My memory is an odd thing. Some memories from childhood are clear as a bell to this day, some memories from only a few years ago are absolutely gone. My brothers are often baffled that I remember what I was thinking when I did certain things as a kid. My mom has encouraged me to start writing down certain memories, probably mostly for my family's entertainment. Here's one from when I was in elementary school.
I was a big Calvin & Hobbes fan from an early age. I developed an extensive vocabulary at an early age because of this, though I mis-used words all the time. Also, most of the words didn't lend themselves to my normal everyday topics of conversation, so I would try and recreate the exact context of the strip with someone else so I could use a word like "revoked" and sound smart.
But this story isn't about my vocabulary weirdness, it's about Calvin's green-leaning. Watterson has always included very pro-green messages about pollution and animals and such. This message of recycling, saving water and saving the rainforests was also reinforced by my public elementary school from about 3rd grade on, as I recall. I'm not sure what made me adopt my own conservation mindset, but at that age, the idea that there were bad guys cutting down forests and jerks throwing their trash everywhere, and that we needed to stop them was an easy sell. When I first discovered all the cool animals that lived in South American rainforests, the deal may have been sealed. I loved poison dart frogs and ocelots, so Go Earth! Down with loggers! Down with pollution!
This leads us to some prayer night my folks were having out our house one time. There were a couple other families with us there. There was only one other kid that I remember, a girl about my age, but I didn't know her very well. We all wrote down prayer requests and then passed them to the person next to us, then we went around praying for each one. My request was something about saving the earth. I even included a line from Calvin: "We've only got one Earth, and it's got to last us a while." Well, the lady next to me who had to read my request couldn't read my writing, apparently, because she struggled through it and translated it as "'We've only got one Earth, and it's got to lost us a while.' Well, Lord, you know what he means..." I was really annoyed. My handwriting isn't messy! You really couldn't read "last"? Come on!
So then it was my turn. I held the note of requests that belonged to the girl who was my age. Her handwriting wasn't that great, but it was her spelling that was really awful. We must have been in at least 3rd or 4th grade at that point, and I was (am) quite the spelling snob, so I was even more disgusted by her lack of skill. The trouble was, I could understand her message completely! I deciphered it quite easily. I thought, how can you not read my message, with its perfect spelling, grammar, and punctuation, yet I can decipher this affront to the English language with ease? It didn't seem fair that, in front of the group, I was going to look like the dunce who couldn't spell, whereas this girl was going to look normal. So I did a really jerky thing. I acted like I had to struggle through reading her note for the prayer. I still read it completely and understandably, and didn't add, "Well, Lord, You know what she means...", but I really poured on the pauses and effort in my voice.
Kind of a butt-face.