Confession. Ninja’s experiences tend to be slightly autobiographical in nature. I don’t think it’s intentional, because I didn’t really make the connection until trying to think of what to write to accompany the strip. Today’s comic, incidentally, seems to be about when I made the jump from private Catholic school to public school as a kid. Really!
Catholic school was very homogenized. From the uniforms to the almost enforced hairstyles, it was close to a military experience. I struggled with just how alike everybody was. It was a sea of yellow polo shirts and dark brown slacks, and I was part of it. How do you get noticed when everybody looks the same? Tuition spiked and my parents couldn’t afford putting 3 kids through private school any longer, so it was off to Public school I went.
This wasn’t quite like I’d expected, or hoped. I loved that we didn’t have to wear uniforms, but what this meant was that it took something very different to stand out. I’d have had better luck wearing my old private school uniform than the average clothes I ended up wearing. I was in a different sea then, but it was very much the same. It was a mess of different things so hodge podge that picking a single one from the crowd was a chore.
It wasn’t until high school when I’d figured out that the more I tried to remove myself from the crowd the more I succumbed to the branded sameness of stylized cliques. I hit the grunge scene pretty hard, especially in respect to fashion. In fact, as of graduation day I’d held the record for most times sent home for dress code violations. I did some strange stuff, and was even voted ‘most unique’ in my graduating class. True story. I have a certificate and everything. Did this mean I succeeded? Did I finally become different enough to satisfy whatever urge I’d had for so many years as a youth to stand out?
Not really. No matter what I did I always felt rather average and normal. I still do, in fact. Now, however, I’m perfectly fine with that to a degree. Sure there are areas in which I’d love to become outstanding, but for most of the stuff I’m pretty content being just some dude. I can only hope to be the best dude I can be.