Anghold says “it seems completely *unbelievable* that you were the ‘type’ of kid that would shove people around,” but it’s true. I used to push kids off bikes, and worse. I’ve kicked girls in the groin. I spent a great deal of my elementary education standing in the hall or in the principal’s office. I’m sure my mother could elucidate with stories. Then, in junior high and senior high, I went from dishing out the bullying to taking it. In fact as I recall Chris Woods was sticking up for me once in a while, because I sure as hell didn’t do it myself. I generally just soaked up the shoving, and the pebbles being thrown at me, and the being hit in the head with a half eaten orange (yes, some of the lyrics to “Big Robot Dinosaur” come from real life experience), and continued staring at the ground.
I really have no idea what I would be like today in that kind of a situation – it’s been a while since I’ve been “picked on.” If somebody was beating up a friend of mine – would I jump in with my art-fag fists flailing uselessly about like half-full bags of coloured marshmallows? Or would I curl up into a ball repeating “this is not happening” over and over? I have been a pacifist for so long that I can’t think of bringing myself to violence, even for my own protection. But I imagine adrenaline might take over and then I’d come to my senses on the witness stand being asked “and isn’t it true that on the 13th day of February you willingly and with malice aforethought throttled this poor little old lady to within an inch of her life using this very bike chain?”
And I certainly don’t bully anyone around. Well, except for the VGG volunteers, but only because I know they love it. But it makes me think about how different people can become over time. When I was a teen and in my twenties my mantra was “I hate kids.” People would say to me “but you used to be a kid once” and of course the proper response was “yeah, and I was awful so I know what I’m talking about.” Ha! They didn’t expect that one!
Maybe I’m in the minority and most people don’t change as an individual as markedly as I have. I would say that I’m quite different now than I was even in my early twenties. I’m still an atheist, I’m still pretty cynical, but I’m not quite the nihilist and misanthrope that I was in my college days. I’d like to think that I’m more mellow, tolerant, open-minded, confident, yaddayadda. I look back on things I’ve done – lyrics I’ve written, relationships I’ve taken for granted – and I realize how I would not do things the same today. And maybe that’s the benefit of wisdom or maybe it’s just because I am inherently a different person than I used to be courtesy of Father Time.
I’d be interested to hear how others perceive how time has changed their personality.