Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

The Weird Kid

I was always a Weird Kid.

Frisco and I had this discussion once when I was arguing with Jon that Pooka was NOT cool, despite rumours started by the deranged. Frisky and I were both Weird Kids, the ones that were never ever cool at the time. The kids that thought and did and dreamed and wanted. The ones picked on by the "cool" kids because we'd rather read a book, or learn, or fiddle with figuring out how something worked. The ones generally shunned because we were, in the face of the endless masses of normal, Weird.

We were too old, too young. And now that age has caught up with us, the cool people now tend to look up to us and realize that somewhere, they might have just missed out on things that could have been pretty damn neat.

Hindsight is 20/20, and Irony is a Bitch that does not swallow.

Watching Scooby with Thing 2, and it all came back. It's rare that I get such clear memories of my past, so I had to pause and indulge.

I always wanted to be Velma. Yeah. The "weird" one of the Scooby gang. The brains. The smart ass. Maybe it was the glasses. I got glasses very early, and Velma was one hell of a role-model to a budding and repressed genius. No ego there, I'm the first one to admit that I've never been even half as clever as I thought I was. It just fit, so deal with it.

I used to write. A lot. I had notebooks filled with stories, most of which revolved around fantasies of BEING Someone Important, someone smart, someone that people liked and went to for answers.

It was definitely an escape from reality.

You have no idea how much I used to dread Class Pictures. Remember how they do that? They get everyone together, and arrange them by height, tallest in the rear, shortest in the target hollow next to the teacher.

Guess who was *always* standing next to the teacher, at least until puberty started and I went into 6th grade Normal in size for a change. Well, except for the breasts. I went from flat to a B right off the bat, and was one of only two fifth graders wearing a bra. By 6th I was already a C. It didn't help.

The "Incident" came in fifth grade. We'll get back to that.

Fourth grade, in retrospect, marked the largest mistake of my entire life. In 3rd, we were all subjected to a usual battery of tests. Mine apparently informed all involved that I was A Genius. As a Genius, I shouldn't be subjected to Normal schools.

And so I was shipped off every morning on a bus, all the way across town to River Oaks and the Rich Kids Smart School. While the Normal kids were practicing basic math and handwriting skills, I was playing on computers and learning foreign languages and reading Real Books and doing expansive projects, including one where I (with the help of my grandfather), did a visual tour of the entire Houston underground system.

I was no longer the Weird Kid. I was surrounded by Weird Kids, thus making us all Normal to the other. I had REAL friends. I was home. I was comfortable. I learned.

I really had a chance to escape.

See where I'm going with this?

Yeah. I went back to Normal School the next year. My choice. The details of Why are somewhat hazy, I think that knowing it was an amazing mistake and enduring hell afterwards have made the circumstances deliberately absent from memory. I know a lot had to do with the god awful bus ride, but again in retrospect, it wasn't so bad. I even learned on the bus, and interacted.

A futile tickle of memory says that I whined about missing my "friends" from the Normal School. Yeah. Right. Who the hell was I trying to kid? I had a total of two, tops. If that.

But I went back to Normal School, and that was the year I got put in a bra and got my period for the first time and was told that I had to have glasses. For a geek, none of this would have been bad. An early "bloomer" in Normal School was a target.

It didn't stop me from writing. Not at first. Not until one of the Perfect People got hold of one of my notebooks. And shared the stories. And it escalated into Hell.

All chances of a real escape were pretty much lost forever at that point. Going back to Normal told my monster that I wasn't fit to be a success. I was a quitter. I remember that clearly being the point where all support stopped. Oh, sure, band was initially taken when I hit 6th grade to mollify the parents that were determined that I was a destined loser. After that, I stayed in band for myself, at least through Middle and into High School until the Adult Part of my too old brain made me realize that nothing I did would matter to my parents anymore. I'm digressing.

We can stop most of the flashback right there before it gets too painful. Trust me.

Writing died damn near forever with the loss of my great aunt. "Harper" comes from her, the maiden name she kept until the cancer ate her away until she was little more than a shell, cracked and broken and in pain ... and still believing in me.

It was over 15 years before I started writing again. Oh, sure, I hacked out some really crappy poetry every now and then, did a few term papers that earned me lots of weird looks but high enough grades, but it wasn't the same.

Some people, knowing the situation with one of my writing partners who suddenly fell off the planet without a word wonder why the hell I started working with him again when he finally returned almost 2 years later.

He's the one that Woke Up that part of the Weird Kid all over again, the one that somehow managed to pick the lock that long ago rusted shut. The writing started again with him. It wasn't that he particularly inspired me. He just made it easy.

Now, when I write, the laughter comes for all of the right reasons. Most of the time, they're laughing with me now.

The Weird Kid is still here.

Embrace your inner geek, baby. It is never too late to have a happy childhood.

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