“What does an old school photo today?” reveal about who I am
has a message for the teenage boy he was in 1986.
It’s not the sort of delivery you receive every day. My sister turned up for a visit and dropped off a package someone had given to my father with the strict trict instructions: “It It must be hand-delivered d-delivered to David.” How thrilling! As the theme to tomission: Mission:
Impossible ssible played in my head, I fantasised tasised about the planes I’d hang ang off as I cracked the code ode that would stop the planet et from teetering off its axis. NASA would thank me. The Queen would knight me and nd even President Trump mp would forgive whatt I’d said about him and call me a “Really, reallyy great guy, one of the best and smartest I know, ow, and I know all the he best guys, I am sure you will agree.”
Thee Walter Mittyesquee dreamscape dissolved olved quickly whenn I pulled out a simplemple old register book.. Its faded green n cover was nondescriptdescript and, hang g on, there’s handwriting dwriting in thee corner! My Year 8 teacher had sent me an old class photo and my report from that year. A deep dive into what made me the man I am today. What clues would it unlock in my psyche to embolden m me for the rest of my life? Proving once and for all that I always had a spark. Perhaps I was seen as gifted in high school and nevern knew it. I flicked through the p pages of notes on the school and found mym name. CAMPBELL, David. Asse Assessment 1 comments… Here we go! Well organised. G Good bookwork and atte attention to detail. B. Wait. That w was it? No. Surely there w was more? This was it. I was an average B stud student. Just nice. Well organisedorga (read: needy), had goo good bookwork (nerdy) and attentionatten to detail (early OCD).OCD I looked over thet photo and the memories camec flooding back. The bowl haircut neatly framin framing ears already too big for my head. The nervous sm smile and arms stiff at my side so as not to stand out. NowhereNow near puberty and the rebellion that would creepcree into my school years in t the coming years. I would tr try to distract from my crippli crippling acne and anxiety by showing off and making my schoolmates, and with any luck the girls in my class, laugh and see beyond all that.
My grades would slip to C, then some Ds, and my attention to detail became focused on my wonderful mullet and my attitude, which was less OCD and more undiagnosed ADHD.
I think of my latter high school years as what defined me to be the performer I am today. I had “more front than Myer”, keeping most people at bay while my life and identity were being challenged daily and tying me in knots.
However, when I looked at that boy in the second row in 1986, I realised I’m more like him now than ever before. I was too harsh on him. Too quick to force him out of my memory. He was a good boy. He cared, perhaps a little too much. He loved comic books and just wanted to be liked. In fact, I wish I was even more like him.
Except for the haircut.
When looked at that boy from 1986, I realised I’m more like him now than ever. I was too harsh on him”