Contributed by Avinash Ramchandani
Feeling like the ruler of the world, I pulled up into a parking spot. Since I had just washed my '73 Mercedes, it was sparkling and looked as though the car was owned by a king. I opened the door, grabbed my camera, and stepped out. As I did so, I noticed a couple about five cars down making out. As they separated, they looked at me as if I were a fool being single. I looked back with a face full of anger and frustration. "Sure, this is the first dance I have ever been to in my life, and sure I don't have a date, but so what!" This was the motto for the day.
I gingerly passed everybody in line and crossed through the entrance of the building. There were about ten people in line, as it was only 6:30 pm. I noticed a few teachers looking at me like I was a kiss up, teacher's pet. They knew I wasn't like the others. I looked at them and kindly said, "Hi! I am the Wolfprint (the school newspaper's) photographer." Mrs. Wheeler looked at me and she remembered that I had told her that previously. Right then, I noticed that the line of ten had grown to about fifteen. Everyone that wasn't busy holding hands with their partner was either looking at me strangely or talking to their partner, telling them how strange it was that I, a Junior, single, and working for the Newspaper, was at Junior Prom. I thought, "I must be the only loner here; people must be thinking that I am some sort of creature that cannot handle girls, or is gay or something." I was sure that the homosexual people posing as heterosexual to be accepted were happy-- but sadly enough, for the homosexuals, this wasn't true. I am not gay and I can handle girls... the thing is, I don't choose to do so.
For the almost eighteen years that I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, an upper middle class, Caucasian dominated society, I have found that most people that live here will do anything to become accepted. According to one English Class survey, almost ninety percent of the teenagers want to be in the "in" crowd even if it means destroying their individuality. Take, for example, my friend (all names withheld-- so we shall call him John). John was a nice pupil from the seventh grade till the ninth grade, when one day in woodshop class the seniors embarrassed him, another friend of mine, and me. A teen that looked like he was frequently drugged asked a question to the class, "Has anybody not drank alcohol here?" Being a Freshmen and not knowing the results of this, we raised our hands, all three of us. Twenty seconds later we were the laughing stock of woodshop class. I, being the individualist, didn't care. But John was deeply affected by this; he wanted to be accepted by the "in" crowd again. One year later, I saw him on the lawns outside campus with a few people circling around him, a girl locked onto his right arm, a cigarette between two of his fingers and a grin on his face looking as if he were "cool". He had conformed to society. "Yuck!" I thought in vain; I knew he would never get out of the mess he was in now-- the pleasures of conforming to society are too hard to give up once you have enjoyed them. How could he give up what he had for this! I was stunned that John had given up his individuality to be accepted into such a group. He now considers himself "in" and has not said a word to me since.
Today, seeing these people and although being a conservative on most fronts of social issues, I can't say that I don't want to be part of the "in" crowd. As most teenagers, I wouldn't mind having a girl hand-in-hand with me and everyone begging me to be their date to the Senior Ball. But my question to everybody is why should I? I am still seventeen years old; I have better things to do with my life than that! I have to study to get into college, to worry about my family, my sister, my school, my health, and the worst, homework! The "in" thing to do would be to say that all these things are stupid and not to worry about them. But they aren't... I have to worry about them. They are an essential part of life. Being an individual is part of life. If people continue the way the English class did, and everybody conforms to society, everybody will become the same one day. Everybody will have a girlfriend and/or a boyfriend, will be liked by everybody else, and will have the most friends that anybody could think of. But what would happen if everybody was the same? Life would be boring! For example, imagine that every car existing on earth was a black 1910 Model-T Ford. Rather than shopping for a car, people would have to buy this old, ugly, piece of junk every time anybody wanted a car. There is no excitement of looking for the exact shape, the exact color, and the exact features you want in the car; everything would be the same. The same thing would happen to humans with the loss of individuality. Everybody would be the same, so everybody would be compatible with everybody else. Everybody and anybody could marry everybody or anybody else, so if everybody or anybody 's wife or husband or daughter or son dies, then they could easily be replaced by another wife, husband, daughter or son. There would be no value to a person. The person would become a statue; if it breaks or chips, another would be right behind to replace the original.
Society is in need of individuals; otherwise, one day, everybody will essentially become the same person duplicated hundreds and thousands of times. Nobody here wants a life without excitement, fun, laughter or enjoyment, but if everybody keeps sinking into the holes of society, nobody will have this. The pleasures of conforming to society are tempting, but the outcome of doing so is much worse then resisting the pressure.
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