The minute you become categorized by someone else, you lose all sense of individuality and originality in their eyes. For most people, I give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them the “Tabula Rasa” they deserve when they meet me. When I know someone, the person I know is always characterized by their name (of course), worldview, sense of humor, favorite song(s), favorite quotes, and simplest of all; their connection to me on a personal or intimate level. I don’t need anything else to see them as a person in my eyes, and as long as it remains on friendly terms that way I will always be able to tell the difference between them and the sheep I lead to slaughter.
That’s why it confuses me when I run into a guy I knew from the beginning of high school, and instead of asking the impromptu question of “Hey! How are you?”, I am met with a pitiful nod and the ridiculously insulting inquiry of “…Never thought you’d turn out to be a stoner”. First off, the most obvious statement to be made would have to be that I don’t smoke; contrary to popular belief, I’m rather straight edge. The second of which would be to question what kind of illogical imagery was thrust into his head that caused him to blurt out such a pointlessly absurd and groundless assumption. I can only assume that it was my long hair, and rather grim expression at this point that would’ve led him to such a conclusion.
I’m a relatively nice guy, and the idea that someone would throw me into the same circle as the kids who sit in their garage listening to Pink Floyd while trying to find a show that becomes more entertaining while high is worse than a kick in the throat. If I had less self-control than I do, I would’ve replied with a simple “Yeah, and I never thought you’d turn out to be a pedophile” as I nod back and walk off with a smug expression. Unfortunately for me, I do have self-control and I simply retorted with “Heh, no. Weed and I are not on friendly terms” as he chuckled to his idiotic self. Apparently, he had children waiting in the trunk though because he decided then it was time to get out of the conversation quickly and say “well, I gotta go”, as he back pedaled down a tiny hallway that lead to fuck knows what mini-van.
It stuck with me though. The moron actually had the intellectual capacity necessary to muster a thought, and when the light finally flickered to a dim glow; the thought that manifested was that I belonged to the tool population of green obsessed slackers that generally manage to do a fuck-ton of nothing important. It boggles my mind still, considering I knew this guy really well all the way up until sophomore year, and there’s little to no reason for him to imply anything such as that. I don’t THINK that I’ve never caused turmoil upon his life. The people who fall under my “damage done” category are long since gone, and the rest are in the ground. I don’t think I ever cheated him out of anything serious, nor did I ever inflict bodily harm to him for any such reason. Which is why it also confuses me that he would be so eager to leave the scene so rapidly, unless he:
1) honestly felt he offended me;
or 2) had a serious grievance against me, and this encounter was detrimental to his health and mental stability. (more likely)
Oh well. At least I was correct in assuming that it’s difficult to be able to count on anyone to not change their opinion of you over time, no matter the connection.
Stereotypes are dangerous things. They are what kept you and many people you know at that ONE single table during your school days. They are what creates separate circles of children all across the world and what causes them to despise other circles of people they’ve never even met. Stereotypes ensure that bullying and discrimination as whole will be a perpetual issue, in multiple different degrees of severity. People have to stop treating their social life and worldview as if it’s a vanity controlled treasure chest securely locked away in a fortress. It makes close-minded husks appear all over, and soon group-think is the only idea left to turn to. You have to reach out to others those around you fear and despise, because chances are they aren’t going to reach out to you. You need to get to know everyone you’ve cared to disregard up until this point, because otherwise you’re going to be a miserable sheep in idiot’s clothing. I’m not saying throw your moral compass overboard so you can hang out with the “thugs” and “preps”. I’m just saying to broaden your horizons when it comes to seeking friendship or intelligent life elsewhere on the planet. It’s scarce enough already, and the last thing we need is an army of “copies of imitations” flaunting the idea that it’s okay to shun others because of their clothing, appearance, taste, or viewpoint. Religion does that, and you can see the excellent track record religious people have of trying to destroy everything they are afraid of.
These walls are protecting us!
burn them to the ground.
This haven of refuge…
BURN IT TO THE GROUND!
-Jake ( a non-conformist metal-head, stoner resembling hippie look-alike, with an undisputed attitude and free thought)