Peers and Popularity

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The trees had dropped their leaves. The sun was pale through the window. He sat hunched in his desk looking at his trigonometry textbook. Actually, he was looking at the slip of paper on his text:

Ballot it read.

"Please nominate the top five males and top five females for Winter Homecoming Royalty."

His mind had gone blank. Five? Which five? Then a smile crept across his face. "Hey, everyone," he said loudly. The classroom turned to look at him. "Put down Luke Holzmann."

There was a moment of silence.

Then his friends turned back to their ballot, shrugged, and started scribbling. A few months later he was crowned king by default because the football player he had tied with was at a game that night.

My fifteen minutes of high school popularity were courtesy of a whim and a technicality. I couldn't have asked for more irony (except, of course, that the queen was one of my good friends and leader of our weekly prayer meetings).

I had come a long way from the kid who ate lunch by himself in the Cross Country locker room. I had risen from the new kid who was loud and odd to "that tall, loud guy" whom everyone at least could recognize. I had restarted the swim team. I would be captain of the Cross Country team next year. I lead FCA. I participated in musicals. I wrote for the school paper. I was everywhere. And while I had many acquaintances, I didn't have any friends.

At least, no true friends that I would bother to contact after I graduated. None that I hung out with outside of school.

I was popular enough with my peers, the other slightly nerdy yet incredibly involved and successful students. I was mostly comfortable in my skin. I was overly zealous in my convictions. And I was homecoming king.

I realize very few of you have time to browse my Other Posts of Note, but one by Janine Cate really got to me today. Well, the post is great, but the linked article absolutely blew me away.

Definitely worth reading. It's long. But so, so good. Please go read Paul Graham's article on popularity. It brought me back to some of those moments in high school and reinforced the incredible benefits homeschooling has when it comes to socialization.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father

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