You were a jerk sometimes when you were a kid. Which incidents still eat at you?
A lot of us did things when we were young that we thought were cool or funny at the time, but we now realize were wrong. A friend of mine recently told me, somberly, that he’d been watching It Gets Better videos and found himself involuntarily recalling the nasty, homophobic insults and jokes he’d thought were hilarious back in junior high and high school. “It was pretty fucked up to see these people talking about the folks who made them feel miserable and suicidal, and realize that I was one of them,” he told me.
That, in turn, reminded me of something I’d thought was hilarious at the time; I went to high school with a teen celebrity of the day, one of the kids on the cover of Non-Threatening Boys magazine, and I found (on Usenet, believe it or not) a bunch of pornographic fanfiction about him. And, like an asshole, I printed it out and showed it to him. I thought this was highly amusing, not having sufficient empathy yet to realize how profoundly disturbing and creepy he would find the existence of those stories. I really freaked the poor guy out, and I feel like an asshole about it to this day. (If he happens to read this: dude, I am really sorry about that. I was a stupid teenager and that was a lousy thing to do.)
I think a lot of us have these stories, the things we said or did, the people we slighted or scorned, the times we can’t recall without an involuntary shiver of too-late regret and embarrassment. In my experience, getting them off your chest can help. What’s in your personal hall of shame?