I’m the person that tells the truth. When I was in elementary school I used to tell other kids that there was no Santa Claus – the presents came from their parents. The resulting scandal was predictable. Were my schoolmates upset that Santa was a myth? I learned in subsequent instances of telling the truth, that they were worried about breaking the implicit deal; it was parents who talked about and used Santa to condition gifts. Santa knows who’s naughty and nice, he sees you when you’re sleeping! If parents believe in this Santa thing, then we better go along with it if we want the gifts. Shut up, Roger!

I learned that this technique of calling out the obvious would undermine adult authority. Hapless teachers were easy targets, they’d get mad and come out of character and try to get back at me. My third grade teacher had another kid poke me in the eye after his got poked by accident when we were roughhousing. I’m not sure what exactly happened – I say that I got fired from the third grade – but I spent the next year in the fourth grade class of another teacher. Perhaps a martyr complex formed early, one in which I knew that if I was consistent and persistent I’d outlast everyone else – even if it meant short term suffering.

I suppose it was a defense mechanism that proved that by refusing to go along with everyone else, I was somehow superior.

But that same year, I did something else that is telling. There used to be a fundraiser at school where pickles were sold for a nickel. One day, I had a dollar in my pocket. I couldn’t help myself. After buying one for myself, I bought everyone else one until my dollar ran out.

Next entry, Government II