I'm not sure where this post will go. It started off as a dusting off of an older piece of writing, about times when I've said thing I shouldn't, or didn't say things that I needed to. It's a good piece--one of my favorites--and really didn't require enough brushing up today for me to feel like it was really slicing.
But in the piece, I reference some childhood memories, which brought me to pulling up Facebook and looking up some names from elementary and middle school. The school where I went from Pre-K through high school had a pretty high turnover rate from middle to high school, so a good deal of people who I was fairly close to (and some, less so) up through eighth grade have no long since fallen off my radar. In the early days of Facebook, several manically friended me or vice versa, but we have, since, re-cut those false ties.
At any rate, this all got me thinking (and Facebook stalking) about how other people grow up, especially when you're not around to see it. Some faces I recognized immediately, almost unchanged from junior high. The awkwardness and chubby cheeks that I assumed would fade were still clearly present, and it was like I was looking in an old yearbook. Others were a much bigger stretch--such that I can only be somewhat sure I found the right Martin Ryan, there being so many of them.
Martin's the one who got me thinking in this direction, truth be told. Of the people I'd like a second shot with, he'd be high up on my list. Don't get me wrong, nothing romantic, but he was one of those kids who was really smart and really interesting as a fifth-grader, and didn't care that those things made him a social pariah in the politics of junior high. Had I gotten over myself and been friends with him, I think I would have been a better person for it. It wasn't that I was ever mean to him--I don't recall being mean, anyway--but I was never particularly nice, let alone friendly. I bet he became a fascinating guy as an adult, assuming high school didn't get the best of him (as it did for many of us). And if the profile I found is the same Martin I knew--it's close enough that I'd buy it, anyway--then let's just say he grew out of his awkward gangliness and big glasses. Good for him--I'm honestly glad, and I hope that his life dramatically improved upon getting out of middle school (again, as it did for many of us). I hope he's living proof that the weirdest kids in junior high make the most interesting adults, and that his friends and family now make it hard for him to remember how hard life was in 1995.
Like I say, I don't know where this was going, but it's what I've been thinking about for the last hour or so, thus, SLICE.