Jumping From The Ladder

Perhaps it is because I am weird, but I think about the social totem pole that I have, with no say on my part, become fully and totally integrated in. I think about who is at the top, who is at the bottom, where I am, where my friends are. I think about the physical features of those at the top—the boys lean and tall and athletic and the girls pretty and usually quite fond of leggings, yoga pants, and revealing V-Necks—and I think about the physical features of those at the bottom—mostly overweight, long-haired, jean-wearing, and almost always some physical abnormality that sets them apart from everyone else.

I think about where I stand. Am I a bottomfeeder? Do I eat lunch in the library? In the corner? Or am I a predator, a football player, a hunter? Do I walk down the halls like I own the place? Do I party on the weekends? Get wasted? Have sex? The answer is no. To both of these. After countless periods staring off into space and considering life as a teacher is lecturing us on sines, cosines, and tangents, I have decided once and for all where my place is. I am in the middle, not on the outside looking in or the inside looking out, but on the very circle itself, indifferent one way or the other. I know people in high places and I know people in low places, but my true crowd are those that, like me, are on the circle as well.

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Those I truly relate to are those who condense themselves within the community of the Polo-wearers, the book-worms, the athletes, the computer geeks and, somehow, create a separate circle where everyone is welcome, regardless of gender, color, physicality, parent’s income, athletic prowess and, above all else, the clothes you wear. Because, you see, I’ve noticed a trend amongst those on the inside looking snobbishly out. They wear Polo. It is not just most of them—they all do. Perhaps it is due to their parents being doctors and lawyers and business executives and whatnot, so thus they wear the ‘nicest’ clothes, or perhaps it is just because they are naturally gifted athletically but, as a prerequisite to enjoying the benefits of being an athlete, Polo or, at the very least, a nice, ironed collared shirt, must be worn almost exclusively (the only exceptions to this rule are school attire, football jerseys on Fridays, or articles of clothing with sports teams or universities printed on it).

Now, there are, of course, those who are not all that athletic or popular or even wealthy that wear Polo—they wear it simply to look nice. And these people are my friends. One of my best friends in the world, who I will not name but I am fairly certain he knows who he is, often wears Polo and he wears it with pride. He doesn’t wear it because he has to in order to fit in with the ruling posse at school; he wears it because that’s what he wants to wear. And I can appreciate and respect that. Even those athletes who do not fit the athletic stereotype I associate with and proudly call my friends.

Now, will I become one like them? Will I, too, for some odd reason, take up football and don Ralph Lauren? No, of course not. Football, like Polo and drinking and wild partying, is not and will never be my thing. I do not want to be at the top; I do not want to be king. I want to be me. And, the lower down we go, the farther away from the inner group of teens we get, the more we see this. Individuality, not a mob mentality, becomes the name of the game.

Polo becomes less and less frequent, replaced by jeans and hoodies and Vans and glasses and, finally, Brony shirts and leather jackets. I, too, associate with these people and rather enjoy their company. Just today, I went to writing club even though I wasn’t even supposed to go there in the first place, due to a scheduling mishap on my part that led to me being left at school with an hour of free time and no ride home. There was the most intriguing girl there. I told her about my novel and she was one of the few people I have ever met that seemed genuinely interested in it. We had an in depth discussion about the publishing process and how personal experiences can so greatly affect your writing and all that jazz.

I can honestly say it was the highlight of my week thus far. I’m digressing, though. While Polo may be a way of life, a defining characteristic of their social status, it is not who I am or who I want to be. I am a person that does not judge, that accepts you no matter what you believe or what you look like or your sexuality or anything like that. Humility is something I cherish and value more than just about anything else.

If you are kind, if you are humble, if you go out of your way to get to know someone, regardless of if he or she wears Polo and plays football or eats lunch in the library and spends their weekends on a computer, then you are already a friend of mine. And I hope to see you around soon.