My name is Shirley Adams. I’m fourteen, and I think a lot. I don’t like it when my brain sits idle and doesn’t do a thing. I believe in not wasting what god has given us, so I’ve decided not to waste my brainpower either. I know what happens when I waste brainpower. I end up completely out of my mind, unable to comprehend anything but a certain message. It’s almost like becoming robotic.
So as I was sitting here one day, thinking, I came up with something. I wanted to learn a British accent. Why? Because then I wouldn’t look bad, I would look smart. I would finally be noticed. Just like the law of physics, or the laws of America, the laws of the cool crowd stated that I had to look nice and go out. I knew they would dismiss me off as a geeky freshman with nothing better to do than try to emulate them.
But what if my name was Alice Smith instead of Shirley Adams? What if I could fool them by acting someone else? I decided to make an effort. I started watching them, day and night. I even went to a party, but I didn’t like what I saw. They drank. They danced in a couple of shocking moves, rubbing up against people they didn’t even know. I just stayed behind, pretending to be supposedly tired of all the non-existent drinking and dancing I’d done.
But as my accent got more and more believable, so did my confidence. I started talking to them, introducing myself as “Smith, Alice Smith” and they believed me. Even though we went to some of the same classes and went to the same kind of shops. I had been invisible to them, for such a long time.
As the weeks went by, I really started to blend in. I told them about England, which I had studied as a part of the plan. It scared me sometimes, how easy it was. They admired me, wanted to be like me, even though I usually was the one they told to “piss off”. And finally, one day, I got my chance at glory.
Cynthia, one of the “highnesses” decided to invite me to her birthday party. The party was to be held at Rave, a local nightclub. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I also knew this was my one and only chance to be accepted at last, as one of them. So I ditched a couple of classes at school and went home to practice my accent perfectly. I practiced in front of the mirror, I practiced in the shower and I practiced while I put my make up on. It all went by all too quickly. I didn’t get the time to think about if this was what I really wanted. I just went.
It was horrible, to say the least. They forced drinks down my throat and forcibly pushed me into the closet when it was time for “7 minutes in heaven”. The limit came when they asked me to make out with one of the “highnesses”. I stood up and yelled: “I’m fourteen, for god sake! And by the way, I’m not English; I’m American, just like you. Only better” and then I ran. I just ran. But I knew it was the right thing to do. My goal had been to use my brainpower for something cool, but it was the worst thing I ever used my brainpower on.
The next day, they singled me out at school. They told me I was a weird person and that anyone would have died to be at that party. I looked at them and noticed they were all the same: their clothes, their voice, their way of tossing their hair behind them as they spoke. They looked eerily as copies of each other, rolled off from the machine line. Just like robots.
I realized then that the worst way of developing my own personality and my own thoughts was to stay with them.
So I turned around to face them, smiled and said:
My name is Lauren Adams. I’m fourteen, and I don’t want to be a robot.