However, you're all going to have to up your game if you're going to want to register a chink in my armor.
Originally, I wrote this post because people at DragonCon suggested that I share things on my blog. Have people get to know me. Have people invest in me if not my work...Personally, I think that this is a stupid idea. Who really wants to know me from a hole in the ground?
But on this day, I think we should have a conversation that involves why I am like the Honey Badger.
I really don't give a crap.
Once upon a time, three months before I graduated high school, I wrote a song parody about the school. It was a parody in which I named names, made fun of specific people for specific traits, and I used the original opening four lines of the song in my parody.
The title of both the parody and the ORIGINAL song was "I have a little list," from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado.
If you suddenly have a bad feeling about where this is going, ... don't worry, it gets worse.
Since I at least had the notion that this would be something I should ONLY be showing to a privileged few, I showed it to a group of friends I had acquired, some of whom helped me assemble parts of the high school yearbook.
It was going along great until one of them said, "This is great! This is hilarious! This should be in the yearbook. Hey, guys, look at this!"
The next thing I know, the parody is changing hands, and ends up four tables away to who my friend was calling out to.
He just happened to be sitting next to someone who hadn't liked me since Freshman year.
And no, this isn't actually where this gets worse.
The funny thing is, if I had gone home that day right after classes, I suspect things would have been very different. My usual routine was to stop by the library on the way out the door, sort out the librarian's life, and move along. Yes, the librarian was a mess, and I was a young compulsive with nothing better to do.
One of the associate deans stopped by the library, and told me that I was wanted in the Principal's office. They would have called for me over the public address system, but this guy knew where I would be, since I was almost always in the library...I did say I was a little compulsive, right?
I walked down to the office confused. Just to prove how stupid I was at the time, I genuinely had no clue that something was up. I couldn't honestly recall one thing I could have done that was interesting enough to put me on anyone's radar. For anything, good or ill. I showed up to classes, I went home, I did my work, who cared? Hell, I was the guy who could sit in a small room with two other people, and they didn't even notice I was there. It was an ability I had mastered by the time I was in college.
When I arrived at the Principal's office, I was greeted by the principal ... and the dean of discipline, and the guidance counselor. The principal closed the door behind me, and said, "We hear you have a little list."
And so, of course, I laughed. Whew. I thought it was something serious.
...In retrospect, it wasn't the best reaction I could have had.
I sat down at the little card table they used for meetings, and then they slid a copy of the song parody across the table to me.
This is the point where even my 18-year-old brain started to get a clue. But, like a moron, I dismissed that sinking feeling, and figured, Okay, this is just a misunderstanding. They're taking this seriously.
I elaborated, "Well, you know Gilbert and Sullivan, right? You know their Mikado?"
No. No they did not. They barely knew Gilbert and Sullivan, and they didn't know The Mikado.
If you're thinking that's where things get really bad, not quite. Because, you see, the date is March 26, 2000. It wasn't until later that someone pointed out that this? This was less than a month before the first anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.
This is the point where all of you having a bad feeling about this can relax, because it just keeps going down hill from there. Because don't worry, it's going to get worse. Oh yeah. Much worse. Because the high school made a deal. If I saw a psychologist and a psychiatrist, and they both declared me sane, this would all go away. Okay, fine.
That night, my family and I came to a decision: an email. We would explain to my friends exactly what was written, exactly what was going on, and exactly what steps would actually happen. I would attach the parody, and spell out everything.
That Tuesday, the 27, I took the MMPI, a scantron True/False test from Hell, designed to figure out if I was crazy.
Though, truthfully, it would have worked best on those who were both crazy and stupid. I was taking advanced placement psychology for college credit (did I mention I had no social life?), so I chuckled at the questions, knowing which question tested for what.
When I left the room, my father was waiting. The email had gotten around. At least one parent saw the email, and the accompanying parody, and called the school. The high school called the cops, because informing my friends that they were idiots was apparently a high crime. They sicced the cops on family at their places of work. They went after friends of mine in the school. Anyone who defended me in public were harassed.
After that, it still gets worse. Because the high school withdrew the previous offer, and issued an ultimatum, because we had stood up to pisspot little dictators: withdraw from the school in 48 hours, or be expelled.
What were the charges? What crime did I commit? I was "issuing terrorist threats."
As I said, this was 2000, so "terrorist threats" had yet to undergo a mild redefinition in the September of the following year.
My parents went to have a calm conversation with the morons. They met, but the morons didn't listen. My parents were even verbally assaulted by a teacher in the parking lot, and nearly physically assaulted.
However, this is the point in the story where I should mention that my uncle is a lawyer. He is a lawyer who told lawyer jokes, and my entire family swears that he modeled himself on Nigel Bruce, from the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films. When we invited him over to the house on his way from work, he read the parody, heard the story, and for the only time in my life, I heard him curse as he bellowed out "IT'S THE F%#KING MIKADO. THEY'RE F%#KING IDIOTS!"
