The practical fact is its lame being a follower.  That's what you are doing when you play for acceptance. 

I had a friend in middle and high school. His name was Nick.  Nick was always thinking about what was cool.  He had a black leather jacket.  He was an adrenaline junky. He liked his rushes.  He was my best friend all through that time.   When we graduated high school I went off to college.  After a couple of years he headed out to San Francisco. Do you know how uncool it is to be such a follower ? ….latching onto every lame fad and fashion including global warming? A person is never so uncool as when they are playing for acceptance. Go your own way. Think for yourself for a change.  You will wonder how your life got so much better! Nick should have learned that from me.  When we were in high school he got into trouble on various occassions.  I had a knack of knowing when he was up to something and finding something else to do.  He and another friend of his used to act like I was not cool.  I didn't care.  Because my ego is big enough to accept that others don't approve of me for one reason or another.  In fact its one of my most self cherished traits to be so stubbornly egotistical.  But Nick did not learn.  About 1987 he called me up and asked for money.  I poor mouthed and said I did not have any. Later I found out he loaned some money off of his brother and did not pay it back.  Up to that time he had managed his risks and come through untouched.  But Nick loved his rushes.  And he did not have the self discipline that comes from that comes from not playing to acceptance and saying no when its the right thing to do.  So he ended up shooting up meth with one of his cohorts up there.  Only problem was he didn't take the time to get his own needle.  Any needle would have done.  He probably could have soaked any old needle out of the dump in Clorox making sure to pump it through the needle.  But no that would have been uncool.  And nothing got in the way of being uncool for Nick.   I mean really even if you're a tweaker you don't have to be stupid. So he ended up with HIV.   Since he had tried to rip me off he never called.  I never called him because my spider sense that I had developed around him in high school told me not to.  There is no helping an accident waiting to happen.  But let me repeat there is no time when you are more uncool as when you are following the crowd.  Especially if a needle is involved.

An update to this story.  Three years after writing this story in May of 2011 Nick died as a from falling off a ladder and breaking a hip and the resultant infection that occurred.  Rest in Peace my friend.  I learned much from you.  I only wish you had learned the most important thing I had to offer you with my nonconformity.


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