War of the Cliques

Here’s the obligatory disclaimer. Jeez, these are getting tiring. Just to disprove any thoughts of my senility and lack of depth, I have told this story many a time to people at school already, so don’t comment saying that I’m repeating myself. I’m fully aware.

Throughout the years, my social level has slowly been rising. This “throughout the years” garbage started at the beginning of 3rd grade, when I left Fremont, in the east San Francisco Bay Area, and moved with my mom to Marin.

It could have been that these elementary years were crucial in conforming to the social norm, and my abrupt placement into a whole different set of kids threw me off. Gone were the ages of pretending I was Sonic the Hedgehog, riding the swift currents of the Labrynth Zone, with my best friends by my side. (They went by the names of Silver Sonic, Tails, and Emerald Sonic. 1st Grade is an appropriate age to manipulate Sonic characters *ahem cough sprite comics*)

Instead, I made a social living off drawing pictures of Sonic the Hedgehog. My first year in Marin was spent doing requested artwork. I had lots of friends, and I was the strange yet alluring new kid.

Then I started hanging out with the “wrong crowd.”

In came Simeon, Arthur, and Jeff, two of whom have appeared in my comic. They quickly became my best friends. My first continuous comic series, the Video Game H.Q. (made in 4th grade, hence the childish name), starred Arthur and me, and Jeff and Simeon made frequent visits. You can tell by the name of the comic (and by Simeon’s behavior in his comic – he’s the guy in the 4th frame) that we were the nerd group at our elementary school. My social level was set. From then on, no matter what I embarked on, be it soccer practice or be it summer camp, I was always seen as the “nerd.” This cut into my self-esteem, and for many years, I was depressed.

Then came more friends. I found out that I wasn’t alone. Knowing that many around me have gone through the same social placement (some may say “rejection,” but factoring in the concept of cliques, no one is really rejected), my self-esteem slowly came back. By mid-high school, I was in high spirits once again, and to this day, my friend base is steadily growing.

But… the world refused to change.

Although I have so many friends nowadays, that doesn’t really mean that I’ve reached beyond my clique. There are those out there who watch me and others from afar, giddly pricking us as our backs are turned. The other cliques have evolved as well.

“JEFFREY FAGGIN’!” someone shouted as they had stumbled upon the new, beckoning, mysterious word. My 6th grade body turned toward them, and tears welled up in my eyes. I wasn’t a “fag!” How dare they take my name and ridicule me like that! Now that “Faden” sounds like “Faggot,” this name will follow me ’till doomsday!

A year later, I noticed how stupid that name is, and I shrugged it off.

A year ago, I heard it again.

The jock clique, having retracted back into itself and resorted to potty humor and childish behavior for laughs and social advancement, has rediscovered the art of name-calling. I am once again a pseudonym, this time going under the name “Jeffrey Faded.” They have also conjured up the new, hilarious name for my occasional lunchtime activity – “ADDDDDDR,” or “Attention Deficit Disorder Dungeons and Dragons Dance Dance Revolution.”

This time, I would not cry and hide myself. I, in all of my glory, would initiate battle with the jock clique.

The current status of the war is as follows:

First wave of complete ignorance has failed. The jocks still insist on the name calling.

Second wave of retortion was aborted. Finding any name to call them would be stooping down to their level. Historically, this has failed.

Third wave is currently in action. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This seems to be working. I have perfected my 50’s Sitcom Father Laugh – perhaps in the near future, I will have slicked hair and a pipe to go along with it. I use this to counterattack when the usual names appear. “Ha! Ha! Ha! Jeffrey Faded, that sure is a swell play on my name! How frightfully clever! I think I will use it myself!” The official adoption of pseudonym Jeffrey Faded has taken place. If this doesn’t dumb down the overuse of this term, I will go to even higher extremes. Maybe I could make a shirt that says “Jeffrey Faden D Loves to Play ADDDDDDR!” If that doesn’t get them to back down and realize how stupid their name calling is, then it’s onto the fourth wave of actual physical violence, which I’m sure will not happen.

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