Hello all, this is very long (Its the shorter version of a to-be-written work). However, I encourage all of you to read it. Even if only one person reads it, my mission is accomplished. Still, I would hope that all of my friends here will give it a chance. I think that it might be interesting to some people. I am not a very good speaker, I know, but I very much want to write this, for there is very few other places where I can express my views in their entirety and know that at least someone will listen. Also, this message comes at the request of a few people, because there are people here that think Im the next kid who will take a gun to school and end lives, because there are people here that just think Im a real jerk, and there are people that Ive been so to, and I apologize. I would also like to apologize for the fact that I may have had a part in the fact that everyone on these boards seem to be at each others throats now. I do not know if I will continue to post new messages in these forums...I believe that I have not only overstayed my welcome but destroyed some of the furniture as well.<P>To start, I am indeed a junior in HS. This allows me to know somewhat more about todays teens than what most of you think you do. This is not an insult, or a personal attack...but somehow I think that I, and Brahmsian, could do a better job of describing HS activites since thats where we have the pleasure of spending every day. I do play the french horn, and have since the start of ninth grade. On the NYSMMA (New York State Music something Association, or somethin like that) scale, I am a level five...the levels go from 1 to 6, then All-State. My teacher is Mrs. Dalpiaz, a very nice woman indeed.<P>Contrary to what most of you probably believe, I am not one of the goth kids who, by popular definition, are strange. I listen to classical music because I like it; I do not listen to popular music because I dont like it. I do not wear company logos on my clothing because I refuse to be a walking billboard. I do not sit in the corner plotting the deaths of my classmates. Furthermore, a the end of my freshman year, I was ranked 2nd...after my sophomore, 5th. However, that in itself does not vouch for my sanity; I added it simply for completeness.<P>However, like someone pointed out before, I am not "popular"...I believe it was serge who said I do not properly socialize, and by all accounts this is true. Nor am I unpopular...it is sort of a middle ground where no one will talk to you in a crowd, but if you strike up a conversation most people wont try to get away from you. Honestly, I think it sucks. I know that it is never preferable to be disliked...however, there is a quote by someone whose name escapes me, which says "To be loved is to be fortunate, but to be hated is to achieve distinction." While I do not wish to be hated, my name does not arise in conversations of the popular students; I am not discussed at sleepovers, and for all intents and purposes I am basically invisible to those that I do not say something too. Calls do not come for me at my house. I am basically the eptiome of the people that, quote unquote, have no life. This is not to say that I do not have friends...I have a group of perhaps five, at most, close friends, and a handful of others that I could call if I wanted to hang out.<P>Perhaps then I cannot say with certainty that I would know what is really going on behind the closed front doors of the social elite, although this is where I would like to address the first of my topics for discussion, teen culture, popularity, image, and all of those other wonderful things that the adults in this forum like to throw around without adequate knowledge of todays teens (j/k
).<P>Teens do what they can to fit in. However, I do not know that this extends to changing ones attitude to something like music. Perhaps in the outward appearance they will alter themselves: theyll say what they dont mean, wear what they dont want, do what they dont want to do. However, it is alone in the home when they are free to listen to what they choose that the real person inside is satisfied. Eventually, I feel that this person will either realize that what they are doing is wrong and will change, or they will get into a habit of pretending that they are someone else in public and will continue to do so. This will invariably lead to a conflict, most notably in relationships...finding out that the person you are dating really doesnt like Blink 182 and would much rather listen to Bach creates a certain amount of oddness that may or may not jeopardize the relationship.<P>Saying that its okay to do drugs to fit in and therefore become properly "socialized" seems like a ridiculous thing to say. However, for whatever reason, drugs are becoming more and more popular, or so it would seem. Here and now I will say that I have no pity for them and whatever happens to them (those who do drugs). If the people on the corner who smoke before, during, and after school were all suddenly to die from an overdose or lung cancer, I would not shed a single tear, I would not attend the funeral, and I would not send my condolences to the family.<P>And that is because the family are the people that caused these people to do what they do. People do not become who they are on their own...nobody chooses to be the way they are. It is how they are raised, and subsequently it is the deteriorating values in the family that are causing people to become so backward. It is, therefore, the fault of todays parents that todays teens are the way they are. To hear some of my friends talk it would suprise some of you, Im sure. Most of the people Ive spoken to say that not only their parents know that they drink, but that their parents either 1) Do not care 2) Realize that there is nothing they can do about it and therefore do not sanction it but at the same time allow it to continue 3) Tell their kids not to do it but give only minor or no punishment if they do. Or, you can have my parents. We are not a religious family; the strict consequences for negligence come from their own conservativeness. However, I do not want my parents to not care about my safety; I dislike the parents that are that way. The parents are indeed the most important part of how someone acts in society.