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May 3, 2011
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2+2=4. 2x2=4. Happy is an adjective. Running is a verb. We remember the elementary material, but do we remember our peers? Every child that sat at their desk, with their names stickered on and their color-coded notebooks inside their desks, was like an individual puzzle piece. They fit together as a class, but individually, everyone was unique. Most elementary classes had the following: the Teacher’s Pet, the Copy Cat, the Loner, the Mad Scientist, the Tattletale, and the Puppeteer. Each one of these forces of nature had an effect on one person or many people. Back then, a person may have been one of these personas, or affected by them.

The Teacher’s Pet: The shiny red apple, the shiny new wardrobe, and the shiny smile always captured the teacher’s attention. As the pet, these students sat, spoke and did tricks to please their master. Since these students were intense sycophants, their teachers loved them while their peers could not stand it. Actually, the real craft of teacher brown-nosing was not getting good grades, it was something much simpler. The pet would always remind the teacher to check homework knowing that the majority of the class did not do it. The pet would also remind the teacher of upcoming tests that the rest of the class is not ready for. And the atomic bomb, the pet would claim that this class was their most favorite and wish they had that teacher all the time. Now that the teacher realized how well he/she may handle their class affects one student, the Teacher’s pet raised the bar for every student to kiss up, forcefully.

Overall, there were always boot-lickers who wagged their tails and begged for their teacher’s attention. Every time they complimented the teacher or reminded them to check homework was as painful as a dog flinching when a dog whistle was blown to the other students. The rest of the class may have thought the teacher’s pet was their golden child; really, the rest of the class’ rolling eyes and pouting faces only made the light brighter on the teacher’s pet.

The Copy Cat: “Quit copying me!” Stop copying me! Those kids who followed and mimicked their role models were everywhere in elementary school. For me, Kendall was my “mini-me.” She would make her mom put her hair in pig-tails exactly like mine. And she had the same “Polly Pocket to Go” collection I got for Christmas because she read the letter I wrote to Santa. Worst of all, she repeated every word I said:

“I love Buttercup form the Powerpuff Girls! She’s my favorite.”

Me too, I love Buttercup she’s my favorite!

“But now I like Blossom because my new favorite color is red.”

I love red now too!

It has been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. In third grade, it was just annoying.

The Loner: Imaginary friends and animal whisperers ran wild in elementary school. To top it all off, if these kids made their teachers their best friends, along with Invisible Timmy and Larry the Lizard, these were the loners. Most of the time, the loners were introverted and afraid to make new friends. So they ran to their sanctuaries where they were free to be anything, talk to anything, and love anything: their imagination.

The imagination is a powerful thing especially among children. And lonely children definitely have bizarre imaginations.

The Mad Scientist: The geniuses of the class were the coolest or the lamest. It was cool if they let everyone copy their homework. It was lame if they outshined the whole class when it came time for show and tell and they showed up the class. Since children are most likely to take criticism and the “I’m not gonna be your friend anymore!” badgering personally, the geniuses hid among their peers to avoid the disapproval.

These masked whiz kids did not realize that they were too “school for cool”, instead of the other way around.

The Tattletale: “Ooooooo Imma tell on you!” These were the kids we thought we could trust, but they ran out on us. All of them had diarrhea of the mouth. These kids could not keep a secret and itchingly felt the urge to tattle when they saw something like writing on the bathroom walls or if they saw someone take something without asking.

The Tattletales were the biggest pains in elementary school.

The Puppeteer: These kids had the power of persuasion to convince one that the sky was green or get a fellow peer to trade their best dessert at lunch time. The puppeteers have intensely charismatic personalities. They can get anyone wrapped around their fingers in an instant. Everyone respects and wants to be the puppeteer because they want that admiration. Children especially develop these characteristics around the elementary stages because it is their first years socializing themselves among others.

Once these puppeteers have that charm with a hint of manipulation, it is very hard to overturn.

In the end, one will never stop encountering these past personas. One may have to brown-nose his/her boss to get a promotion. One may imitate the person he/she admires. Because socializing with different people may be awkward, one may get lonely. Since there are envious people in the world, shielding how brilliant one can be may be challenging. And one may be stuck in a situation where someone is doing something immoral or illegal, should they tell someone? No one likes to be the snitch. And lastly, one may have to pull a few strings to get his/her way. These characters may be overlooked; but in order to approach them, one may have to search for miles. Then again, one may just have to look in the mirror.

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