I’m a putz

Okay, so there was this girl in high school. No, I wasn’t hot for her. She wasn’t very attractive. And now that there are a lot of people I know from high school on Facebook, this’ll probably make it back to her in some way. But it’s more a story about me (aren’t they all?); that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

She was into the Art Thing. Yes, capitalizations come standard with her. She painted pictures of dark representations of people as telephone poles stringing across bland landscapes. She painted pictures that were categorized as “abstract” without, apparently, realizing that abstract art is an *abstraction* of something, not just what you get to call your latest Kindergarten regression. Or that painting idea that didn’t work out.

The goth movement started back around the time I was in high school. Yes, I’m old. She was probably sort of goth, sort of hippie, sort of Punky Brewster.

She annoyed the fuck out of me.

I mean, I was a total dick. Mostly because I get impassioned about so few things. Art being one of them. And I hated her art.

Yes, that’s not an exaggeration. I really thought her works should be fodder for my amusement, stuff that I could tear apart freely. And I did. I didn’t hide what I thought. (“oh, gee, Steve, some things never change.” Shuuut iiiit!)

I wasn’t just a crass shit-for-brains about it, though. Gimme some credit, fucknut. I got class, see? I actually critiqued her work. I analyzed her composition, I hung her pictures upside-down to point out obvious flaws, I looked at movement, use of line and shape and form. We had good conversations about what she did and why.

Hey, I expect the same of my pieces.

To her credit, though, she really listened to what I had to say. She didn’t go all teary eyed and crying for her momma (she did, however, submit a work to the high school literary magazine, Pentimento, called ‘my mother is singing my elegy,’ which I thought was way over the top even for high school goth art chicks. Didn’t stop me from stealing that line when it suits me. No, I don’t know how I remember this shit. It’s a curse. Let’s move on.). I’m still impressed by that today.

But what REALLY got my goat was all the drooling ass monkeys that couldn’t stop tonguing her sphincter over her artwork. “Oh, it’s so… um… good!” “Wow, that’s so… expressive!” “You’re such a… a… good artist!”

Ad infinitum, ad nauseum. In fact, I think I just puked in my mouth a little. You know, when you think it’s a burp but it ends up being all caustic acid stuff and you have to swallow a few times and maybe drink something to wash it back down.

Even the art teacher, Mrs. Hammerman, kissed her ass ALL THE TIME.

So, let’s fast-forward to senior year. Everyone’s happy they’re outta there, moving on, looking forward to making money, going to college, smoking weed all day long, whatever. We’re all signing yearbooks.

My relationship with her had matured, and I felt that, while I still was no fan of her art, I didn’t hate HER, and she HAD improved over the years. See, I’m not such a dick once I’ve abused you for 3 years!

Anyway, here’s what she wrote in my yearbook (edited for length):

“Steve, you are my other self, the realistic, cynical self. The only problem is the large egos we both possess get in the way. I expect to see my other self at my first gallery opening to give me the criticism I deserve – and EVERY ONE ELSE BUT YOU is afraid to give. Good thing they don’t hear us laugh and scowl.”

As soon as I read that, emotions swam through me (yes, I DO have emotions, so shut it): is she serious? Did she wait until the end of senior year to play this trump card to make me feel like a total ass? Was I really that dense (probably)? What should I write in HER yearbook (hmmm… what DID I write in her yearbook?)?

Damn, now I feel like a giant, corn-riddled turd. The big sort that hurts as it first comes out, but then must have tapered off because the rest didn’t feel so bad.

Yes, we did laugh and scowl. But I hadn’t realized that it was as fun for her as it was for me. I really missed an opportunity to laugh and scowl even MORE. But, mostly, and yes, I’m gonna get cheesy and say it, I missed an opportunity to get to know someone that I probably would have liked if I wasn’t too busy stroking myself. Not that we would have dated, but could have hung out and gotten more into the art. Art buddies are so hard to find. Correction: GOOD art buddies are so hard to find.

I’m a putz.