(scene opens in frosty min-van)
Gamma: Mom, what’s 6th grade like?
Me: Oh. Well, my 6th grade was part of the Jr. High building and so we’d swap classrooms with 7th and 8th graders for different classes. Like for science or math…
Gamma: (interrupting) No, I mean the social part. Like popular kids and stuff.
Me: I hate to break it to you, but I wasn’t a popular kid.
Gamma: That much was obvious.
Me: Ouch, that hurts. (thinks) Okay, well, what’s the point of being popular?
Gamma: To have a lot of friends.
Me: Fair. But sometimes people are friends with you only because you’re popular. By whatever metric they’re using to scale that. If you stop being popular, they’ll find someone else to be friends with.
Me: In 7th grade, I realized I would never be the prettiest, or the smartest, or the tallest, strongest, fastest, most talented at anything. There would always be someone who was any or all of those things better than me. So I decided then and there to be the most interesting. If I was the most interesting person in the room, people would want to hang out with me. So. Read a lot of books. Listen to a lot of music –
Gamma: (interrupts) Got that covered.
Me: Learn a wide variety of strange and random skills that serve no real purpose save that you want to learn how to do it. Constantly make people amazed at your unexpected know-how on something. Trust me, it is way more fun to be interesting than it is to be popular. Popularity is fleeting. Interesting is forever.
(mini van pulls into drop off)
Me: Okay kids! (starts to sing) Have the best day ever!
Gamma: Please don’t.