They talk slick. With some few exceptions, any kid who speaks too adult is either from South Park, a Charles Schulz' character, that annoying enabler neighbor from 'Sleepless In Seattle', or an expert manipulator. The kid with the halting explanations who cannot keep their cool is the truth-teller--unless they are so 'just right' at looking like they're falling apart, they are again the manipulator, but let's go with the first assumption. They hit, they poke, and the adult walks in just in time to see you raise your fist. Either that, or they assume from having seen this so much, by now you, a kid who somehow has POTUS-level authority, should have stopped this yourself. We all know the song, and our glares aren't backed up by telekinesis.

So what's the harm, say the former perpertrators and those who know nothing of it?

One day, I was walking the campus of Stockton State College, circa 1988. I looked down and realized my hand was balled into a fist - and that this was the normal, default way I kept it. By that point it had been six years since my time in the barrel had ended. It took several months of active concentration to break this habit.

A couple of years before that, I had been sleeping while the radio played oldies, something I still do. The radio started playing 'Half-Breed' by Cher, a fairly angry song if you know it. In my dreams, a group of Tomoos and Orphanage Girls I had known were standing in front of my grandma's house, and coming at me. In the dream, I had a shotgun in hand, and I showed no hesitation. I woke up badly scared, wondering when that time's hold on me would end.

To this day, I have a hard time telling when someone is really just joking around and when they're having sport at my expense. It used to be even worse. Friendly or vicious, I would pounce on any comment, which drove away the friendly and amused the vicious.

To the dismissive, I ask : Did you beat up your bully? Because mine ran really fast and always knew who to run to.Do you blame our lawyered-up society? Because my time was well before such prevalence. And finally, do any of you who say no harm no foul have any new lines? Because you bore me.

I'm fully grown, but I've got enough anger that if you want to make one of your self-sufficiency speeches, do so in front of me. It won't go well.

There's a reason for the puppy scene.

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