I don’t know how it happened.  In second grade, the boys and girls at St. Peter’s catholic grade school were so completely self segregated, but there I was, holding hands with Rosemary Ginder and strolling around the playground at recess.  We talked about this. We talked about that. I don’t actually remember a dang thing we talked about.  How did we even know that we were supposed to be holding hands.  For me, it was an intermission from doing and talking about the same old things that boys talk about.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I am a stereotypical boy in most ways, but I get tired of one point of view for too long.  Is it not more interesting to see the world from multiple vantage points.  Because of this curiosity, I never was an integral part of any click.  I was, however, a peripheral part of many clicks, ducking in and out as I pleased.  It did not seem to cause any problems as long as you know how to fit in. In this, I learned to become many people, at least on the surface.  The downside is that you are not top dog of any, but being top dog didn’t appear to be that enjoyable to me.

At our eighth grade graduation, the teachers wrote a rather wonderful book chronicling each of our grade school escapades and continuing the stories into predictions of the future.  They had a field day with me, embellishing my second grade escapades with love triangles and jealousies that came to a head in comical ways.

The desire for diversity has continued in later life.  When the guys start trying to impress each other with their superior knowledge of dual overhead cam engines (something I actually know a great deal about), I find myself tiring of the same old, same old.  It just does not bring that much pleasure to try to impress people when that is the main goal of the conversation.  Before I know it, I wander off and end up sitting with the women, enjoying their companionship while the men are off competing for dominance.  Of course, after enough immersion in the female point of view, dual overhead cam engines start to get pretty interesting again.

Now how is it that someone who was a trailblazer in female companionship in second grade could turn into such a paralyzed and blithering idiot in the face of a female who was the object of his desire.  Why do we get incapacitated by fear of making a mistake, fear of embarrassment and expectations that anything you say has to be impressive and Don Wan.  I think that it can be the curse of someone who tries very hard, too hard, and measures their self esteem as a function of their ability, successes and failures.