Do you ever catch yourself thinking, "Boy - I really shoulda gone to a shrink years ago?" Every once in a great while, I think that... And one of those moments hit me between the eyes this afternoon.
I have been enjoying Facebook for several months now, and have even enjoyed the occasional encounter with some folks who I knew from high school. I loved high school... I had pretty good grades, I was in some nice cliques, and I was heavily involved in music and theater. So to see high school friends and acquantances on Facebook has been a nice pastime.
Then, today, I received a friend request from someone I knew in elementary school. Elementary school was not anything like high school. My parents split up and divorced when I was in elementary school, which back in the late 60's was akin to having everyone in the family wearing a scarlet "A" on their chest. In addition, I was on the pudgy side, and every other kid in the school made sure I never forgot it! The real clincher came in fifth grade, when the new Phys Ed teacher called my out on the first day of school. Not knowing my name, he called me "Porky". That was it... I spent the last two years of elementary school and the first year (at least) of Junior High being called "Porky Pig", with the inferred endorsement of one of our teachers, no less! Can you tell this has bothered me for nearly 40 years?
But back to Facebook... OK... so I can handle being online friends with someone I knew when I was 8 years old... What's the big deal? This person was never a real nemisis of mine. I clicked "confirm" on the friend request, and soon thereafter saw a photo posted on his Facebook wall. It was a photo taken 2 months ago of a group of people, some of whom I have not seen in more than 30 years.
Among the people in the photo were most of the boys (BOYS? - No, nearly 50-year-old men!) who were my biggest tormentors when we were 10 and 11 years old. They now wear all manner of paunch and bald spots, but I really still saw them as being 4-foot-6, wearing Bobby Brady-striped shirts and evil "Scott Farkas" grins on their faces. It was more than a little disconcerting, and for a moment, it gave me pause to consider whether I really still want to be on Facebook at all.
Then, I took a breath. And another. And I realized that while I may still be stuck on the playground of Cresthaven Elementary School, all of the rest of those people left it behind decades ago.
They are now old, decrepit people just like me... Some of them, no doubt, are grandparents! And just like me, they are probably amazed at the power of the internet - Power that can transport us all back to the mean streets of Silver Spring (HA!) with the click of a mouse! Whatever head case problem there is here, it is mine, not theirs.
I went on Youtube and found this video from my childhood... I heard this theme song a lot on that playground. And I'm shocked to find the emotions are still pretty strong...
Anyone know a good shrink?