As an adolescent, I bonded with a Japanese Maple tree outside the window of my sixth grade classroom. Some of the curriculum was a bit on the dry side. So, I semi crossed my eyes and tranced out on said gorgeous little tree, and went pretty much into my own world. I swung through the concrete canyons of Manhattan with Spiderman from web to web, I sacked Spanish galleons on the high seas with Sir Francis Drake, and I kissed a variety of sixth grade hotties in the seas of shrubbery astride Glenbrook Middle School, all in my mind's eye while contemplating my leafy friend.
"Steven, you are stupid", announced twelve year old Diane Kwartler. "You're always staring out the window when you should be listening to the lesson". Harsh! Diane was speaking from a point of view drilled into her by her mom, probably a stay at home mom who was whip smart, frustrated by her lack of engagement in the world at large, hamstrung by a pre-women's liberation culture, Wellesley educated then married off to rot in the suburbs.
Diane's cold assessment of my mental faculties was only a bit tempered by her sultry, heavy lidded eyes, full lips and tiny skirt. Yup, she was a full on sixth grade babe, but so clearly out of my league... or was she??? Why would she tell me I was stupid if she didn't really, really like me?
Mrs. Tasgal, my sixth grade teacher, clearly did not agree with Diane in any case. She gave me five "A"s and one "B", and was impressed by my creative approach to an essay assignment entitled "I am the rug in School". I was deeply chagrined that I was one of the only kids who failed to write a clever story about the daily insult of being walked all over, and generally muddied up. I wrote a sordid tale of Mr. Texiera (the vice principal and all around hatchet man) being a communist spy; as the rug, I was privy to all his communication with the Kremlin and duly turned his sorry ass over to the authorities.
I was quite surprised that Mrs. Tasgal announced that my essay was the best in the class! Even Diane Kwartler demurely smiled my way.
By now, you may be asking, what do Steve's grade six stories have to do with being a self employed Bohemian? Pretty obvious lesson here I guess. If you march to the beat of a different drummer, have an active fantasy life while everyone else is diagraming sentences, and generally seek to subvert hierarchy early and often, congratulations! Move to the head of the boho self employed queue. You are thinking for yourself and have your own agenda to serve. So serve it.
By the way, just before I graduated Glenbrook Middle School, Mr. Texiera, the vice principal, also felt compelled to inform me that I was stupid, and would end up in prison to boot! But that's another story, having to do with Mrs. Miller (the young math teacher) having such shapely legs that I was compelled to throw peanut M&M's at her head in the cafeteria. I duly note that, in my life so far, I have spent only one night in jail, having to do with typical drunken collegiate shenanigans. Hopefully, that will be the sum total of my time behind bars.
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