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Fifteen Seconds

Being special lasts for fifteen seconds. You’re not the quiet guy who sits in the back, reading sneakily under your desk. You’re famous. For fifteen seconds, you have a crowd congratulating you, clapping you on the back, making you feel great. After sixteen, though, people lose interest, they go back to their lives, they forget you ever did something amazing. You could work for a whole year, and do something spectacular, but you only get fifteen seconds of fame. That’s how it was when my World History teacher, Mr. Angleson, told the class that I had the opportunity to transfer from Downy Letts Community High School to Michigan State College. This was news for me, so my fifteen seconds of fame wasn’t even enjoyable, I sat there stunned, my glasses crooked, and my mouth wide open, while a crowd of people clustered around me with congratulations. When they settled down and returned to their seats, Mr. Angleson explained that I scored so high an SAT test that had been taken, purely for fun, two months before, that Michigan State had offered me a place at their school. He said he was very proud of me and that I should go home and talk to my parents about it.
My first day of college. That’s right; my parents decided that it would be stupid to pass up a chance like this, and that my college fund was full enough to send me away for at least two years. So here I am, unpacking my stuff before I head off to freshman orientation and my first class.
“Hey, do you see the guy over there?”
“Doesn’t the short dude with the glasses look young?”
Whispers followed me as I walked from my dorm to the main hall. I tried to slouch down and look young, but failed miserably, as I tripped and knocked off my glasses. A nice guy with an afro handed them back, then turned and said something quietly into his friend’s ear. They both erupted into gales of laughter, and turned away. Great.
During my first class, the professor introduced me to my classmates. “This is Kyle,” He said, “He transferred here from Downy Letts High. This is his second time being a freshman in one year.” The class stared, absorbing the news. Someone started to clap, and I must have high-fived at least ten people on the way to my seat. We did an activity in partners, and there was a rush of people, all wanting to pair up with me, the fourteen-year-old freak. By the end of class, however, they decided that I wasn’t worth bothering with, and started ignoring me. I have no regrets. I mean who wants to be special, forever?





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