Worlds Apart

I wanted to wipe the smirk off this rich kid's face

My work was done. I had put the kid in his place, put him in a box. Maybe he'd learned something. Chalk one up for the city, to hell with the suburbs. Now I would go and tell the world about this kid and the way he symbolized everything that's wrong with everything.

The next morning I e-mailed the kid's teacher to tell her I was thinking of writing about her student, because I was alarmed at what he'd written. She told me not to be too harsh, that the kid is an amazing artist, and that one of his best friends killed himself last year. Then she said she didn't have time to chat, because she'd just gotten word that one of her colleagues, a fellow teacher at the school who can be seen blowing a kiss to the universe at, committed suicide the day before.

"This is the world I live in," she concluded. "These kids have had their share of dysfunction and grief, and they are about to get another boatload."

James O'Brien

Jim Walsh can be reached at 612.372.3775 or

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