Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Kid With Balls

So this past October I was in Taco Bell, eatin' cheap food. It was about 12:45 and there were a bunch of high school kids there. Two groups sat near me: there was one kid with short blond hair; a skinny guy, kinda geeky looking. He was at table by himself, next to my booth.

On the other side of me were six girls, all of them cute and dressed to show it. Clearly these two groups were in utterly separate classes the way things shake out in high school. I may not agree with it, but I would have assumed the girls thought they were out of his league, at any rate.

Now the guy seemed a little off. He asked the girls what time it was. Twice, in fewer than 10 minutes. Then he stood up and went around to their table and asked the girls if they were from Westwood High. Most said they weren't, and looked away; they were snubbing him. One said she was.

So he asked her who she voted for for homecoming. A couple of other things were said, then he left, saying goodbye.

The girls giggled as he left and one said they were mean. I spoke to them a bit. They kind of looked at me; they seemed a little self-conscious at being overheard; they could tell I had been listening. I said something like "The guy was your age, right? He comes up and talks to you. Seems pretty brave to me."

That was what had impressed me. This was a classic group of Mean Girls. Surely he knew they were going to talk about him as soon as he left. Then one of the girls said: "At least he had the balls to come over here."

I said something stupid like "That's what I'm talkin' about," to display how utterly hip I am. But I was glad to hear I wasn't the only one who appreciated the kid's chutzpah. As soon as he gets out of high school, that'll matter a lot more than some youthful awkwardness.

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