While I was taking a walk down memory lane, opening my trunk of personal souvenirs, I happened to find my yearbooks and papers from grade school, junior high and high school.
I found my third grade class picture, and there she was. Amy Howard...Sigh... the prettiest girl in third grade. Even 25 years later, as an adult, she still makes me sigh. She had this beautiful blond hair, piercing blue eyes and a smile that could melt a snowman that had lasted through March.
I saw her and her best friend Heidi in all of the grades until I went to junior high. They never would give me the time of day. She would hang out with Trevor and Ricky, who I hated. Trevor and Ricky were good at all the sports, always picked the teams for kickball and always had new clothes.
I was just the slightly tall boy in the tan Wranglers corduroys("whisk-whisk-whisk") and the crooked teeth. My family were middle class rednecks from a respectable side of town. But Amy and her crowd were beyond me. They were from the East Hills, the part of town where all of the rich people lived. They seemed to naturally do everything better than me. Soccer, football, kickball, I sucked at all of it. They were always on top and I was always hanging out with all of the social "undesirables".
Which in the end was probably better, being on the outside of the in-crowd, we were tighter friends. I would like to think we were more honest and loyal to each other, but that would be a little prejudiced. I tried to speak to Amy several times, but either Trevor or Heidi made fun of me or made it clear I was to know my place. When Amy did speak to me, it was in short sentences and she would look away. I felt like a leper.
After I left grade school and went to junior high and senior high, I never saw the Amy and her group again. But their kind was everywhere. The preppie with the boat shoes and polo sweaters that always made fun of me in front of the girls I liked, the big jock that always did everything better than me and made sure to remind me any chance he got. I never escaped these "beautiful" people, at least until I got out of school.
That's what I thought anyway. As I sat looking at the memories of my school days, I thought about my life in the call center. I thought about who my bosses are, who is in management and sales, all of the people that are above me and paid more than me.
I work for Trevor, Ricky, Amy and Heidi...
What I mean is this: even from grade school, I was taught implicitly who was my social superior. I thought it would change as I got older, I thought all of the stupid popularity contests would end, but it only got worse. The people who were on top then are still on top now.
What's different now is at least I understand it. I understand you can't ignore the effect of social class. I understand that they are not better than me, they are not more intelligent, they are just different. They have different values, different ways of perceiving the world and different goals. I just wish I felt they understood me like I understand them.
Maybe if I stop wearing the corduroys they will let me join their club....
Thanks for reading,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine