Oh, Those Alienated Teenagers!

_Fact of life: we all went through our sullen, withdrawn phases sometime in our teenage years. Some may deny it, but they will only turn out to be bitter alcoholics that quietly seethe about marrying young and taking a job in automotive sales. But for all the rest of us level-headed, fully matured college students, we can look back on our alienated teenager phases and laugh. Yes, there was a time when even Berkeley students were irrational and contrarian. In this spirit of reminiscence, let us look back at the awkward years of some noted authors. They too were somehow able to understand the unending vortex of emptiness and pain that only you could know. _

From Emily Dickinson’s private diary, age 13

June 12: I really like Bobby! He’s so cute!! But so is Jacob. I wonder which one I’ll marry.
June 13: My kitty died. It was real sad.
June 17: Death is a dialogue between the spirit and the dust. “Dissolve,” says death. From the haiku scrolls (“Keep out!”) of Lao Tzu, age 16:

Lotus petals float,

swimming in the summer breeze

I hate my parents.

From the correspondence of John Keats and an adolescent friend, apparently named “Marty”:

Note #1: HeY jOhN, wHaT R U dOiNg?

Note #2: Nothing. Curse this school-related busywork! I adore beautiful idolence!

Note #3: Why? Doing nothing sUx0rz!

Note #4: Oh but Marty, I don’t want to be in class. I want to run and jump and fondle my private bits all of the day! Yesternight I could do nothing save for daydreaming and staring at a Grecian urn of mine. I stared and stared until the figures became as moving figures on a carousel, except they were naked maidens! Verily, I reveled in my splend’rous youth, and masturbated!

Note #5: Dood, John, that’s all you ever do anymore. Seriously, it’s a problem. Chill. From a journal entry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, age 14 > I was really bored today so I went down to the docks. It was cool ’cause I shot this huge albatross. Bam! Straight down, like a rock. When it fell at my feet, I just kind of looked at it. But it was boring so I went home. I hope Mom made potatoes for dinner. From Friedrich Nietzsche’s 10th grade class project entitled “Religion”: > Hey, church is pretty sweet.