Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lady of the Flies

The Dude and I can be very disorganized and lazy people. Such as getting groceries. We're out and we've been out for awhile. So we order in, and I eat candy for lunch. It's getting a little out of hand. I feel like I'm too old to be like this, and yet here we are.

I recently read an article about being a nerd in high school. It raised an interesting theory on why intelligence gets you so far in real life but not in high school. Basically, it's because high school is not real life, but a prison for teenagers to keep them occupied while grownups do their thing.

In one way I disagreed because I was wondering where getting an education played into all of this. But then I remembered the education I received in school and how little I retained and then I reconsidered the article's point. The only thing I'm using in my life now is my English classes. Mostly the grammar, and looking at today's kids, I guess I was pretty lucky to get any grammatical instruction.

Most of my real education has been from either college, my job or what I seek out myself in various areas of interest. And so many highly successful people have real world experience and did not need a formal education.

So why the constructs of high school, when it means so little? I mean, even once I was in college I looked back and was able to see how meaningless it all had been. In college I was essentially training for a career. In high school I was merely trying to get good grades and remember enough for tests so that I could go to college. It was a means to an end, and that was it.

I had my friends and then I had my real work, which was not school related. I drew. I would draw for hours a day, every day. I rarely did my homework, unless it had to be handed in to be graded. Unless I was getting marked on it, it took too much time away from what was more important to me. And even though I never became a paid artist of any kind, I look back on those years as well spent.

What does a teenager do when they don't have real work of their own to focus on? I think we've all witnessed the answer. They either vie for popularity, try to perfect their school performance, or say fuck it and experiment with drugs or some other such rebellion. All of these things lead to some level of misery. If not the cattiness of the popular crowd, then the shunning or harassment from them on the other end.

I wouldn't be a teenager again for anything. I'm a nerdy person. That didn't go over well in high school. It's doing lovely things for me now, but when I was 16, not so much. The article suggested that people who were popular cared less about being intelligent than well liked. I saw some truth to that. People skills are like anything else that requires a lot of time and effort to get good at. My best friend in high school could have been really popular if she wanted to, but she never bothered. Actually, she both dove into her school work and said fuck it at the same time. Either way, I think she shunned popularity before it started shunning her.

Me? Well, I was in the popular crowd in grades 6-8. Frankly, I'm not so sure how that even happened, considering how oddly I behaved. Then once high school started in grade 9, things went down hill. Being a little weird was a liability.

I got to thinking a bit about this when recently a young man tried to stop me while I was crossing the street. He pointed out to me that I walked funny with my toes out and that it would cause me problems. Well, seeing as I was made fun of for that very thing in school, I was well aware of that fact. And his comments would have been enough to greatly upset me back in the day. Now, with the world wide open and full of things that really matter, and people whose opinions I give a damn about?

Chilly response, cold shoulder and no eye contact.

The things I wish I'd known 10 years ago. But if nothing else, teenage prison builds character, or something like that. And it's not like surviving Lord Of The Flies, though I think that's really what the teachers are there for.


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