I was finally switching schools, probably quite a bit too late. At the request of my parents, Veronika wrote an assessment, an evaluation if you will, of my time at Härnöstuna. I think my parents felt that my new overseers needed to know why I was coming to them at this time, and why I was skipping a year to study with those a year older than myself.
To be frank, the headline of the document could easily have been, “This is why this socially inept fuckwit is now your problem.” Of course, that’s not how Veronika saw it. She probably saw it more as, “This is why the presence of this genius is now your privilege.” I may have overstated that a bit, but you get the point. Let’s get down to business, here’s what Veronika wrote: (The parentheses are mine, as will become abundantly clear).
At the request of the parents of Oscar Blomqvist, here is a description of Oscar and his school situation as I see it.
A look back
I’ve been Oscar’s mentor since 2001 when he started first grade in my class. Oscar came to me as a very mature 7-year-old who was ready to start school with everything that that entailed. It was noticeable early on that Oscar had gotten further in his development than his peers of the same age.
When we played and sang songs, Oscar was mostly sighing and showed with his entire body language that this did not suit him. I think he felt that it was all a bit too silly. Looking back, I wonder if he experienced it as too unserious already back then. In school you work – it’s not a place for play! (Good God, no wonder I was bullied).
Oscar has always had an easy time learning new things. He quickly attains new knowledge and applies it to what he already knows. If he does need help with something, for example when it comes to math, a short discussion is usually enough for him to understand what he’s supposed to do. He’s an incredibly versatile student who doesn’t struggle in any subject.
Oscar is ambitious and always arrives well prepared both in terms of his homework and the exams. He usually ends up at the top of the class. His work is always thorough and he never does a sloppy job just because it feels less fun. Always just as ambitious. Oscar easily expresses himself and his thoughts and is vocally active in the class. (That didn’t last long, let’s just say I was vocally beaten into submission). He got through the national exams in year five without any problems.
Oscar is a lovely guy who I love to sit and chat with. He easily finds his words and I’ve always been able to joke around with him in a way that I haven’t been able to with anyone else in the class. Oscar’s problem throughout the years has been the relationship with other kids.
In the beginning, when Oscar became angry, for example, if someone accidentally pushed him in the cloakroom, he would push/hit back before finding out the cause of the push. (Probably because it rarely was accidental. After a while, you stop checking). Oscar has always been much bigger and taller than his friends (it’s nice that she at least thought we were friends I guess), so he’s always had an advantage there. His friends have expressed several times that they were afraid of Oscar when he got angry. (Pussies).
Oscar has worked a lot with especially this kind of behavior and has gotten far. I want to emphasize here that Oscar is not an aggressive guy who goes around and fights people. Not at all. It got heated when Oscar received criticism (a fancy word for abuse, I must say) of some kind, most often on the soccer field or when his team lost during one of the breaks.
We, the parents and I, have worked hard to get Oscar to lower the demands he has of himself, to not always feel the need to be the best, to not always need to win, and to be able to let loose and have some fun during breaks instead of taking it so seriously. Even if Oscar has worked hard with this (I still very much am in some ways), he still has some way to go. To this, it’s worth adding that Oscar is a real sports guy. He’s really good at sports and can be quite competitive.
I really like Oscar and he occupies a large part of my “teacher-heart.” It feels incredibly sad that Oscar hasn’t been able to find an equal in the class he’s currently in. As he himself says: “They’re not mean to me. They are the way they are and I am the way I am.” (Showing my skills for diplomacy early on).
If there are any further questions or thoughts, you’re very welcome to call me.
Okay, we’re back to me talking to you now. As I’m writing this, it has been well over a decade since Veronika wrote those words. The fact that she ended with a quote of me saying they weren’t hostile towards me feels both true and like a bald-faced lie. It’s like when at the beginning of this story, I was hesitant to call this bullying, even though there were many talks with teachers and other students because I had jumped them after they had been picking on me.
It kept happening so they couldn’t have been that afraid of me since they seemed to enjoy pissing me off. I somehow kept this document around, but I can’t remember ever having read it before. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be a repudiation of everything I’ve told you so far, but I feel this is not what this was. What I do feel this was, is a somewhat accurate, yet one-sided and short depiction of what my early life was like.
I was a bit odd, in some good ways, and in some not so good ways. Many years later, I’m largely the same person as the one Veronika is describing in that letter to my new teachers. I’m competitive, I’m no longer playing sports and I don’t care if I lose at a board game, but I’m ambitious to a fault and can’t stop comparing myself to others my own age in terms of how far we’ve got in our careers.
More than ever, I struggle to relax and enjoy myself, it’s almost impossible without alcohol. We’ve run into each other since I left that class, Veronika and I. She came to see me after I graduated high school. I went to see her before I went off to university. Over the years, there’s been a few messages sent as well. They were not many, but they were heartfelt.
So, I was leaving Veronika and Härnöstuna behind. I had a problem some might say was a problem of privilege. It was this: When you meet your new class and they’re all a year older than you, and they ask you why you’re now studying with those a year older, do you say it’s because you had a full-on breakdown because the little shits at your last school bothered you so much and you needed to be with more mature people? Or do you brush it off as if you were just clever?
I chose the latter, desperate as I was for a fresh start and for my old life not to haunt me. This solution was also not perfect. A kiddo coming in hot claiming some kind of higher-minded bullshit? In a land where the one thing the whole nation can agree on is that you shouldn’t think too highly of yourself, that shit wouldn’t just be allowed to pass.
Although, I still think it was preferable to telling a bunch of people you just met that you stood atop the roof of your old school trying to figure out if you should jump or not. I still think it would have been a bad idea to let that slip.
Before I decided to switch schools, I had a tryout day at The Gert Fredriksson school, a sports school with an Olympic theme, named after the canoeist who was the Swede who had won the most Olympic gold medals, six in total. In the Swedish system, most schools adhere to the structure that you have one group of kids who study almost all subjects together. This group of kids is your class.
The classes at Gert Fredriksson weren’t called 7A, 7B, 7C, and so on, as was usually the case everywhere else. The classes were named after Olympic cities. The class I did a tryout day with in December 2006 was Berlin. Yes, my new class was named after the Nazi Olympic games from 1936. Berlin had about 18 students, two or three less than my previous class. The other 7th grade classes were called Paris and London. They had 12 students each.
You’d think that you’d want to fill up the other classes to get more equal class sizes. But Paris and London were full of problem kids who needed extra attention. Especially London. London was full of nasty shits. As it turns out, if you put a bunch of less than intelligent, violent hockey players in the same classroom, they might brawl a bit off the ice as well. Who knew?
Berlin had thusly been filled with the 7-graders who could sit still for more than five minutes without catching fire. Moses Mäntylä was in my class. I had played a bit of hockey with him. During the tryout day, he was my anchor. I didn’t need much, just something to catch onto, someone to exchange a few familiar words with. The tryout went well, by the end of the day I was being playfully punched by Jens Axelzon, senior troublemaker and neglected child since both of his parents were pilots. Money doesn’t replace attention.
I was relatively brilliant both in school and when it came to sports, but since no one gets everything, I was also born with a beer belly that won’t come off no matter how much I work out, and a bottomless bag of social failure to carry around with me at all times. It kinda makes sense. The giant bag of social failure led me to this school.
Gert Fredriksson was a small private school, but not private in the sense that you may think of it. It cost no money to go there, but the government gave the school a sum of money for every enrolled student, and thusly it could still be run for profit. With tax money. Great. Gert Fredriksson was a place where people with more academic failures than social ones walked around and pretended to be smooth.
Like Sasha for instance, who put his arms around a girl, looked down her deep, deep cleavage, and said “Molly, I love the shirt you’re wearing today!” What he really meant to say was, “In two minutes I’m gonna go into the bathroom and jerk off to your massive tits.” Well done Sasha, you’re a prick.
