Hey, Cherie!

I’ve been reading your books for young adults, even though I stopped being a young adult more than a decade ago. However, considering the 40-year-old character Charlize Theron plays in Young Adult, more than a decade from now I could still be one. The movie wasn’t horrible, but the character was. Although, the movie was about the character, so maybe it was.

So it was my 30th birthday a few months ago. It’s all good. There is nothing good about it. Alright, there are lots of good things: family, friends, writers like you. But I don’t feel very good. Not like I’m going to throw up, like I’m not good enough. Sort of like Zink. I don’t have to explain that to you, you wrote the book, but I have to explain it to me.

“Once upon a time there was a zebra named Zink. Now Zink as very different, because Zink had polka dots instead of stripes. All of the other zebras, who were very proud of their stripes – which meant they were part of the zebra herd – thought polka-dotted Zink was very strange… because Zink was so different, many even claimed that Zink…was not really a zebra at all.”

I’m not really a zebra at all, Cherie. Even if I had stripes I couldn’t change them. I’m not straight lines. I’m polka-dots. At best, it’s funny and fabulous to others; at worst, it’s frightening. Maybe that’s why they’ve all got spouses and kids and a career and I’ve got a roommate. A roommate who will soon have a spouse and kids and a career.

And the polka-dots are like an aerial view of people. All these other people I used to be, and if I’m the sum of all these people, I should be a better person. I shouldn’t keep doing things that I’ve done. I know a lot of it is my fault, but a lot of it isn’t. Maybe that’s why your characters make me feel better. They’re not that good, but they’re trying their best. And they’re still young. Adults, but young.

Ben

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