Throughout my years of being a student, I've always been taught that a minority was someone of a color other than white, from somewhere other than the United States, and who had a faith other than Christian. Well, here it is, 1995, almost 14 years since my school days began. I'm not dependent on any sort of drug, whether it be alcohol, tobacco (or worse), my parents aren't divorced, and I don't carry a weapon to school every day. I don't have a child who is just learning to walk; I've never even had sex and suddenly I'm a minority.
Each day when I walk into school, this becomes even more evident. I sit in homeroom on a Monday morning and listen to the stories of a classmate who almost died of alcohol poisoning at a graduation party over the weekend. The ignorant fool sitting next to me brags about how our classmate drank two liters of vodka, ten beers, and a bottle of some kind of hard liquor. Sorry, I'm not up on the names of alcoholic beverages. They pronounced him dead but then revived him. His blood alcohol level was four times that of a person who was just drunk. When he woke up from the coma, he was still drunk and asked the nurse for a beer. Isn't that the coolest story? Yeah, the coolest, he almost died. Want to hear something even cooler? He doesn't have to go to rehab or any other sort of counseling, so he'll have plenty of time to do it again. That's just great.
I sit in my class and overhear kids telling their friends how they're going to visit their fathers in Arizona or Ohio over Christmas break. It makes me realize that I am one of the select few whose parents are still together and I'm very thankful for it. I can't imagine living states away from one of my parents and relying on two weeks a year to fill the lifetime of void. But somehow people tolerate it, after all, it happens so often.
In my next class I'll hear a fifteen-year-old girl tell her girlfriend about how her baby son took his first steps last Tuesday. Her friend replies with a sigh how she can't wait to have a baby with her latest boyfriend of seven months and three weeks (as of today). Another girl complains because her boyfriend wouldn't pay for half of the abortion. For some sick reason I ask, "Why am I the odd man out?" I'd rather not know.
As I walk to my car after school, I think about everything I heard and the mouths I heard it from. It makes me realize everything that I am not and thank goodness for everything I am: The minority. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.