In my class at Gert Fredriksson, there was a guy called Lukas Kimmo. We just called him Kimmo. Kimmo was a bit slow. He had dyslexia, but he wasn’t just confused by letters and words, it was numbers as well. He just wasn’t very smart. His grades weren’t very good. When I was new, I ended up sitting next to him quite often. You have to start at the bottom, I guess.
Sometimes, or rather all the time, when he couldn’t understand something, he would ask me, and I’d try to help. Just like me, he didn’t play a sport on Tuesday mornings like everybody else because he needed some extra tutoring, and I needed to catch up on an entire year of math since I just skipped a grade and a year of schooling. He was catching up, I was racing ahead.
Once I had caught up, I could start practicing my sport of choice on Tuesdays. Since I was playing three sports at the time, it was rather difficult to choose. I decided to do hockey since basketball was taking over the rest of my life outside of school. After one hockey practice, I had had enough. It wasn’t really an organized practice, but more of an opportunity for the older students to bully the younger with trips, hooks, and blows to the head.
There was also the small problem of me being not so good at hockey. I switched to basketball, the only problem with that was that Gert Fredriksson didn’t have basketball on the curriculum. But the principal, being an old player for the Swedish national team, came up with a solution. I was to practice with Domsdal Gymnasium, a local high school with a basketball program, on Thursday afternoons. He drove me there himself. Tuesday mornings I slept in.
I knew the guys at Domsdal, they all played in the same club as me. But this of course meant that they were now even older than the hockey guys, and therefore even more likely to mess with me, but it was still better than hockey. I quickly befriended one of the teacher assistants at the school, he once tried to call me “my homie,” but he ended up saying “my homo.” I didn’t mind.
He was 22 years old, still a virgin as one of my female classmates informed me with a smile, probably because she had already been penetrated by many a penis at the mere age of fifteen. I felt like a noob whenever I by habit put my seatbelt on in his car since he never did. He had a few favorite students that he drove home each day, I got a ride on a number of occasions.
I think he saw a bit of his dorky younger self in me, or maybe I was just cool. Yeah, it’s the first one, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure the school didn’t commend this kind of obvious favoritism, but I felt like I had earned some favoritism, and gratefully accepted it. During the first parent-teacher meeting I had in 7th grade, my teacher Anders, who I really liked, told my dad and me, that Lukas had made some great progress since I came to the class. It was obvious that the little help I provided meant a lot. But it wouldn’t last forever.
I would never have become a good teacher. I don’t have the patience. After a while, I became more and more frustrated that he couldn’t understand the simplest math problems and other concepts. It was Peter from elementary school all over again. One time we were working on a math problem and he couldn’t figure out how to get the circumference of the school building.
“You just add the different sides together,” I said, stood up, and started walking towards the door to do the actual measuring.
“But I don’t get it?”
“HOW CAN YOU NOT? IT’S SO SIMPLE!” I had had enough.
“Don’t be so angry, he’s just trying to understand,” said two girls, the only other people in the room. They would get on my back for being frustrated, but they wouldn’t do what I did and actually try to help him. Fucking hypocrites.
The rest were out measuring till their fingers bled. We were behind because I had to carry a man with the intellectual capabilities of a toddler. No one understood my frustration because they had never tried to help him. I walked off. Next, we had PE, on the schedule for that particular day was circle training. One of the stations was boxing on a mattress.
PE teachers had to be really creative to avoid ever actually letting the class play any actual sports. It was remarkable. Of course, I ended up with Kimmo. I was after all only just above Kimmo on the bottom of the totem pole of social status. Humans tend to protect those who are a bit slow, and I can’t say that’s a bad thing.
Mao sent the intellectuals out into the fields to work themselves to death during the Cultural Revolution, and the collective academic complex of the masses has maybe not increased, but it has not gone away even as more and more people end up with university degrees and technically are academics.
People still hate intelligence, as certain electoral outcomes have made clear. There was a weird duplicity to how the slowpokes in my various classes were treated. They were pitied and condescended to at the same time. Treated nicely and like garbage. When Kimmo and I put the gloves on, I felt like I couldn’t put any actual force behind my punches.
