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The The West is the Best Issue

Juvenile Hell

Exploring the adults that refuse to grow up.
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

“This is Chi after he disappeared into Lucien’s sister’s room to pass out. When I took the picture, the flash woke him up and he gave me the finger, but I was laughing too hard to get it.” Photo by Tim Barber. Next time one of your friends says to you, “Why do I keep dating assholes?” you can tell her, “Your dad was a huge asshole who was incapable of showing love. You keep dating these douche bags hoping that you can make them love you, thus repairing the lifelong wound your father inflicted upon you.” Then, very quickly say “NEXT!” in a mean-spirited way and wave your hand in a “get out of here”-type gesture. This implies that you were able to easily decipher the core of her destructive behavior in a matter of seconds, despite the fact that your pathetic friend has been unable to develop insight into the cycle she‘s been stuck in for almost 25 years now. It’s called “Cyclical Maladaptive Patterns,” bitch. The reason your friend can’t see the error in her ways is that creating Cyclical Maladaptive Patterns is generally an unconscious phenomenon. The more outrageous the repeated pattern, the more pain there is underneath. On a small scale, we have the parent who tries mercilessly to look cool in front of his kid’s friends, the dad who tells vagina jokes and lets you put chocolate milk in your cereal (“I wasn’t popular when I was eleven, but I just know I can do it now”). Further along on the pathology ladder are adults with diaper fetishes who like to be pissed on, and at the very top of the creepy pyramid, we have “Littles.” These adult men (not to be confused with the rapper of the same name) and women have created fully integrated childlike alter egos, like a homemade multiple personality disorder. They talk, dress, and play just like children. They have stuffed-animal collections and love rainbows. Their names are always “young” sounding, as if every child in the world between the ages of four and ten were named Davey or Molly. When taking on this other persona, a Little will only respond to their inner-child name and thank the adult persona (themselves) for “letting me come out and play.” Littles have created a complete sub-society, with their own meetings, literature, and websites. Littles deliberately misspell everything and love using words like “oopsy,” although I’m still not sure why they all write as if they were learning-disabled. Last time I checked, most nine-year-olds knew that “Mommy” ends in a Y. If I created a Little, I’d make him as smart as I am now, that way all the other Littles would think he was a prodigy. What makes a paunchy 42-year-old computer operator spend half of his adult life as “Petey”, a pesky five-year-old with a penchant for “causin’ trouble and givin’ hugs”? I suppose the answer is obvious. Something went horribly amiss 37 years ago, and now it’s Petey’s job to make sure childhood is less cruel this time around. In many ways, it’s a healthy defense mechanism. The majority of Littles are survivors of incest, arguably the most arduous trauma a human can endure. We all have our own defenses that protect us against getting hurt: We use humor, we get wasted, we sabotage relationships. The common thread here is that, in performing these defenses, we usually hurt ourselves. That’s why some have argued that creating an alter ego is the purest and most advanced defense possible, because it’s not really the self that gets hurt. All defense mechanisms push us deeper and deeper into our psyche, so if a damaged adult can transfer feelings of pain and loss to an alter ego and then shift back when need be, I say go for it. Besides, my name is Bobby, so what right do I have to talk shit? BOBBY RICHARDS