At the end of the first decade, you're an old hand. You can make the body do pretty much anything you want. Nothing breaks. Everything heals. And you know, from watching older kids, that there's this weird mutation ahead, something to do with the wriggly parts of movies.
But when they actually drop it on you -- puberty, the golden anvil -- it's another nightmare. Just when you'd gotten over being the torture-bitch of every older kid, your body starts molesting itself. It oozes at night. You spent the first three years learning to control the oozes, and now the body possesses you, makes your hand stray south and do bad things to your own equipment. Any notion of dignity you assumed as one of the bullies is now long gone. It's going to be gross from here on, till the end, when your senile living corpse spews up pea soup like an aged Linda Blair. So get used to rubbing and oozing, 'cause that's life in a body from here on out.
Because after all, whose world is this, kids? This is Darwin's world. And Darwin has a sense of humor like Stalin's. Puberty is only the first and kindest of his jokes. It amuses him to zap you into a clumsy eighth-grade dance-parody, to make you wriggle and beg some other hormone-stupefied wretch to breed with you. And you WILL obey. You WILL write painfully embarrassing love letters to the very hormone-cocked wretch who has already marked you as a bad mate. But that doesn't stop you, because you're too confused, you can't steer the body right.
It's then, when you're trying to steer your body, that you notice something awful: this body isn't right. The love you felt for your grown-child body vanishes in horror at every cosmetic defect. You spend a hundred hours accusing yourself in the mirror of having asymmetric ears. The right one sticks out at a grotesque right angle, while the other one is decently slicked back to the skull.
Heightism rears its ugly head, the biggest unrecorded bigotry in the world. To be seven feet tall! Yes, exactly seven feet tall! Why can't you be seven feet tall, and also a genius? Can't you just kill somebody, someone smaller and weaker, in exchange for being seven feet tall? It's so damn unfair.
You are going to be like this, only worse, for the next ten years. It's lucky you're you, because no one else could stand being around you. You will suck up to the kids who hate you the most, and make a show of humiliating anyone who makes the mistake of treating you decently. You will be ashamed only when you display any emotion other than hate for the good and ass-licking submission to the utterly vile. You'll lie in bed hoping that tomorrow you will be more vile, more cowardly and cruel, than you were today. And your taste in music will really suck.
"My secret? Water. 8 glasses a day!"
This, according to statistics, is when people are happy. Are you...
- under 26? If so, have you made preparations to be happy when the year of bliss arrives? If not, better get to work, because from 27 onward you will be more and more wretched every year, until you finally die, sucked screaming through old age and death. M'kay?
- Exactly 26? If so, are you happy? You're not, are you? Here's a question for you to ponder: what's wrong with you?
- Over 26? Well, at least you can look back on that one year of total, utter bliss. Huh...it wasn't? Oh. Gee. That's too bad. Well, look on the bright side: you only have 50 or so years to serve in this medium-security institution called "Life."
Wanna hear something really funny? 26 is also the age when the body stops reproducing itself effectively, and a steep physical decline begins. You don't yet notice it. And even if you read all the right 20th century literature, you won't really believe it. But this is it, the bull market high. After 26, the aging begins. Wheee!