It’s May here in Indiana, and my thoughts have turned to high school and graduation. Everything’s Relative, that was the phrase we used when I was in high school.
We all go through periods of adjustment. Adjustment is part of growing up, it can be compounded or confounded by any of a number of things. In eighth grade we moved from northern Indiana, Lake County, to central, rural Indiana. That meant a new school. Now, I wasn’t especially fond of the school that I left, it was in a town other than where I lived, so neighbors/friends were limited.
I learned about “clicks” in this rural community. Friends/groups had been established here since birth. You broke into the click if you were the best student, the best athlete, or the best farmer………. I was none of these. In the middle or latter part of the eighth grade, I felt really disconnected. There was a TV show I identified with, the name escapes me, but the good-looking guy was always the center of attention, had the cute girl friend and the best lines. He had a straight man who was homely, the gofer and always in the back ground, MAX. I identified with Max, I even wrote Max on my winter coat…..just call me Max. In the musical, Chicago, one fantastic song that I can relate to is “Mr. Cellophane”.
As I went through high school, the “homies” still clicked, and the loosely formed “outsiders” hung on the fringes. I was outgoing, but often my comments were for effect rather than knowledge based. I wasn’t necessarily studious, truly, studious wasn’t in my vocab. I could read it (well maybe I was just looking at it) , but keeping it inside my head was a problem…I really never connected with the desire to focus on the study. (That would come YEARS later) And yet the friends I wanted to “hang” with were the Honor Roll kids.
Every generation has its “catch” phrase, Been There Done That!! Ours was “everything’s relative”. I must have used it a lot, for somewhere in that time I obtained a book, whether by gift or purchase I no longer remember: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. (I still have that book, and “glanced” at it last week -to begin this story).
I began carrying that book with me every day at school, I opened it and looked at it like I was reading it. Actually, I really did start reading it, what a bunch of chicken scratching mathematical formulas. Math and I never developed a friendship; interestingly, I became a CPA in real life, a tax accountant. Anyway, me and Albert began a relationship, one of being carried around the school (him being carried, not me) . My self-esteem may have been boosted, but only in my mind, because my school mates sat in math class with me and knew my ability, or lack thereof.
As result of my studious habits and my buddy Albert, I graduated Valedictorian………well, actually, I was “Valedictorian” of the lower half of my graduating class, there were as many people below me as above me….dead middle.
How life continues to change. I never liked reading or learning…..and now I enjoy both….although I still see limits to comprehension……. But Albert said that “…viewing the speed of a moving object is relative to your position to it. When you are standing by the railroad tracks watching a train pass by, it appears to be going faster, than when you’re on a hillside, watching the same train.” I may not know the formula, but I got ONE of his concepts on relativity—–yep, me and Albert…..we’re a team.
Maybe I’ll get that book out again and take another look at it………..or at least carry it around. 🙂