A Work-in-Progress Memoir
18+ Dear World, I got my first "real" job, as opposed to what would today be called the gig economy, when I was fifteen. My mother was a high school guidance counselor and one of the English teacher's husband half-owned a comic book store and needed help. She asked my mother to hang a sign in the guidance office and moms grabbed it for me. It's always who, not what you know.
The year was 1990. Don't be fooled by the numerics, it was still fully the Reagan 80's. Cultural decades used to overlap numeric by a few years. I imagine the whole mindset of cultural decades has run its course, but I'm not connected with youth culture any more. There's nothing like spending your adolescence drowning in cartoons to encourage adult thinking.
I was already there anyway. I was raised atheist outside of society and grew up without a sibling, cousin, friend, or culture. Just two narcissistic parents who are still mostly out to lunch. I say my culture was "people who write books", and they come in all flavors. As books are a slow-moving medium, in 1990 almost all of what was available was still (mostly dead) white men, but it's not the fault of the white guys. Most are worthy writers just trying to keep body and soul apart. Not enough writers aren't broke, or have any influence in the real world at all, to blame, like, Stephen King for the nature of the publishing biz. You can't say he doesn't have it, or isn't a decent person.
Me being totally feral and clueless, I didn't even know there were boy books and girl books growing up. My first introduction to puberty in more than a biological fashion was a book called "Whatever Happened to Fat Glenda", which I imagine wouldn't fly at all today. I started on Stephen King in 2nd grade—"Firestarter" caught my eye, and the first time I read it I identified with Charlie, not Daddy. I carried a Zippo etched with "Pyro" for a decade before I lost it. I was onto "The Executioner's Song" by 4th grade and read the one that set the Columbine kids off, "Rage", over the summer between fourth and fifth.
It's probably good I didn't have access to firearms. I was aware enough to break an arm patting myself on the back for getting the humor in "The World According to Garp" in fifth. I liked fifth grade. Mrs. O'Hara let me read my own book under the desk. I was excellent at quietly finding cracks through which to slip.
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