“Why did so many people call you weird?” my mother asked, having read the comments written in my 8th Grade yearbook.
Um… because I was? Especially during the 8th Grade.
I’ll spare you a full re-creation of the conversation(s) that followed, as it/they went on for weeks, and as I never managed to supply my mother with an explanation that met her satisfaction. All you need to know is that she was deeply concerned about my popularity, so much so that those comments got far more of a reaction than any report card (good or bad) I ever brought home.
Instead, let’s jump to the end of the next school year (9th Grade). Imagine me as an insecure Freshman, yearbook in hand. Before I’d allow anyone willing to write in my book, I would plead with them not to write the word “weird.”
Some of them complied. Some of them didn’t.
All of them asked, “Why?”
Um… because my mother is going to read it?
Okay, I’m not trying to break your heart (not completely, but maybe just a little). I wanted to share that painful story because I linked several thoughts this week:
* The Austin, Texas independent business community currently uses the slogan, “Keep Austin weird.”
* My mother, who moved to Texas a few years ago, thinks I should move closer to her. What city does she favor for me? Austin. (Ironic, huh? Keep reading, there’s more. And to answer the obvious question, if my mother knows Austin’s slogan, she’s not embracing it by trying to send me there. She only wants me to live in a city she wants to visit.)
* My birth name (supposedly): Austin. Honest! However, after too many family and friends made disparaging comments, my mother eventually settled on Chad. (I’m not sure exactly when she made the change, but I’m pretty sure I was Austin for a few days.)
Anyway, I’ve decided to embrace my reputation and my former alias. I’m still sometimes weird, and by extension, so is Campfire Tales.
Consider yourself warned.
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