A second pair of girls were watching us. They were not participating because they were “ill,” the liars. Every time Kimmo tried to hit me, they cheered. When I punched his glasses off his face, they asked me what the fuck I was doing. I couldn’t do anything right here either. Until the end of high school, the only thing I felt I did right in the eyes of my peers was to disappear.
They can all cheer for Kimmo, the underdog, but help him? Just talk to him? Say hi? Fuck no. They were all about appearances. I couldn’t take it anymore. Just like everyone else already had, I would turn on him too. It became a sport to try to get rid of him. You see, he would follow us everywhere. By us, I mean all the boys in the class. There were so few of us that we all hung out together, and I was actually somewhat included in that. Incredible.
No longer being the lowest of the low, I could hang out with the guys in the class without being questioned about why I was there. If you zigzagged in a corridor without doors, Kimmo would zigzag right behind you so that he could make sure he didn’t lose track of you. Guys would sit six people around a table for two in an empty dining hall, just so that when the next group came in, including Kimmo, they wouldn’t fit. It was rather disgusting, actually.
“I’m trying to break up my contract with Easton, it’s been way too long.”
“I feel as if I’m gonna be stuck with TPS for the rest of my life, God help me.”
“I see an opening with CCM, but JOFA is holding onto me tight.”
Easton, TPS, CCM, and JOFA were hockey equipment brands, or in the case of dining hall seating, Lukas Kimmo. It was a code, so we could say it in front of his face. I did it too. It was evil, especially considering what I had been, and to some extent still was, going through. But hey, it was fucking funny. I joined in. Of course, I did. It was a matter of survival.
Every schoolyard is a lion pit where Russell Crowe asks “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?????” Had I not joined I might as well have allowed myself to once again be eaten by the lions.
But that means you’re just as bad as everyone else.
Of course, I am! The schtick about being superior is only something I tell myself to get out of bed in the morning, it’s never been about being true to myself. Being true to yourself will never solve anything.
God that was melodramatic.
Things weren’t as shitty as they used to be, but they still weren’t that good. I was still being picked on, just by people outside my class. I had a few breakdowns. I hid them fairly well, once in the teachers’ lounge with my teacher Anders as the only witness. It was after a math test and a girl I considered dim as fuck had got a better grade than I had.
She was screaming in my face “WHAT DID YOU GET? HUH? WHAT DID YOU GET?” Dim people don’t feel the need to hide when they do well on a test, since they never usually do, they won’t get picked on for it. If I did well, I’d get teased for being a nerd. If I didn’t do well, I would be teased for not living up to nerd standards.
Therefore, hiding any and all results from public view was the best option. I think it’s obvious that I wasn’t doing well at this point, hence her screaming in my face about what grade I got when I hadn’t done super well was enough to put me over the edge. I didn’t say anything, I just disappeared for a while. That’s usually what I did. I disappeared.
Anders found it concerning that I had been so upset over a math exam result. I thought so too, how weak-minded I could be often surprised me, the breakdowns often came out of nowhere. The fact that it was about a thousand decibels in that room didn’t exactly help. I’m actually quite sure that’s what caused it. Loud, prolonged sounds not to my liking can fuck with me real bad.
In gym class in ninth grade, we were supposed to do some sort of interpretive dance because the education agency said we had to do some sort of dance as part of the curriculum. We were a sports school, our teacher was an old basketball player, he didn’t wanna do it either. It was loud, nobody was doing anything remotely productive, and the pressure to perform to get a good grade in this part of the course made my performance anxiety push my overall anxiety through the fucking roof.
Kimmo was sitting next to me, but fortunately, for once, he didn’t follow me when I stood up and walked out the door. The forest wasn’t far away. I called dad from the shelter of the trees. He didn’t have much to say. He was not cut out to deal with shit like that. I was crying, but it was okay. The environment was shit. I didn’t feel bad for breaking down again, I wasn’t embarrassed afterward.
Not in front of myself anyway. I just sort of accepted the fact that I was sad. These things were going to happen once in a while. It would boil over and I would crack and fall. It’s okay. Shit happens. During this time, it happened a bit too often for my liking, though. Seriously, four times in eight months is a bit much.
