Feb 2nd, 2008, 05:10 AM
Firstly, in a "New England Boyhood" article, I would have expected Shoggoth-fighting involved, but you showed incredible restraint Max!
Yeah, at my age (I was born in 1990) I'm old enough to remember a time without the internet and iPods. If you told me you could fit 500 songs on a gizmo of a size less thick than a GameBoy Pocket... I would have believed you, because I was very imaginative back then. I still am in a way. Back when I was a kid, I thought you really could fit cute monsters in a tennis-ball like item, and it wasn't that out of the question for Superman to fly, because I knew the secret to his flying was not that he was fictional, but because he was an alien. This was why I never attempted flying like him myself, while other kids had broken arms in droves. It was because I understood the mythologies of the modern age. Not just because I was a gullible wide eyed kid.
I didn't even have a Game Boy Pocket as a kid until my brother got one for his 13th Birthday, and then Colour ones were released and Pockets were out of vogue. I remember a simpler time when a piece of electronics could last ages without being obsolete. I keep my simple phone that doesn't have internet access or a flip-screen in memory of when phones were real phones, not overpriced media centers, you were supposed to use them to talk to people. Now you use them to avoid talking to people as you download annoying ringtones for them.
I still consider myself an elder-innocent. There are some things that I don't think I want to be exposed to, because I already know well enough they're not good for me. Alcohol was one of them. I waited so long for my 18th Birthday (the legal Aussie drinking age) so I could drink my first legal beer with my friends (my first illegal alcohol was wine at an art gallery, which ended up with me annoying Ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in drunk happiness. This is not a lie, this really happened), only to find that I didn't like the taste of beer at all. I suppose its one of the mythologies of society that beer + friends equals fun, but I never figured out why that was. Maybe I just wasn't drinking enough of it.
People at school sometimes make fun of me because they think I'm too stupid to know what they mean by "do you do it with girls?", but I do know full well what they mean, and when they ask stuff like that I hate the way that they believe asking this to prove my naivety will make them laugh. I learned the hard way that even if you are a high-functioning Asperger's kid, some people are just bastards.
But it's not all bad news. I learned that there was honour amongst geeks and nerds. In Australia you don't get the stereotypical geeks who never had a girlfriend because nobody likes them, a geek/nerd is usually defined as a reader of books and watcher of cinema that has merit. Geeks and Nerds don't tease you like Jocks will because they know how it feels to be left out.
One of the other mythologies that I found untrue is the myth of the lesbians who swing both ways. Female homosexuality is called homosexuality because they have no interest in dating men. They'll be your friend, for sure, but they won't love you the same way a straight woman will. I discovered this when I asked a girl out. She liked the same Anime and books as I did, and she was really nice too. Then she rejected me on the grounds that she "already had a girlfriend". She wasn't bluffing. She really did have a girlfriend. And she was happy with her. I stayed friends, because I soon learned this truth: a girl can be your friend without being your girlfriend.
Besides, out of all of the mean teasing and being stood up I endured from the opposite sex, that girl chose the most honest and thoughtful way of letting me know she wasn't romantically interested.
After a life such as this, I can begin to understand why you feel the way you do Max. Your experiences have shaped you, whether this article had any truth in it or not. I just hope that you have some cheer in your life, like I'm trying to find, and being more successful at finding it than you may believe.