencing both mucus art and 4th-century Japanese Noh plays. The “Wonder Years” element of the whole thing was just a bonus.
It’s well documented that boys do stupid, stupid things when we begin becoming interested in girls. I don’t know if it’s due to a resentment that our priorities are changing, or if it’s a more general bewilderment resulting in lashing out because we don’t know what our wieners are for yet. I don’t remember being like this, but the girl I had a crush on in the sixth grade remembers me as being insanely cruel to her. Granted I did once give her a mix tape for her birthday featuring several Tears For Fears selections (and probably a few by Wham! now that I think about it,) and I certainly wouldn’t wish this sort of thing on anybody today. But the first track on it was Weird Al’s “Happy Birthday,” and come on, what sixth-grade girl wouldn’t love that?
The play the teacher is reading is “The Damask Drum,” a story of unrequited love and its supernatural consequences. The story has stuck with me since I first heard it in high school, as has the modernized retake on it from Yukio Mushima’s “Five Modern Noh Plays” (though I did have to look up both stories just now.)