Lost Journal: Delusions of a Seventh-grader

Journal entry: September 9, 1981 (age 12) – Delusions

Today, I become a man. Today, I start seventh grade. Outwardly, I may still look like a boy, but I’m so totally not.

Before I even left my house this morning, I felt more confident about my place in the world. My mom suggested I wear a jacket. To school. Yeesh. Then, as I was getting on my bike, she suggested that I’d be safer and more comfortable if I rode with BOTH of my backpack straps over my shoulders. What do I look like, some kind of dorky mountaineer? Please.

Last week, she bought me a ton of knit shirts with an embroidered tiger on the chest. A tiger. Did she think I wouldn’t notice that it wasn’t an alligator, or does she think any old predator is acceptable on golf apparel? I’m coming to the realization that I know a lot more than my parents do. They are too removed from Walkmen and The Dukes of Hazzard to comprehend much about today’s complex world.

As I walked in the front door of St. Patrick’s Middle School, I felt so much cooler than I did last year. I could almost smell the naiveté on the tiny sixth-graders who scuttled around my feet in the hallway. I knew I could easily double my lunch money this week by selling them elevator passes for our one-story school, pool passes for our nonexistent pool, and, of course, the Noogie Prevention Tax. You would think my brother, Dan, and his fellow eighth-graders would be even cooler than my classmates and me. But they suck royally.

I’m sure my nominal “teachers” will quickly prove to be my intellectual and experiential inferiors. I’m willing to bet that none of them know the point values of the fruits that float through the red-level screens in Ms. Pac-Man. I think I’ll teach them a few things this year. I’m planning on peppering their classroom lectures with pithy comments and my satiric “take” on their chosen topic. Last year, I tried some of my material out on the kids who sit in front of, behind, and to either side of me, and it tested pretty well. If a background in the complete works of Cheech & Chong and the McKenzie Brothers doesn’t qualify me to wax comedic for the benefit of the whole class, then I don’t know what does. I’m sure my teachers will agree.

During recess today, I was thinking some more about how funny and awesome I am when I saw the prettiest girl in my class walk by. I’m not just in love with this girl. I ache for her. My feelings are so strong, there is no way any other human being in the history of the world has loved someone more. She doesn’t like me that way, which I totally don’t understand, because I’m always wicked nice to her. The pain I feel when I look at her is deeper and more powerful than anyone could possibly understand. Except maybe Dan Fogelberg.

Other than girls, I pretty much have everything figured out, which is cool. I just need to get through school so I can start being well-paid and famous. I am young. I am smarter than any adult. My friends and I are HILARIOUS. Most importantly, I am immortal. I am in seventh grade.

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