Friday, May 02, 2003

I received a piece of spam - at least, I think it was spam - email today titled "Spaz Out!" That's funny. Kind of.

In junior high, I was desperate to be liked, and was generally more than happen to humiliate myself if people laughed. I made myself think they were laughing with me, because I forced my own laughter. I'm not sure if it was because of Fast Times at Ridgemont High or what, but somehow, I got nicknamed "Spaz." And the sad part is that I revelled in it, even signing my music reviews for the school paper (in 8th grade, yes, we all should've known back then) with the nickname. [Perhaps sadder is that I didn't realize it wasn't a compliment. I figured that if everyone from the jocks to the burnouts knew my "name," that was a good thing. I felt liked.]

What do we know in 8th grade, really? I was a geeky, gawky kid with a white-boy 'fro (unintentionally; I can't help it if I have naturally curly hair, not that you'd know it now - I've kept it nearly shorn for almost 10 years, now) and an obsession with Casey Kasem's American Top 40. [I'd walk in to school on a Monday morning, and fellow students would ask me, "Hey, Spaz, what was number 28 this week?" And I'd know. And I'd know where it was last week, too. And the artist. I wrote the top 40 down in a notebook each week. I did use the word "obsession."] I already knew I was marked, 'cause I knew I was gay, and P.E. simultaneously terrified and thrilled me. I'd shower hurriedly, and come up with reasons to linger near my first crush's locker, watching him put on his Brut colored bikini briefs. But inside, I was dying. I think a part of me, subconsciously, knew I was seen as a joke by those I most wanted to like me, to take me under their collective wing. As we all know, though, no one's crueler than young teenagers. Unfortunately, I wouldn't figure that out for some years to come.

[This post is for Dogpoet.]

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