Growing up “social”: Misdemeanors in a small world

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I am so glad that I grew up before computer screens lit up the faces of young people. Needing a scalpel to be removed from a gameboy was not an available affliction to folk of my age and I shudder to think what my life would have been like. Can you imagine every mood of your adolescent years being the focus of attention on Facebook? I am particularly glad that peers could not point a phone at my misdemeanors and immediately record them to you tube.

Good fortune has provided me with a number of vibrant and youthful “friends” on Facebook and seeing their antics broadcast on the web causes me to smile and also ponder how things might have been different. I am certainly glad of having few witnesses to a number of my “social experiments” and explorations into finding out what it is to be human and truly alive.

At college I was also lucky in that I had great friends who through adventure sports knew what it was to be truly focused; they had glints in their eyes borne from pushing boundaries. While some might see this needle sharp concentration as selfish and disruptive it was the essence of young people who were on a journey of finding themselves. Many went on to become stalwarts of the community and their skills were developed through “play”. The thing is that most of this behavior was best unheard of and even better unseen.

So here is a quick story that I am willing to share. As a student I lived by a body of water called the Menai Straits and from our dorm rooms we could see the island of Anglesey. Spanning this briny channel is an incredibly beautiful bridge suspended from chains more than a hundred feet above the water. Built by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826 it is an incredible example of aesthetics and how there is an extreme elegance in sound engineering.

We often used to cross over to the town of Menai Bridge which had a good collection of pubs and after dark it was not unheard of for us to return over the top of the chains. The view from the eerie at the apex on the towers is amazing and the feeling of freedom provided by the airy journey is (was) quite sublime.

One evening we had gone out in fancy dress and elected to return by the “high road”.

Unfortunately, a passer by had called the police and while most of us scattered, one brave young man chose to stand on top of a building on the mainland that housed one end of the chain. The policeman decided to try and talk our superhero down, I need to also tell you he was dressed in tight red and blue with a flowing red cape and a large red “S” highlighted by a yellow background.

“Come down son.”


“OK, what’s your name?”


“Don’t get smart with me sonny. What’s your real name?”

Clark Kent. I come from Krypton, and I am going back there now.” With that he leaped off the back and ran down to the beach never to be caught. Meanwhile his audience in the bushes sniggered.

So yes there are some scenes from my past I would love to see on youtube and this is one of them. Your homework today is to think of things you want people to see that you do and also to happily reminisce on memories you know were kept from the public eye.

Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent
Image via Wikipedia
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One thought on “Growing up “social”: Misdemeanors in a small world

  1. Good point! The generational norms of social acceptance are always evolving and should not be forgotten. What comes across as ‘stupid,’ ‘risky,’ or ‘troublesome’ today may be the divine display of expression by the human spirit tomorrow.

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