This is a little late, but I wanted to write a short something about a classmate of mine who passed away a couple of weeks ago. His name was Charlie, and he was, at the risk of sounding cliche, one-of-a-kind. I first met Charlie in elementary school. I remember him being big in height, big in intelligence, and big in humor--everything about him was loud and expressive. He wore large glasses as a kid, and was often teased. Back in the early 90s, the awareness of bullying was not there. Bullying was just an expected part of adolescence. Charlie was intellectually above all of us, and we knew it. I think this is one of the reasons he was often teased, and though sometimes he was visibly affected by the teasing (who wouldn't be?), he often seemed stoic and unaffected by it. I always admired this quality about him. Throughout school, I was never high up on the popular totem pole. I wasn't bullied, but rather, I was more so ignored or in the background. When people did say things to me--mean things, of course--I couldn't let it go. I couldn't joke about it like Charlie could. When Charlie would laugh--especially after being teased, I always felt like he knew something the rest of us didn't. He knew how pointless it all was. He knew that the rest of us were not at his level of intelligence.
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