Composure (See Fourth Grade)
I remember being ten and being offended by reading an R.L. Stine or Christopher Pike book. Someone in the book said someone else was as stupid as a ten-year-old. By this age, I swore I was as smart as an adult, and I have wanted since to prove my maturity. I now know that a typical ten-year-old is infinitely wiser than a foolish teenager. Confident children are far smarter than adults. What I learned from childhood: It is only when you become like the one in charge that you gain respect. Everyone has touches of a ten-year old mind; the mind that knows everything. This is because we live in a very confined area: our body, our mind, our environment, not two bodies or a dozen minds or seven continents, but one, ours. We can only understand through the experiences we have, and we can only be as unique as our experiences allow, and yet we still believe that we know everything.
Mr. Schuster was my math teacher. He would stand on his head to entertain us and would prepare us for upper level math that I did not learn until years after he mentioned it. We did a lot of things with Mr. Scott who eventually became a coach at my high school.
Learning About Conforming, Bullying, and Discrimination (See First Grade)
I remember the day I started conforming. Our class was doing a unit in science; I think it was a unit dealing with pendulums. By this time I had realized that not many people liked Shama, a friend I had, so I did not either. Their reasoning was that she was fat and she smelled (because she ate Indian food). She wanted to join our science group and I loudly said “no.” I was too loud and the teacher told me to go outside for being so loud. Afterwards, I continued to dislike her and would draw mean pictures of her, emphasizing the size of her butt. Faye encouraged the cruelty I gave her.
Learning About Perversity
When the creators of South Park said in an interview they based the show on reality they were not kidding. Third through fifth grade is the age of being foul-mouthed. I am certain that this is not the age that Jesus meant when he told people to be like children. This is the time when Faye and I started watching Ren & Stimpy. We loved it for some reason, probably because we found the idea of body functions funny, as children normally do. This television show made us believe there was nothing embarrassing about the body so we would have no inhibitions about picking each other’s dandruff or shaving each other’s arm hair. I used to have a sick sense of humor as a child. I took perverse pleasure in squashing bugs, and I would roll brownies up into a ball so that it looked like poop. Faye and I both loved to draw so we got a composition notebook called “The Disgusting Page” and drew in the book big boobs and big butts, bug-eyed men, and strange hearts inspired by a heart found in the Lemmings computer game. This inspired me to draw a naked family in sixth grade that I called “The Alien Family.” Mike Frederick, my longtime bully, discovered it at the lunch table and passed it around. I think this is one of the reasons that I am the way I am, and I would not be too surprised if other people who grew up watching the show turned out similarly. I think that I, including all other perverts of the millennium, would not be as perverted if it were not for Ren & Stimpy (And I would have it no other way). It helped me to graduate into a Clive Barker, Donnie Darko, Butcher Boy, and Jhonen Vasquez way of thinking, though I honestly never watched Beavis & Butthead in fifth grade because I found it too crude. Go figure.
- 18 Ren and Stimpy Comics – $15 for all (operationorganize.wordpress.com)
- 105 Books Later, R.L. Stine Still Gives Readers Goosebumps (write4kids.com)
- ‘Beyond the Fringe’: DC adds Becky Cloonan, Jhonen Vasquez to comic (digitalspy.co.uk)