Friday, December 24, 2004

that's so high school....

Been thinking a lot about the difference in high school to real world… go figure. Also reminiscing about Travis D., Nate H., and a few of my own friends from high school that I lost during those years. They all stepped over the social barriers and drama that we try to create. The drama that won’t let go, because it is the world as we know it. It is life in the Matrix, it is our identity, it is what we use to make ourselves feel better about ourselves yet will turn against us if “they” don’t approve. We hide our identity in being an athlete, in finding companionship in the dark shadows of those that hate preps, in how much money our parents make and give us, in whatever. As soon as high school ends, we wind up needing the cliques we once shunned to perform service on our car, defend us in court, or fix our broken bodies in the hospital. What really matters…? It isn’t the fictional drama we concoct for sure. Tell me I’m ideal; tell me it will never work. I’m not offended, I’ve seen some break free of this delusion while in the middle of it, and I’ve lived through it to see that in fact, it doesn’t really matter.

More quotes from Searching for God Knows What that go with this...

A child learns early there is a fashionable and an unfashionable in the world, an ugly and a pretty, a valued and an unvalued. Where this system comes from, God only knows, but it is rarely questioned, and though completely illogical and agree upon by everyone as evil, it remains in play, commanding our emotions as a possession. It isn’t something taught to us by our parents; it is something that comes naturally, as though a radioactive kind of tragedy happened, screwing up our souls. Adulterated or policed, the system can grow to something more civilized, but no less dominant as a drive of nature. In youth the system is obvious. If you want to learn the operating system to which humans are subjected, step into a classroom of preteen students and listen to the dialogue. You will hear the constant measurements, the talk about family wealth, whose father drives what car, who lives in what neighborhood, or who is dating whom.
Here is how it feels: From the first day of school the conversation is the same as it would be if hundreds of students were told to stand in line ranging from best to worst, coolest to most uncool, each presenting their case for value, each presenting an offense to the cases of others, alliances being formed as caricatures of reality television (or vice versa).
And here is what is terrible: There will be a sort of punishment being dealt to those at the end of the line, each person dealing out castigation as a way of dissociation from the geeks, driven by the fear that associating with somebody at the end of the line might cost them position, as if the two might be averaged, landing each of them in the space between. And so, in this way, students are constantly looking to associate themselves with those higher in line, and dissociate from those of low position. Great lengths will be taken to associate with those at the front of the line. Students will kiss up, drop names, lie about friendships, and so on. Many will hate the most popular, and yet subject themselves to their approval as though they were small gods. But the great crime, the great tragedy, is not in the attempts to associate but rather the efforts to dissociate. If a person feels his space in the hierarchy is threatened, that he might lose position, the vehemence he feels toward the lesser person is nearly malevolent…..
The feeling was that if we were last on the social ladder, or near last, we would be facing some kind of torture. Though it sounds absurd, it felt true, as though there were a spirit in the air directing our passions. It was incredibly important to climb this ladder, and the closer you were to the top, it was believed, the easier you could breathe, because a the top people loved you and cared about you and gave you a little bit of the thing God used to give you.…
We were lost in the drama. We never wondered about where it all came from or why it existed. And we talked about these matters as heads of state might discuss international policy. We sat in the lunchroom and talked about who was going out with home and who was going to get beat up after school, and who had a big house in a nice neighborhood. Lunch was our AP wire, and we mulled over the daily fare in contemplation and awe, always wondering where the shifts had taken place on the invisible ladder….
I get this feeling sometimes that after the world ends, when God destroys all our buildings and our flags, we will wish we had seen everybody as equal, that we had eaten dinner with prostitutes, held them in our arms, opened up spare rooms for them and loved them and learned from them. I was just another stupid child in the flow, you know; I didn’t know any of these things. I didn’t know it didn’t matter what a person looked like, how much money they made or whether or not they were cool. I didn’t know that cool was just a myth and that one person was just as beautiful and meaningful as another. Not all of us are as smart as aliens, you know. Not all of us run around naked like Adam and Eve. You can hardly fault me for this stuff, can you? Like I said, it felt important to climb the social ladder, it felt important to defend or identities, it felt as though we were saving our own lives.


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