<P>The impact of parents on their kids and how they fit into society can vary from no control to nearly absolute control. Parents should not, can not, and do not (hopefully) pick and choose their childrens friends. If the child is properly raised, he will have no problem choosing who they do and do not want to associate with. If they are not, they will invariably eventually choose to associate with the wrong crowd. The burden of keeping the child safe in that instance falls upon another aspect of parental influence: hanging out with people who do drugs will not necessarily cause that person to begin. Obviously in this instance the child has not had the proper upbringing; they have chosen to associate with the wrong people. However, the child may still may be safe, for if they refuse to do the drugs they are offering, it then falls upon one final segment of a persons character: the ability to deal with peer pressure and being different.<P>First, I would like to say that peer pressure does not necessarily come from the places that many people like to believe. I recently read a booklet that got mailed to the house, saying that if youre child is in high school they have already been asked to do drugs. This is false. I have never been pressured to do any drug, and certainly not in the methods that many sources like to make people believe. I have gotten drunk only once; and that was the first time when I really saw what peer pressure was. We were all around the table, our cups full; and that was when a friend of mine began to say, "Cmon Andrew, you can do it, drink." To this day, that is the only time that I have ever experienced peer pressure. It is not a grilling under hot lights; people do not continue to hound you to do it until you do; it is not as scary as it seems.<P>But then again that is direct pressure. The other pressure is much more subliminal: The pressure to fit in. I adressed fitting in when it comes to music before. Id like to address fitting in other aspects. Teens will change the way they act when it comes to everything to fit in: the way the walk, talk, dress, everything. Ive seen it happen, and Ive tried not to let myself fall for it. But when youre not popular to begin with its hard; youre tempted to so people will like you. I dont know how successful it is. By high school, the easiest way to fit in is to do things that other people do: not dress differently, but take actions you wouldnt normally take: like drinking.<P>In a school of only 600 students, where your own grade doesnt exceed 150, if you tell something to just one person, within a day a quarter of the grade knows; under a week, it is common and accepted knowledge. When I drank, within days it was all around the grade; and that was fine by me. Some of the most popular people in the grade: the hottest, strongest, whateverest, they were all like, "Wow Andrew, I never knew you did/would do/do that! Thats awesome/cool/great/etc!" All of a sudden, even if only for an instant, I was headline news, and I loved it. Being in the spotlight when youve never had any light at all is quite exciting. It didnt last long; but a blind man given seeing eyes would appreciate even the tiniest instant of sight.<P>From what Ive seen, popularity has a lot to do with physical appearance: the kind that people at my age cant change. But as someone else pointed, people like good-looking people. Thats not something you can change; its genetic. Thats hardly a comfort, however. Its not easy to tell yourself that in eventually people will like you for who you are inside. Its not easy going throught the day seeing everyone esle who looks so good and you think you dont. Eventually a person will either get used to it or they will let it consume them. If youve learned anything about me from reading my other posts, I think you can guess where I am right now.<P>Moving on, I would like to discuss one further topic. I have left many things out...many more things than I wanted to when I originally started to type this. But I think the most important thing for me to address is the topic of school violence.<P>It has been said by many people that kids need to learn "right from wrong" in order for the violence to stop. It certainly wouldnt hurt. However, I tend to disagree. Kids today know that killing is wrong...and thats why they do it. Kids who kill are angry and depressed. With guns at easy access, its too easy. Instead of "getting help" the quick and easy way out is to inflict as much damage as they can. Kids who wish that things were different will kill the kids whose lives do not reflect their own. But perhaps Im totally wrong. As twisted as some people say that I am, I dont know what goes on in the mind of a killer. But someone who is unaware of something so basic as the fact that killing is wrong would surely show more obvious signs of this than just being an "outsider." However, there is no easy solution to the problem. I still feel that most of what people are begins in the home; school, and the way people treat you there certainly can hurt or help; but there is a disproportionate number of angry kids to murderous ones. Biological abnormality? I would have to say that that seems likely.<P>I would like to wrap this up. I dont have the time right now to address whats wrong with me in greater detail...Ill do that another day. What I plan on doing is adding more posts later to address these things in greater detail. While this is indeed very long, I hope that you can read this and comment on it. Feel free to write one of youre own; I promise Ill read it. Thank you.