Memoir of a Liar: Coming of Age

Chapter Fifth: The Requisite Coming of Age Chapter

Every memoir has an episode where the hero is ushered into the harsh realities of adulthood by some event so traumatic that it leaves its imprint on the resulting adult.

Fortunately, I have been able to block that entire time period from my memory, for the most part. I suspect I was taking drugs then, which certainly would account for the memory loss.

Happily, such episodes can be manufactured out of nothing more than teen angst and a soundtrack of top forties hits from the seventies and eighties.

The truth is that all teenagers are exactly alike. All believe themselves uniquely special and feel misunderstood and oppressed. Look inside any teenage diary and you will understand what I mean.

Generic Teen Diary: First Entry

This is just a place for me to get my thoughts out! So I had to delete my old diary because my mom found it and didn’t like what I said!!! So she like read it and everything!!!! But she doesn’t know about this one lol!

So OMG I’m in love! u know i like this guy but he already have a girlfriend and worst he doesnt even no im here or exist!!! Anywayz…

I apologize to any readers who may happen to be teenagers. Just kidding lol. You assume correctly: I was a loser. Whether I still deserve the L, I leave for you to judge.

Anywayz. This episode could be about how my parents were killed in a car crash just as I was entering adolescence and as a result I joined a gang to get revenge on the rival gang that killed my brother. But I learned the hard way that revenge can never bring back the dead and we all just have to live our lives one day at a time, keeping our chins up and our noses to the grindstone as we hit the ground running.

Next, I could solve the murder of my parents’ death, which was no accident, and find out years later that they were actually alive but had been unable to contact me because they were in witness protection. That’s when I learned that they were vampires.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

In high school, I was pressured into joining a rogue gang of AV geeks. We were theoretical terrorists. By that I mean that we talked a lot about how stupid everyone else was and how geeks would one day rule the world because we alone would know how to fix computers.

We called ourselves Intellectuals For Violence. Our philosophy was: Stupid people are dangerous; we need to be dangerous too.

What I mostly remember about I4V — as we planned to style ourselves in the graffiti we planned to paint on overpasses but never did because we didn’t like heights — what I remember is that we did other students’ homework for a fee. We were saving up for something big.

What that something big would be, we couldn’t decide. We needed to make a statement, to send a warning that the smart people were fighting back.

Lesko thought we should mix up all the card catalogs in the library, but Gage pointed out that nobody used them anyway.

He wanted to make bombs, but this was before you could find such things on the internet, and none of us had any idea what we would need, other than orange juice, which Lesko said was what they used to make napalm. We tried mixing it with vodka from my parents’ liquor cabinet, which was fun but ultimately unproductive.

We wrote a couple threatening notes in Latin and sent them to the newspaper, but they didn’t print them. I’m guessing that they didn’t even translate them, which is probably a good thing since we had to make up a lot of words that weren’t in Cassell’s Latin Dictionary. It’s not like you can ask your Latin teacher how to say, “Death to Jocks! We have placed a bomb in the boys’ locker room.” That was pretty much it; we couldn’t figure out what we ought to demand in return for revealing the imaginary bomb’s location.

Eventually the school bought VCRs and the AV club was disbanded. I retain no scars from the entire episode, just a lingering sense of disappointment and a taste for screwdrivers.

Note: technically, this should be Chapter Second. I just don’t feel like going back and renumbering everything. Consider this a flashback.

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