Third grade. The teacher is explaining adjectives. She offers an example sentence and invites us to add one or more adjectives to it: “The corn is cooking on the grill.”
I zone back in from whatever daydream world I’ve been exploring. This actually sounds a bit interesting. There is a lot of room for adjectives in there. I uncharacteristically raise my hand, “The delicious golden corn is cooked quickly on the scorching hot iron grill?”
She looks at me in stunned silence. I guess she was expecting, “The yummy corn is cooking,” or somesuch. “That’s better than the example they give in the book.” she tells me, referring to the teacher’s guide in her hand. She is genuinely shocked.
When it’s clear she’s not going to give me any more sentences to decorate, I go back to daydreaming. She hands out worksheets later. These have more of the same sort of work, but completing it would mean half an hour of cramp-inducing writing, and who needs that? If she wants more adjectives she can just ask me and I’ll give her all she wants, but I’m not wasting time filling out paperwork.
Some of the kids make fun of the way I’m dressed. I’m wearing brown slacks and green dress socks. This subject comes up again and again in their teasing.
|Left:Patrick. Right: Me. Bottom: Those pants! Aaaaaaah!|
I have no idea why some clothes are better than others, or why people care. I’m wearing hand-me-downs. I don’t shop for my clothes, so I don’t really have much say in what I wear. It’s like being teased about what day of the week it is. However, their teasing irritates me. Do they expect me to put on different clothes just to please them? They’re jerks, and if they weren’t making fun of my socks they’d just pick on me for something else.
Over the next year our financial situation improves. Mom takes me shopping, and it’s possible for me to pick out my own clothes instead of taking whatever strange, random stuff is gifted to us. I could get blue jeans and tube socks, if I wanted.
When Mom offers, I ask for slacks, like the ones I’ve been wearing. Tan or black or brown. No blue jeans. And I want dress socks. Green ones. Yes, they must be green. When she asks why, I’m not quite able to articulate my reasons. Later I’ll realize that I’m doing this because I don’t want any of the kids to think that I changed what I’m wearing just to please them. I’m going to wear what I like, and I’ve decided what I like is brown polyester pants and green dress socks. Forever. Because screw those kids. They suck.
They continue to tease me, but now they’re teasing me for something I’ve chosen. I hate it, but if I won their approval because I started dressing like them, I would feel like I was betraying myself. It would be like admitting they were right.
I am not healthy. I have no appetite. I eat a little when food is given to me, but if nobody brings me food I don’t eat any. I don’t care. I guess I’m just not interested in food.
I’m going to Children’s Hospital on a regular basis. My asthma and allergies are making a mess of my respiratory system. I have an asthma inhaler that I’m supposed to take once or twice a day, and I huff on it a lot more often than that. The doctor gives me pills to help with the asthma, and other pills to help with the allergies, and more pills to counteract the side-effects of the previous pills. In the morning I line up a row of seven different multi-colored pills and send them down, one at a time. Clear ones. Opaque ones. Capsules. Big ones. Tiny ones. It’s a pharmacological rainbow.
I have an appointment at Children’s Hospital on Halloween. During Trick-or-Treat. Well, just BEFORE it, but by the time I get home it will be over. Are these people NUTS? Do they not talk to kids much over there at Children’s Hospital? Are they not aware that Halloween is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT in the life of a kid?
My uncle goes trick-or-treating for me. He’s about thirty, and he goes around the neighborhood with a pillowcase, explaining that he’s getting candy for a kid at Children’s Hospital. I am humbled when he presents me with the candy. I’m old enough to know how goofy it must feel for an adult to do something like that. “Uh, can I have some candy? It’s for a kid. In the hospital. Yeah. That’s why he’s not here. But he’s still healthy enough to eat a pillowcase full of food dye and sugar. Yeah. Thanks.”
I never even asked. He just did it.
The Best of 2019
I called 2019 "The Year of corporate Dystopia". Here is a list of the games I thought were interesting or worth talking about that year.
The Biggest Game Ever
Just how big IS No Man's Sky? What if you made a map of all of its landmass? How big would it be?
Philosophy of Moderation
The comments on most sites are a sewer of hate, because we're moderating with the wrong goals in mind.
Quakecon 2012 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Project Button Masher
I teach myself music composition by imitating the style of various videogame soundtracks. How did it turn out? Listen for yourself.