MamaCheshire (cheshire23) wrote,

[LJI Exhibit B: Week 11B] Why teenage girls maybe shouldn't run the world. Even bright ones.

"WE know why YOU called..."

The deliberately over-sultry voice recording, trying its best to entice us to call a 1-900 phone sex line at $1.99 a minute, left us all laughing until it was hard to breathe and at least one of us got the hiccups.

"Of course you know why we called!" one of us - I forget who - yelled. "We're BORED FOURTEEN YEAR OLD GIRLS calling 1-800-LESBIAN at ten-thirty at night!"

We were bored fourteen year old girls in our freshman year of college, but still. We were bored, and we were teenagers, and we started dialing every 1-800 number that we thought might have an amusing message. To our great disappointment, 1-800-FUCK-OFF only generated, "Darryl eight-one-five, there is an error in your dialing procedure. Please hang up and try your call again!" in a clipped angry-sounding male voice. I think 1-800-ASSHOLE had something similar. The only "entertaining" one I remember now is 1-800-LESBIAN, because "I know why YOU called!" continued as a running joke between us.

Crank-dialing obscene phone numbers quickly lost its charm, but I'm glad we did it. Because we couldn't be serious and studious and mature all the time. We were still teenage girls, squeeing over the adorable photograph of R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe in the liner notes to Eponymous, eating the junkiest sugary cereals for breakfast because we could and we weren't allowed to do it at home, and alternating between wearing so much makeup we'd never have been allowed out of the house like that and not even showering for two or three days (which would have been equally unthinkable back in junior high - oh, the gossip and the endless "YOU SMELL!" that would have ensued).

Then, our Environmental Science professor had a project for us. As one of our labs, we were to play SimEarth, thoroughly exploring the effects that different levels of gas had on the world, and experimenting with different tech levels and evolutionary timeframes. The few classmates who were adamant that evolution did not exist were horrified, but the rest of us took to our experiments with great joy, and continued them long after the assignment was complete.

Someone was nice enough to install SimEarth on the computers in our dorm lab, and we would reflect the quality of our own lives in what we decided to do with our games. Sometimes it would be all about trying to make Gaia as happy as possible, or raise the quality of life to Marvelous or Heavenly. Sometimes we'd try to evolve sentient species other than mammals - I had a particular fondness for sentient birds, since they preferred forest and jungle environments and thus tended to do a little less damage as they advanced from Stone Age through Industrial Age and beyond. And sometimes we'd unleash every disaster the game provided us, or tweak investments so that life quality would be HELLISH and the angry sentient species would destroy itself, and maybe the SimEarth would evolve a different sentient species later.

No matter how indignant this would have made us at the time, we were still fourteen, and we still had a lot of growing up to do. And a lot of learning that destroying the world (or ourselves) and letting a "better species" rebuild it is no way to fix what's broken.

We learned. We grew up. We changed. And we're all doing awesome things now - my fellow PEGs are everything from a professional art dealer to a lawyer for the United States Department of Justice. If I remember right, the lawyer is the one who used to send me letters over the summer that said, "Life quality HELLISH! Let's play SimEarth and DESTROY THE WORLD!" Funny how things change!
Tags: about me, backstory, lj idol b

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