I fondly tell people I meet about the corn, farms, small town life, the sneaking around to drink beer, enjoying the occasional dip of chewing tobacco, and other fine things that come with being a teenage boy. But, if I’m honest with myself, that’s not the truth.
I hated growing up in my small town in south-central Nebraska.
I hated the small talk, the old ladies asking about my great-uncles who I didn’t even know very well, the odd town traditions I didn’t fully understand, and the general lack of cosmopolitanism.
I hated the oppressive social climate, the ostracism, the lack of privacy, the way bookish kids like me were gently laughed at and considered weird, and I hated the corn.
Yes, I hated that damn corn, and what it represented to our town.
I hated that as an able-bodied male, I was expected to go out for football, basketball, and track. I hated that the expectation was for me to explain why I didn’t want to participate in an activity, rather than why I should be allowed entry into a club or team.
I hated that people were quick to ask “what’s wrong?” when I just wanted to be left alone. I hated that the town response to tragedy and suffering was to suffocate the afflicted family with attention. And I hated the idea that my business was everyone’s business, and everyone’s business my business.