"Mean ol' world. Mean ol' Writer." Before the Razor of "Mean Girls"

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Mean girls, mean boys, mean teachers, mean parents, mean ol’ world. I’ve been teaching a long time and “Mean Girls” took form after some observations of a particular trio of middle school girls who, as 3 singular, harmless 7s, suddenly exploded when they huddled together on the “jackpot” line.

Add the new variable of technology to adolescent bad decisions—texts, snap-chat, posting inappropriate suggestive photos—and they became a force. What I found most interesting was the role each one took with their newly acquired power.

One was curiously innocent, wonder-struck; the second saw an opportunity to get even with “everyone.” And the third, usually a loner, and the least powerful and most desperate, clung to the mean-ness, a part of her knowing at some level that she’d never experience that kind of power or attention again.

As with all poems, other threads dealt with the middle school boys, so overmatched, voices cracking, oblivious to all the non-verbals. Another thread I tracked was wondering about all the previous generations of Mean Girls, which is the allusion to the “lose her head” line and the double meaning.

What happens to Mean Girls? Who grows “out of it” and who grows “into it”?
Today it seems more of the latter; “mean” gets you your own reality show. “The Real Housewives of…” insert any destination. And the Mean Boys get to gather on a political stage with their bad haircuts and blue blazers and spout inane “Mean Boy” lines. Mean ol’ world. Mean ol’ writer.

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