To some, that might seem like nothing, but I would go years without crying at all, so that was a huge increase. For most of my life, I’ve just been sad on the inside, feeling that it was better not to show anyone how I actually felt. This would of course lead to pent-up emotions which would then explode into actions like walking up on the roof to jump. Ironically, trying not to be a drama queen would lead to being a drama queen.
Controlling your thoughts when you don’t feel very good has never been easy. My classroom at my new school was quite high up, the windows were big and easy to open.
Dude, if you jump from here, you might actually die.
Nah, I’m not too keen.
What’s wrong with you? I’m not sure I like this sudden spurt of will to live.
Things had gotten better, but they weren’t good. I wasn’t suicidal, I just wouldn’t have minded if someone felt like shooting me in the head. For a long time, I couldn’t pinpoint what kind of sad I was. I was hopeless, but also dead inside. Or maybe that’s the exact same thing? Teachers have always told me that I’m unique, although they tell everyone they’re unique as if it’s a good thing.
So far it has mostly served to bite me in the ass. You easily fall into the stereotypical thinking of comparing yourself to others to make you feel better, but for me, that makes no sense at all. I don’t get that comparing yourself to someone in the third world can make some people feel better. I think like that myself sometimes.
But not being born under disadvantaged circumstances doesn’t change the fact that you fucked up. No matter how much you twist and turn it, you will still be the one who has crapped their own pants, no matter how brilliant the conditions you had to start with were. That just makes it worse, because you had a good start and managed to fuck it up anyway.
After the breakdown in the forest, I somehow got back in the gym where no dancing progress was being made. After two lessons of doing absolutely nothing, one of the class clowns came up with a routine, and we let him do it because we didn’t have anything else. The girls lined up on one side and the boys on the other.
Then, we boys did a dance where we basically spent some time unspooling metaphorical dicks of infinite length and then lassoed the girls with our massive gentleman-sausages, through the magic of dance.
“Yeah, awesome, A+,” the teacher essentially said. He hated dancing just as much as everybody else, so he probably just thought: Yeah, they’re taking the piss, nice, I like that. Now let’s quit this faggoty garbage and let’s play soccer! Hu huh! *manly growling*
There was one problem kid in our class, and when I say problem kid, I don’t mean like Kimmo, I mean the stabby, murdery, straight-up criminal, kind of problem kid. He had a reputation that made everyone stay out of his way. We were cleaning the classroom once and his desk was full of papers and books. He wasn’t there, he rarely was.
He didn’t need to put his belongings in a locker, because if anyone took anything, they’d die. I tried to clear up his pile of old stacks of papers. Axelzon, the son of pilots, immediately said “If you move that book, he’s gonna kill you,” I put the physics book down and left the mess as it was. It was because of all of this that it was very unfortunate that Magnus, the stabby, murdery, problem kid, and a few of his minions were sitting in one of the saunas at the school gymnasium where I practiced basketball on Thursdays.
I walked into the shower towel wrapped around me, the door to the sauna flew open, and there they sat, laughing. I walked out, unshowered, and told Peter that the sauna was full of people doing God knows what. He walked in anyway and hung up his towel, his tiny dick dangling in the breeze from Magnus’s sauna antics.
It was a bit like having the Godfather walking in on you showering.
“Wow, you look really bad naked.”
“You’re damn right thank you.”
Jakob Axelsson, not the son of pilots but with a very similar name, was the class clown and the school heartthrob at Gert Fredriksson. He had a weird relationship with me. He liked to see me naked and he liked me to see him naked. In the locker room after PE, I’d pull the curtain tight around the shower, but he enjoyed taking peaks, Jakob did.
Then when I was sitting on the bench, bending down to put on my socks, he’d shout “Oscar!” When I promptly looked up as he yelled my name, there they were, his cock and balls, right in front of my face. Jakob thought it stupendously hilarious that my gaze had focused on his reproductive organs, and coined the new nickname “Porn-Orre” which of course stuck like an octopus suction cup.
