DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES OF ADOLESCENCE, 1950s

Let your comic book subscriptions

lapse;

find Psychology in the library

and look up Sex in each index;

spend two hours daily improving

hair, complexion, muscles;

get the family car stuck in mud

and never report what happened;

speak rudely to your parents

like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause;

leave the corner where everyone hangs out

because it’s boring and it’s getting cold;

work where you’re the youngest

and the men call you “the kid”;

have two religious experiences: in a house of worship

and the bosom of nature;

fall in love with someone who thinks

exactly as you do about everything;

find a cause or a craft that you’ll single-mindedly

devote your whole life to;

scorn the mendacity of all those around you

and swear unswerving devotion to truth.

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