Friday, May 23, 2008

Getting Bigger

Here's something we hardly ever talk about. Size. Well, maybe we talk about it a lot but not in the way I'm interested in. I'm thinking more about that time when you start to be the same size as everyone else. In 1st Grade and up until 6th I spent most of my time looking at people's thighs or waists. As a consequence I thought nearly 90% of the planet was made up of grown ups. Parents. Figures of Authority. If you towered over me you knew what the fuck was going on. If you were my size or smaller you were like me. Lost. Confused. Stupid.
It's kind of like when you realized how to speak English (assuming of course you're from the USA). First you're a baby and then one day, like a little miracle, you understand everything people are saying. One day you're staring at knees and everyone is a grownup and the next you're looking in their eyes or their chests and you start to realize there are hierarchies of adulthood. Of course, you're still a kid, but you start to get that 8th graders don't really have any clout in the world beyond being able to kick your ass. And that your mother is different in status then say the lady at the supermarket. You start to see teachers as having personalities that you can manipulate and control. Oh, what a wonderful moment.
But just like that moment when you realize how to ask for milk instead of burbling some incomprehensible syllables you still don't really get it all. That my friends is a blessing and a curse. Not so much for 6th Graders. We were consigned to one of the outer circles of Hell. But say when you're a Senior in High School and you have a crush on your teacher and she's talking with you at graduation sort of like a girl talks to a boy. This can be very confusing and it's confusing because you're a dumb schmoo. You think she's a grown up but she's really only 4 years or maybe only 3 years older than you. In just ten years you'll start to have trouble figuring out how old people are if they're between 20 and 30 but right then, with a little beer in your gut, it just seems odd and you don't know why.
What if you knew everything right then in 6th grade? Would that be a blessing or a curse. Part of me votes for curse. I'd no doubt have told some older kid he was a stupid jerk and get flattened for it. Another part of me votes for blessing. We were all dumb chowderheads stumbling through the halls of Wenonah Elementary. Students, teachers, administrators. Trying to do our best and fucking it up too often. But some of us were big and some of us were small and for Wenonah that was a good enough dividing line.

6 comments:

Lauren said...

Jack Wiler, you are a spectacular man! I just want to say that it was an honor meeting you on Thursday. Best school day of my life!

Claudia Hayes Hagar said...

jack!
interesting ruminations about size. gotta tell you I never thought about it but I think it's a guy thing. we girls wanted to be smaller.

Claudia Hayes Hagar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claudia Hayes Hagar said...

jack!
interesting ruminations about size. gotta tell you I never thought about it but I think it's a guy thing. we girls wanted to be smaller.

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