He was the one exposing himself to me. He was the sick one. But then again, I shouldn’t complain, he was basically had the body and genitalia of an Adonis, he was impeccable. Another thing he did was that he made it quite obvious that he liked this girl, by saying “Spread your legs, woman!” And then he would spread her legs and thrust into her.
He basically just dry-humped a fifteen-year-old girl, in school. The only reason that wasn’t considered abuse, is because for some reason she liked it, and they got together. If I ever tried that as a first move and didn’t end up in jail afterward, it would be a fucking miracle.
In school I wasn’t the funny popular kid, I wasn’t even the unpopular funny kid, I was the unpopular weird kid. I started out in life trying to be funny, but the rest of the six-year-olds couldn’t understand sarcasm so the only one laughing at my jokes was the teacher. I don’t really remember what the jokes were but I assume that they were something along the lines of “What is it with crayons these days, they taste like garbage?!” Classic Jerry Seinfeld for six-year-olds.
Everybody would look at me and then there would be some retarded kid down in the corner actually eating the crayons going: “On the contrary my dear sir! I find that the orange has a strong flavor of boogers and rat feces, quite delicious!” And everybody would agree with the crayon-eating dumbass, not because he was right, but because I had the social standing of a toad. Agree with me, and reap the consequences of your social suicide.
On top of that, I was late to puberty too. The fact that I was a year younger than my classmates from 7th grade onwards made an already obvious fact even more obvious. In 9th grade, a girl asked me if I shaved my legs. I didn’t, I had hair on my legs, they were just light and far apart.
Well, excuse me for being a bit behind on puberty, girl who only wears pushup bras because her tits are like a pair of balloons blown up by a 90-year-old lady with lung cancer. Another time I answered a question in music class and the teacher thought it was one of the girls because my voice was so high. I was nothing if not a dork with a huge bullseye on my forehead.
There was a girl in my class when I was about 15 who made it clear that she liked me. She put her arm around mine and put her head on my shoulder, and she was obviously passing the ball to me. But I didn’t know what to do, the most action I had had was when I was seven and I pecked a few girls on the mouth and that was about it.
And I didn’t know if I liked her, or if I just liked her massive tits, which is hard to determine when you’re fifteen years old. But I didn’t not like her, which was a good sign… I think. But I never did anything about it because I was old and mature enough to know that if I fucked her, she would expect more, she would want to be with me every day in school.
We were in the same class, there would be no way to get away from her. Or, I just really had no idea how to handle this kind of situation, so I did nothing. I think you know which one is closest to the truth. I kinda regret not doing anything about it because she did have a great pair of tits.
In my class at Gert Fredriksson, there were actually a few characters that weren’t that athletic and didn’t play any sports in their free time, which made me wonder how they had ended up at the school in the first place. One of these people was Hugo. He was heavily overweight and had a crush on the skinniest girl in the class, the one most drowning in makeup.
A lot of them seemed to cake it on for dear life. Let’s put it in the clearest terms possible. Hugo had bigger tits than she did. He called her a flat-chested plank. It was sad to watch really because you knew it was never going to happen. He teased her because that’s what boys do. They tease the girls that they like.
Just like you did with Cecilia?
Oh, come on don’t lie to me, I mean yourself. We’re not gonna lose our minds, my mind. Our mind? Shit. So, did you like her, or did you just like her massive tits?
I honestly don’t know. I have a hard time liking people, which means she’s doing quite well since I didn’t hate her.
She made another attempt. During our class trip to Krakow, Poland, Hugo thought it would be a great idea to strip in front of the class and rap about “a girl that he likes.” Everybody knew who it was. What we didn’t know was how not flat-chested Hugo was. But we got to know anyway. Cecilia sat down in my lap.
I held her, but that was it. I should’ve done something, but as I said, I had no idea how to do that something, or what that something was. We went to Krakow because of it being in the close vicinity of, you guessed it, Auschwitz-Birkenau. There’s no place more romantic than where more than a million people have died in a number of awful ways, is there?