The Metaphorical Resonance of Teen Categorization (2015 Silver Key, Humor)
By Nuha Dolby, 9th Grade, Bronx High School of Science
I’m a teenager.
That in itself should bring a torrent of hate, disgust, and a chorus of “OMG” to the minds of many. Now, I am very sorry to say I have a lot of justification for this.
For years, teenagers have behaved like a band of wild gorillas determined to inform the rest of society that “this world is not for you, peasants! Bow down!” We have ransacked stores, stealing Orbit gum and condoms in XXL alike. We are the mouthpieces of the devil, I’ve been told.
We’re also ridiculously stupid, weird, and incorrigibly high on life. Which make for some pretty interesting stories.
The “AFL” Incident:
(8th grade. We are in History class, and are learning about unions.)
Teacher: Then there’s the AFL. Can anybody tell me what that is?
Student 1: American Football League!
Student 2: I knew watching football would pay off!
Teacher: No, it stands for- never mind. I give up on you all.
(9th grade. In a fit of pure maturity, my friend and I decide to look up “can i …” on Google)
Me: Ugh! It says, “Can I poop with a vasectomy?”
Friend: What’s a vasectomy?
Me: Well, if it makes you question your ability to dispel…oh, euch!…from your body, I don’t think it’s anything all that good!
(8th grade. Yearbook signings, and I’ve just been handed a yearbook from a friend.)
Me: (begins writing, while reading text aloud) Dear friend,
Friend: (Begins stroking my leg with his foot)
Me: (continues writing and reading aloud) I wish you all the best in hi-you better get your slimy, awkward, and strangely comforting feet off my leg before I eat you!-gh school! Love, Me.
Ribs and Lunchtime:
(8th grade. History, once again, and someone is eating.)
Student: (holds out slimy, sauce-coated BBQ rib) Hey, Mr. Teacher, want one?
Teacher: No, thanks. (continues writing on board)
Teacher: What are you guys laughing at?
(9th grade, first period of the day.)
Friend: How are you so awake?
Me: Coffee and Skittles for breakfast. It’s a staple.
Friend: (zones out) You staple yourself?
Those are just the ones with relatively little profanity. The ones in which we do curse, we sound like deranged hooligans and make even George W. Bush seem somewhat human.
Now, what kind of people constitute such a strange group of beings with such interesting (and somewhat stupid) interactions?
Fear not, dear reader. For here I am, to save you with my “Guide to Classifying Teenagers.”
a) The Sentimental One (noun) The Sentimental One is a Gandhi wannabe, plural: a gaggle of Gandhi wannabes
a.1.) For example, a duck face selfie on Instagram, at night with the caption “Shoot for the stars, because if you miss, at least you’ll hit the moon! #nighttime #love #inspire.”
Note: Heaven forbid we are actually sentimental, there is always some excuse which takes all the sentiment out. The previous example clearly screams, “I’m drunk, drunk, drunk!” For example, “Who else uses that quote? It’s, like, so last year anyway.”
b) The Basic White Girl
(noun) The Basic White Girl is the epitome of stereotypical white girls. If you could create a word which defined a mixture of Starbucks, spray tans, and Instagram, this is that word.
b.1.) For example, “Taylor Swift can’t be basic! She’s not even white!”
b.2.) For example, “Major crisis! I ate 200 calories today! #sofat!”
c) The Desperate Singles
(noun) The Desperate Single Girl has a tendency to complain about her perpetual state of single-ness. These creatures are notorious for their lack of a grip on reality.
c.1.) For example, “Ermahgawd…no guy ever likes my selfies on Instagram! Why don’t they like, like me or something?”
c.2.) For example, “He, like, looked at me! That’s it- we’re official- wait, what do you mean, we’re not?”
c.3.) For example, “So what if he proposed, donated a kidney to you, and is the father of your child? He might still love me!”
(noun) The Desperate Single Guy has a tendency to flex, work out, brag about enlarged genitalia, sexual escapades, their marathon viewing of other people engaging in sexual acts, and other very stereotypical, ”manly”, and idiotic acts. He can also engage in using…interesting English in the hopes that girls like illiterate, “gangsta”, and very desperate “bois.”
c.1.) For example, “Yo, dawg! I just watched dis hawt gurl do da naystay wit dis uglay boi. I coulda hit dat so much betta, dawg!”
c.2.) For example, “I just went to the gym, and like, picked up lots of heavy things, and they were, like, so heavy. My muscles, like, doubled- here, lemme show you…”
c.3.) For example, “Look at my inflamed genitals!”
(noun) The Hipster is a teenager who “isn’t stereotypical”-they’ve created a new stereotype, ironically. Features of this group include “nerd” glasses and plaid shirts. They can be found on Tumblr, casually approving of “I’m weird and I know it”-esque memes/photos.
d.1.) For example, “I’m unique!”
d.2.) For example, “I don’t fit in any stereotype! I’m unique!”
NOTE: An appropriate response is: “Yes, you’re unique…just like everyone else!”
(noun) The Geek/Nerd is a teenager who is very obsessed with “nerdy” things. These include sci-fi shows/books/movies, extreme fantasy games (i.e. Legend of Zelda). They were once characterized by nerd glasses, but then the Age of the Hipsters came about, so look out for all-the-way buttoned-up polo shirts. Shirts featuring “fandoms” can also be key. They may attempt to be cool…but it’s always obvious they’re not in the “popular” crew.
e.1.) For example, “I love Star Wars! I might kill you if you disagree.”
e.2.) For example, “Math is like, the bomb-dot-com! #coolkids!”
NOTE: Being a nerd often comes with a negative connotation. If that’s who you are- embrace it, but no hashtags. Please.
f) Perverted Psychos
(noun) Everything has to do with biology, reproduction…and (surprise, surprise!) them “doing” all the popular kids.
f.1.) For example, “Did you just say carrot? Because I have one in my pants! LOL!”
f.2.) For example, “Did you just poke me on Facebook? Because you can poke me somewhere else!”
f.3.) For example, “Do you poop? Yes? You wanna watch me do it?”
NOTE: Such statements should be answered with a scornful “I have standards, puh-leez!”
I could go on and on and on…but I’m going to stop there, because everyone is unique (yes, even the Hipsters). I simply picked groups that are easily spotted in the crowd, because they’re the ones that are expected on the list. With that in mind, my parting gift to you is a final type of teenager:
g) You (if not of this age…pretend?)
(noun) The “You” has the metaphorical resonance of representing that all people cannot be classified into black-or-white groups. The “You” is whomever you want it to be; it’s whomever you create. If that fits into a category, so be it.
If not…well, I guess you’ll be special and live with everyone else. After all, as George W. Bush said in 2000, “I know that human beings and fish can coexist peacefully.”
If they can do it…so should we.