“In one scene, Johnny Depp wears a Justin Bieber shirt at a Lakers game and sits next to Al Pacino, who is dressed like a rabbi. Shaquille O’Neal licks a ham while wearing a long-haired wig. Pacino, playing Don Quixote, attacks a ceiling fan with a spear at a Morton’s Steakhouse. Regis Philbin exclaims that he has diarrhea. Norm Macdonald plays a character named Funbucket. Whenever Jill (Sandler in drag) gets upset, she runs into the woods (in the middle of Los Angeles), where Otto, the homeless caddy from Happy Gilmore, lives. A parakeet drinks Jack Daniels.”—http://splitsider.com/2011/11/i-watched-jack-and-jill-so-you-dont-have-to/
This is on a bus back from camp. I’m 13 and so are you. Before I left for camp I imagined it’d be me and three or four other dudes I hadn’t met yet running around all summer and getting into trouble. It turned out it’d be me and just one girl. That’s you.
We’re still at camp as long as we’re on the bus and not at the pickup point where our parents would be waiting for us. We’re still wearing our orange camp T-shirts. We still smell like pine needles. I like you, and you like me, and I more than like you but I don’t know if you do or don’t more than like me. You’ve never said. So I haven’t been saying anything all summer content to enjoy the small miracle of a girl choosing to talk to me, and choosing to do so again the next day and so on. A girl who’s smart and funny, and who if I say something dumb for a laugh is willing to say something two or three times as dumb to make me laugh, but who also gets weird or wise sometimes in a way I could never be. A girl who reads books that no one’s assigned to her, whose curly brown hair has a line running through it where she put a tie to hold it up while it’s still wet.
Back in the real world we don’t go to the same school, and unless one of our families moves to a dramatically different neighborhood, we won’t go to the same high school. So, this is kind of it for us. Unless I say something. And it might especially be it for us if I actually do say something.
The sun’s gone down and the bus is quiet and we’re talking in whispers about a tree we saw at a rest stop that looks like a kid we know. And then I’m like, “Can I tell you something?” And all of the sudden I’m telling you. And I keep telling you. It all comes out of me and it keeps coming and your face is there and gone and there and gone as we path underneath the orange lamps that line the sides of the highway. And there’s no expression on it. And I think just after a point I’m just talking to lengthen the world where you haven’t said “yes” or “no” yet, and regrettably I end up using the word destiny. I don’t remember in what context, doesn’t really matter. Before long I’m out of stuff to say and you smile and say “Ok”. I don’t know exactly what you mean by it but it seems vaguely positive and I would leave in order not to spoil the moment but there’s nowhere to go because we’re on a bus. So I pretend like I’m asleep and before long I really am.
I wake up, and the bus isn’t moving anymore, the dome lights that line the center aisle are on. I turn and you aren’t there, but then again a lot of kids aren’t in their seats anymore. We’re parked at a pick-up point, which is in the parking lot of a Methodist church. The bus is half empty, you might be in your dad’s car by now, your bags and things piled high in the trunk. The girls in the back of the bus are shrieking and laughing and taking their sweet time disembarking as I swing my legs out in the aisle to get out of the bus just as one of them reaches my row. That used to be our row. On our way off.
It’s Michelle, a girl who got suspended from third grade for a week after throwing rocks at my head. Adolescence is doing her a ton of favors body wise. She stops and looks down at me, and her head is blasted from behind by the dome lights so I can’t really see her face but I can see her smile. And she says one word, “Destiny”. Then her and the girls clogging the aisles belong her all laugh and she turns and leads them off the bus. I didn’t even know you were friends with them. I find my dad in the parking lot, he drives me back to our house and camp is over. So is summer, even though there’s two weeks until school starts.
This isn’t a story how girls are evil or love is bad. This is a story about how I learned something, and I’m not saying this thing is true or not I’m just saying it’s what I learned. I told you something it was just for you and you told everybody. So I learned to cut out the middle man and make it all for everybody, always. Everybody can’t turn around and tell everybody, everybody already knows, I told them. If this means there isn’t a place in my life for you or someone like you, is it sad? Sure. But it’s a sadness I chose.
I wish I could say this was a story about how I got on the bus and got off a man, more cynical, hardened, and mature and shit. But that’s not true. The truth is I got off the bus a boy, and I never got off the bus. I still haven’t.
”—Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, ends his last song That Power with a spoken word poem. It’s the end of his newest album, Camp, and though the songs are amazing, this is equally beautiful too. And no one does this. (via cliffclinton)
“Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.”—David McCullough (He continues: “We all know the old expression, “I’ll work my thoughts out on paper.” There’s something about the pen that focuses the brain in a way that nothing else does.”)
What I’m not saying is that the posting of the Judge Adams beating his daughter video is a bad thing - the act in the video is clearly criminal, and simply because he hasn’t faced consequences for 7 years doesn’t mean that he should be exempt now. I’m glad there’s a precedent for this sort of thing now, because it’s a social possibility that didn’t exist a week ago.
What I’m also not saying is that I think there’s a moral absolute. I don’t believe in God, but I believe in the internet, and the internet is made up of moral and immoral judgement. And action based on those judgements to “ruin” somebody often seem arbitrary.
This time I think they got it right.
My question is: What implications does this incident (or the like, such as the Harvard e-mail case discussed in Ms. Hill’s article) have in your life? What are you worried might come back to haunt you in ten years? How do you plan to behave in a world where every action may be recorded and used against you in some undisclosed way (say, your worst moment is the first thing anyone sees when they Google you) at some future juncture? What do you think about the idea of the internet as witness and moral judge of behavior?