If people ever ask me, ‘what was your most formative experience growing up’ (Though, let’s face it, it is pretty unlikely anyone will ask me that). I will point to my experience of going through puberty from the ages of 12-14, stopping, and then beginning again from 19-21.
Beyond having the laziest human body on the planet, I will also direct them to the website, Stuff White People Like. I would have been 20 years old when I discovered the website while I sat waiting for puberty to restart so my parents would let me go outdoors again (“Just think, people will talk”).
Clicking through the blog made me smug, “Ha, look at all these poor white saps thinking they are special and different, luckily I am not like these people”. After reading a handful of the posts I was content that I had established my own individuality for the evening. “I will keep reading tomorrow”, I thought to myself, “after all its not like I am going to hit puberty tonight”.
Still chuckling to myself, I shut my macbook, sipped my coffee and opened my moleskine to write about the funny blog I had just read ‘Dear Diary, today I read a funny blog, thank god I am not like those people. Also, those herbal suppositories I bought on the internet are not helping restart puberty, note to self double dosage of herbal suppositories. Speaking of which they aren’t going to rectally ingest themselves, best get to it.
I opened my closet to fetch out the bocce ball bag in which I kept my medicine. I caught sight of myself reflected in the mirror that was affixed to the closet door and froze. Since finishing Harry Potter, I had always avoided staring for too long into mirrors but I couldn’t help it this time.
I was staring into the eyes of a pasty young man wearing a garish vintage sweater bought for $2 at a goodwill store (probably at the expense of a homeless person who was now freezing to death in the street, sweaterless). I put my hands to my face, feeling my cheeks as if to check that it was real. I began tugging at my sweater muttering, ‘no, no, no’. I let out a loud howl, but thanks to my half-pubescent state what came out was more of a girly shriek, “Eeeeeeeeeeeek!!!”. I tore the sweater straight down the middle revealing an American Apparel t-shirt with the words, ‘Legalize Gay’ printed across it. I started frantically tearing clothes from my closet throwing each item over his shoulder as I went, printed on each was something like, ‘Penny Farthings R Cool’, ‘Gameboy’, ‘Ironic’. “Fuck! Who owns so many kitschy t-shirts?”. I flashed back to the website I had just been reading, ‘the ideal shirt will have a funny logo, a year attached to it, and will be as thin as rice paper.’
Another girly shriek rung out as I spun around and stormed over to my desk. ‘Not me, not me. I am different!’ I swept the David Sedaris novel that lay open on my desk onto the floor. I grasped at a stack of New Yorker articles that I had printed off but never read tossing them high into the air, ‘I’ll never fucking read these!’ I shouted.
Grabbing an empty micro-brew beer bottle that was proudly displayed on my bookshelf I spun around and faced the mirror depicting a wild-eyed young man. I hurled the bottle at him, “I AM NOT WHITE, I AM DIFFERENT” I screamed, my voice breaking as I did. The beer bottle hurtled across the room and hit the mirror. It didn’t smash, it ricocheted back at me, hitting me straight in the head, I reeled backwards tripping over my own feet and fell onto my back with a thud.
Everything went quiet. I lay there, a lump on my head, my floor strewn with vintage t-shirts, David Sedaris novels and herbal suppositories. And as pages and pages of unread New Yorker articles gently floated down around me I realised something.
I was just another white (quasi-pubescent) man.