Maturity never happens like a thunderbolt, but like a tree sloth determined to make its way through the chaotic forest. Personality traits that seemed to last forever in their immaturity have given way to adult responsibilities. Or perhaps there are some people who have actually grown down instead of grown up? Are there people who mature backwards and were closer to adulthood in childhood than they are now as grown men and women? Perhaps they grew lazy or maybe they were ruined by failures beyond their control, bad luck, and something called cynicism. Cynicism is when you have been beaten by the world so many times that people are tricked into believing there is no more point anymore to anything. There is no point in trying because one just sets themselves up for heartache and disappointment. In childhood they were more of a clean slate and pure. They were once filled with optimism and magic. But I would like to believe that most people become better and stronger as they become older. The one way in which lots of us sadly become worse in adulthood is in the way our stomachs grow larger because exercise is not forced upon us through physical education classes and organized sport teams.
What was I like over twenty years ago in the throes of childhood glory? Hmmm? Where should I start? For one thing, I was OBSESSED with video games. They were my universe and addictive pleasure in life. Back in those days we did not have much to work with except monstrous arcade games and primitive two dimensional Nintendo games featuring a plumber jumping on non-threatening cartoon characters. It seems silly but back then it was all we had and was more than enough. We did not think it could ever become more advanced. While bouncing a basketball I used to fantasize about being inside a video game such as Donkey Kong. I was also intrigued by nature and the metamorphosis of how an ugly caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly with the immediate ability to fly. It was also magic how a tadpole may gradually transform into something completely different with the ability to exist on land.
Back in those days I was also burdened with an undiagnosed case of Asperger’s syndrome and cringe upon remembering what things were like back then. I suffered from a duel speech impediment that involved stuttering and the same one as Elmer Fudd. Sudden changes made life absolutely miserable such as being transferred to a mainstream class in the first grade and being forced to leave the security of the special education class at Lagrange Elementary School. I was also constantly behind my peers socially and was once tricked into giving my mother the middle finger without understanding what this meant. It was always very difficult to receive any kind of attention so it seemed the only way to let people know I existed was to find inappropriate ways to seize attention. One time at Camp Hillcroft I found an empty glass bottle and dropped it on the ground like a torpedo after filling it with water. One of the staff members freaked out while trying to pick up the glass. I tried to help pick up the glass by pretending that it was an accident, which caused her to yell at me even more. It seemed funny to me.
Something habits have changed since childhood and others have remained exactly the same. I still like to speak in gibberish because it is fun to make up words that do not exist and that nobody else understands. Words like Gimlet-Eyed Compositron are fun to say and are a good substitute for words that are offensive to everybody. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, I am still able to watch some of the classic commercials and intros to nostalgic cartoons while attending to the matters of writing business emails. I also dreamed of being a movie star during those days like the boy in Jurassic Park! It seemed like it would be fun to be in such a movie, and it probably is sometimes for the actors. But reality sets in when you are an adult as we realize that anything worthwhile and beautiful usually involves A LOT of hard work to make it reality. We are no longer watching idly from the audience in glee but in the fulfilling adult grind itself.