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!
(scene opens in dark car, Pandora Radio playing a commercial for Dexter)
Alpha: (derisively) Who names a serial killer Dexter. That’s a ridiculous name.
Me: (absently) Dexter is the opposite of Sinister. Sinister is the left, Dexter is the right, which is why if you can use both hands it’s called ambidextrous. Dexter is a serial killer who only hunts serial killers. He’s on the right side of sinister.
Alpha: (long silence) And where on the internet did you get that?
Me: I didn’t. I came up with it on my own. But I bet someone else on the internet came up with it too.
Alpha: (mockingly) Oh, look I’m making up word meanings.
Me: Do it! Look it up! Look up what dexter means.
Me: Did you find it?
Alpha: No. I decided to believe you.
Me: (shocked) Oh now you decide to start listening to me?
Alpha: Well, you’re the one making things up, seems easier just to let you go on.
Me: You know how you get all this random knowledge? Read. Read a lot. Read tons. Get yourself some accidental knowledge. Then you, too, will also see the deeper hidden meanings of things.
Alpha: Or I could just sit here and laugh over memes showing a pumpkin carved into a troll face. (cut scene to shitty meme on phone)