|The Perils of Theoretical Basketball|
|Life on Earth|
The real action took place here, not in my childhood. Much of what I struggle with now can be traced back to that time. Seemingly out of nowhere, once I hit elementary school, I was ostracized and bullied. I suddenly realized that I was different from my peers. Girls who seemed to like me the previous year now shunned me-not that I could tell whether or not they ever really liked me in the first place or what it meant if someone liked you. Awkward, embryonic attempts at dating inevitably ended in disaster. I began to withdraw and experience depression for the first time.
By the time I reached high school, the taunting had abated, but its effects lingered. I experienced an emotional shutdown that I can trace back to a single, monumental event, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back: after an especially vicious rejection at an end-of-year dance in Grade 8, I made a conscious decision to stop trying socially and not let anyone hurt me-and I meant it. Though it was an extreme measure, I maintain to this day that, in context, it was a rational decision. I had to stop the bleeding by any means necessary; this was the only way I knew how.
Consequently, in high school I was like a robot, out of touch with my emotions, only able to dive into my schoolwork, churn out endless A's, and lose myself in my short wave radio my newfound passion and, not surprisingly, a solitary activity. To this day I have no idea what kind of non-verbal message I was putting across to my classmates, but I surmise that it must have been akin to having KEEP OUT stamped on my forehead. It worked; they all did, and though as a result I had no positive social encounters whatsoever in high school, I also gave them no opportunity to hurt me, and at the time, that was all that mattered.