No Peaking

When did you peak? Are you peaking now? (not to be confused with “peeking” “piquing” or “Peking”) Or are you still enroute?

In elementary school there was a beautiful girl named Barbara in my class. She had long, shiny blond hair in which she often wore satin ribbons. She had big blue eyes with long fluttering lashes and wonderfully stylish outfits with a matching pair patent leather MaryJanes for each.

Barbara was an A student. She had a dazzling smile, a peaches and cream complexion and a pleasantly soft, rounded physique. She had tiny boob buds  before anyone else (except Donald, who had full blown bosoms at age 8).  

The teachers all loved Barbara. The boys were all besotted with her. The girls all wanted to be her, or failing that, be her friend. A select few succeeded.

Barbara and I ended up in different junior high schools and met up again in senior high. Barbara was in my home room. But I didn’t know that until attendance was called. I stared. This plain, chunky frump with the glasses, the old-lady perm and bad skin was Barbara? She wandered the halls alone, struggled with school work, faded into the background. Eventually I lost track of her.

Imagine peaking in elementary school?

Or even in  high school? There was another Barbara who was queen bee by then. (What is it with Barbaras?)  Her father was a doctor. Most of the other kids’ fathers were farmers. She was sassy and rich; an athlete extraordinaire. She had the body and face of a supermodel. She travelled with an entourage of male admirers. Except for her two henchwomen, she was the super-nasty alpha bitch around every other female. And cruelly mean to any guy who wasn’t up to her standards.

She was so busy being “all that” that she barely made it through high school, ended up flunking out of community college and getting married to a local farm boy who was once a football star, but turned into a big, disgusting pig.  People who still live in the same town often gleefully report sightings of her. She’s as far away from “all that” as possible these days.

I was never really part of any clique. I always had friends from a variety of the school’s social strata.  I had smart geek friends, weird friends, sporty friends, stoner/artsy friends and even some friends among the popular crowd. I was never a great student, but I had fun and got involved in stuff.

 In university, I suddenly came into my own. I got A’s all over the place. I was editor of our student newspaper. I was elected student rep to the university’s Board of Directors. I won awards and scholarships. I had a ton of friends. I had energy out the wazoo – going to school, working almost full time, writing for the paper, partying until the wee hours.

So I reckon that was my peak. Not a bad time to peak, I guess. Though it would have been nice to save all that energetic peaking for my career where it would have at least earned me fame and fortune. But, meh…it is what it is.

Life has dipped and levelled off since then. It’s not a bad thing. I couldn’t have kept up that intensity of activity for long anyway. I may have another, less frantic high somewhere down the road, though. Who knows?

It’s interesting the paths people’s lives take. The kids we were so envious of back in the day – who had it all; who made other kids’ lives a misery — are usually leading very ordinary and even unenviable lives now.

Many of the geeks that had an awful time growing up are now wealthy, successful, happy people. (Except for those who were so damaged by bullying that they became serial killers and are now re-living their high school torments in prison).

Something to remember when our kids come home in tears because they’ve suffered at the hands of some school-aged social star.