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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Weird Girls are Weird

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: June 2014

Looking back, I think I probably should have gotten in trouble in school a lot more than I actually did. I remember in 5th grade I decided for some reason that it would be a good idea to do all my written work with the tiniest, most miniscule writing possible. Paragraphs were fit within three or four lines. It took me hours, but I found it both soothing and satisfying to spend so much time on something so intricate and meaningless.

After about a week of turning in assignments that were completed in writing so tiny they could have been penned by The Borrowers, I was asked by my teacher to stay after class. Shaking a handful of assignments at me, he sighed, “You have to stop. Please. I can’t even read these.” I agreed, and went back to writing in my normal size. I would like to tell you that was the last time I acted out in such a strange and pointless way, but I can’t.

That same year I stole a pencil sharpener off the desk of the classmate sitting next to me. I watched as he looked all over for it, then when I grew bored with watching him sort through the contents of his backpack he’d dumped on his desk, I took his sharpener out of my desk. Keeping eye contact with him, I pulled out a pencil and started slowly sharpening it. “That’s my pencil sharpener,” he said. “No. You’re mistaken,” I replied. “It has my name on the bottom,” he said. This was an unforeseen roadblock, but I held strong. “Nope. It’s mine.” He eventually called the teacher over, and the matter was quickly settled with me handing it back.

The next year I was in my karate class (hi-YA), when I started humming one low note. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it until the instructor announced to the class that whoever was humming needed to stop. Obviously I kept doing it. It went on for so long that he lined us all up and walked down the line until he reached me. He pointed his stubby finger in my face and said sternly, “Stop it.” So I did.

I wish I could tell you why I did that kind of weird shit as a child. It wasn’t ever motivated by any kind of malice or desire to annoy people. I think I just really wanted to see what would happen. My point to this rambling mess is that I was weird. I know I was weird. And not in a cool, appealing way, just in an alienating, kind of unrelatable way. However, I’m sort of glad I was a weirdo. Acting out in ways like that was (I think), my way of testing the boundaries of other humans, a well-populated group that I’ve struggled at times to feel connected to. Plus, weirdos are just more interesting.

Case in point: the delightful and ever-so-talented miss Christine Fulton, who has a show at the Winchester Goose on June 12! Stay tuned for an interview with her in next week’s issue, and stay weird, my dear reader.

Arielle Mullen