On Wednesday, I kept the appointment with the psychiatrist, since that was part of the original deal. He asked me "Why don't you want to burn down the school?" I explained to him in small words that burning down the school and killing people would be wrong. After an hour of questions like that, where I questioned his sanity, he not only found me sane, he signed it as an alumnus of the high school. I think I still have that paperwork.
On April 4th, 2000, I was in a judge's chambers. The verdict was simple: I would graduate from the high school, working from home. I told him about the AP classes, and he said arrangements would be made. He asked me what it was for, and the entire room laughed when I said "Psychology." The judge, court reporter, the bailiff, and even the school's lawyer laughed.
The principal and the president of the high school did not.
When I left the courthouse, it started to rain. We drove past the principal and the president as they walked all the way back ... in the pouring rain, and without raincoats or umbrellas. My family and I had a good laugh at their expense.
Suddenly, my life became strange. I was two months from graduation, and had no idea what was going to happen. Friends disappeared, and people I never heard of magically started talking to me, consoling and supporting me. I became popular with people I had never met, who were all good people, and people who I had been friends with just quietly slipped away, never to be heard from again. I still can't get some of them to be friends on Facebook.
The school valedictorian became one of my best friends, and was going to write an article on it for the school newspaper. The article was spiked because I gave a chocolate rabbit to the secretaries for Easter.
The incident of the terrorist bunny was a charlie foxtrot that could have only happened to me.
My local bakery had three-foot chocolate rabbits for Easter, and I always gave the secretaries a little something for holidays. My mother, who had been doing the runs to pick up my assignments, delivered it. The principal took a piece of the chocolate rabbit. It's a good thing he did, too, because that's the piece that supposedly had glass in it.
Yes, things became interesting because somewhere, over in Germany, a glass jar broke in a factory, fell into a vat of chocolate, which became a chocolate block, shipped to America to be shaped into the foam of a chocolate rabbit, just so my principal could bite into it.
Lucky me, huh?
This was used as a pretense to spike the story about the absurdity of my whole Kafka-esque ordeal, since I was now a continuing threat to the school. Oooh, ain't I scary?
So, yeah, that was an interesting couple of months. I had been banned from all high school functions, including a prom I had put a down payment on, several other dances ... and from graduation, and it was suggested that I didn't even get off at that train stop near the school. I had people who I thought were good friends of mine vaporize, overnight, because they didn't want to get too close to a rumor.
On the other hand, I was supported by people who I honestly didn't think could pick me out of a lineup. At least one of these friends was someone who I couldn't have picked out of a lineup.
The funny thing is, I was scared out of my mind only after everything was over. And not even after I left the judge's chambers. This was weeks later, when I realized that I was totally alone. I wasn't one to go out anywhere and do things. High school was what I did. I came home, I did homework, I read, I went to sleep, wash rinse repeat. I didn't really have a clue how to interact with people. You could argue that I still don't.
So, what's the point of telling this story?
The point is I don't care. Please, say what you like. Come on, File 770 commentators, and Lib-tard socialist a-holes on social media, BLM terrorists, call me names. Go on. Go ahead. Been there, done that. Think about it. when I was 18 years old, I had roughly 300 people howling for my blood, calling me every name in the book, and I was abandoned by a large chunk of people I would have at least called friendly, if not friends.
I'm now 34, and I've been through one or two more suicide-inducing ordeals, also provoked by my nearest and dearest. So, try to imagine just how close you would have to get to me now in order to even slightly annoy me, and what you would have to do to get to me.
So, my message to all of you random people on social media: you can't intimidate me, because I don't care who you are, what you are, or why you are. Are you a gay black transgendered who really feels like a cat inside, and you're offended that I'm a Catholic who believes everything the church teaches? I don't care. Tough. I don't care about your feelings. Toughen up, buttercup, because life isn't going to give you any points for your feelings. Life doesn't care about your feelings. Are you feeling suicidal because someone called you a name? Been there, done that.
Think I'm cynical enough yet? You might have a good idea of where I get it from: a time period in my life where I had friends of mine disappear because they didn't want to be associated with a bad rumor. Now, granted, I did have some good friendships come from that, some of which lasted nearly a decade, and some that are still intact. I'm not 100% a cynical son of a bitch, but wow, there are days that I'm close.
And if there ever comes a time where it looks like a character of mine takes particular glee in fond memories of a high school, where bad things happened to either the administration or the school itself .... there might be a reason for that.
For those of you who've read Honor at Stake, you may note a slight similarity between my story above and the way Marco left high school. No, I didn't murder anybody, but Marco still ended his time at high school ostracized, branded and abandoned by everyone.
Yes, everyone, every last life experience ends up in the book. Amanda is even stolen from someone I know in real life, and she really is that beautiful.