So this weekend had at least one incident that, I’m not remotely sorry to say, extremely fun. If you’ve been paying any attention to Twitter, you know that Elon Musk’s most recent advancement through his “actually very stupid and most divorced man in the world” arc was to get rid of Twitter’s verification system and replace it with paid verification. That’s an obviously bad idea, but Twitter users in their right mind immediately decided that anyone blue ticked now needs to be mocked and blocked.
Along with a bunch of people posting ridiculous silly “why would you make fun of people for buying a service?” prompted many people with more money than sense to get involved How dare you laugh at me?. And One of those people was Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney, a man who has more money than any of us will ever see in our lives, who compared people who hassled him to buy a tick to people who put him in lockers in high school. And that brings me straight to the point of this week’s column, which can be summed up simply like this:
man when are you coming out of of high school?
Tim, I fucking love you, but this whole thread is a bad attitude.
As Mark told me years ago when I was obsessing over being a jerk at school, “You won.”
Tim, you won.
— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) April 22, 2023
Now please don’t get me wrong. High school sucks. It really sucks when you’re a weird nerd, which I definitely am. Through a confluence of circumstances, I actually became quite popular in the latter half of my high school experience, but I was still a weird nerd at my core (but it was a combination of weird nerds that worked for me back then). High school wasn’t a fun time for me. It’s not an experience I’m dying to repeat!
But that’s also why I’ve spent the next 23 years of my life not re-experiencing it. I don’t think about it. I have a few high school anecdotes that I regularly bring up because they’re entertaining. I remember it. But I don’t care about high school at the moment. I’m 40 years old and have spent more of my life not going to high school than going to it, so who cares what happened during that time?
Oh, did a girl break my heart? My heart was broken much worse much more intensely later, and I was a little prat at the time anyway. What ever. That was decades ago. Who else cares?
Didn’t get the part I wanted during a play? So that is definitely something to obsess over; it will make a real difference in my life. Last time I checked, none of the people who got roles I wanted in high school are in major Hollywood productions, and neither am I. What ever.
Were there bullies? Secure. Do they no longer affect my life now that I don’t give them? Absolutely not farting.
This stuff just doesn’t matter. It was kind of important back then because it was my life, but it hasn’t mattered for decades. It’s seriously time to stop thinking about it. At its worst, high school has been an endless cycle of misery for you, and believe me, in that case I just pity you. I understand that when you were being bullied and didn’t feel liked and only had your small circle of friends to fall back on, it must have sucked.
But I spent my first two years of high school with zero friends in an uninsulated cabin on a tiny island, and you don’t hear me complain about it, not least because I’m complaining about it now, sorry, pointless. I’m not going to get a coupon that cancels my credit card debt because I was beaten up badly in high school. That will not happen. I can either move on or just stay mad about it, and neither is going to make my memories any sweeter.
And the thing is, it doesn’t just hurt people who have more money than sense who are still trying to divide the world into “bullyers” and “non-bullyers” as if everyone is criticizing you and your behavior , a big bullying villain is diving head over heels into social geek delusions like they’re a fun pool to swim in. It hurts the people who still basically embrace high school because they existed as if the social hierarchy existed there important.
No one cares anymore if I was popular in high school, other than that it was trivia. But more importantly, no one is waiting to put me in a locker because I really like toy robots or I’m learning about trains or discussing religious teachings. That’s just not something that’s going to happen at this point in time. I’m fortunate to work with some really unique people with very different interests in all of my jobs, but I’ve made my choice Years pretending that I was done pretending to be normal and trying to hide the things I actually did on a given weekend.
What did I do this weekend? I’ve played a few video games and I’ll tell people about it if they want to know. Because I’m not ashamed of it. Why should I? Video games are basically ubiquitous.
More importantly, however, Video games are not my identity. Yes, I have written about this before, but it needs to be repeated. Because that’s a lot High school nonsense, when you had to pick one thing to survive. You pursued something with all your heart, you jumped at it, and that became a defining part of who you were because that’s how you got through high school. (And a abominable A lot of weird, nerdy people would be surprised at how many seemingly “normal” kids did this exactly the same.)
But you’re grown up now!
You don’t have to live there anymore. Just as an exclusive diet of meat or vegetables is not healthy for you, consuming only one type of media is not healthy for your brain. And for that matter, do media Your only form of interaction with the larger world is also not healthy for you. You can do more than one thing! They don’t have to exist in a narrow box!
It’s ok if you really like MMOs, but also like running and cooking healthy and building model airplanes! Or maybe it turns out that you like martial arts or just go hiking. And indeed your life will be the richer the more things are in it, the more you are not limited to just one spectrum of interactions.
Trying to build a world where you imagine that everyone who disagrees with your decisions and opinions is descended in an unbroken line from your high school bullies is not only unproductive; it is actively detrimental to you and your personal development. And yes, it definitely is Easier still worrying about Who’s The Bully. I get it. But it doesn’t really help you interact with the world. It doesn’t give you any new insights. It just gives you a persecution complex and flattens criticism without engaging it, discarding it as false a priori because You’re just a tyrant as if someone had registered with the National Bully Register.
Or easier? Seriously, fam, get out of high school. After the age of 21, it’s just not relevant anymore.