I was 8. The cicadas were buzzing like mad. I don't know if you've ever had the misfortune to be in an Illinois suburb during the cicada swarms. That year was bad. Really bad. They crawled up out of their holes and lay spasming on the sidewalk. They crunched under our feet as we walked, my brother and I, two blocks from my aunt's house. We were there for one of those stupid family functions that now, some 12 years later, I can't even begin to remember the point. Do you ever sit and wonder about why your parents dragged you to all those things with the fam? Granted, I was part of a giant Irish family. We had family gatherings as often as some families celebrated good grades or new pants. Where was I? Right, the cicada's. So, I'm walking with my brother. He was a prick then. Had the younger sibling syndrome something awful. He's hopping from bug to bug, squishing heads, leaving an ooze trail. I'm walking along, feeling miserable about having to be outside, about having to be with my brother, about having to deal with my neurotic extended family. This was before the time in my life when I knew what depression was, or how to cope with it, or mostly even what emotions were. Then I looked up. Sitting in front of me, on the sidewalk, was a squirrel. A pure white squirrel with red eyes. Many years later I would realize I had seen an albino. This squirrel was not only an albino, however, but big. Very big. Easily two feet long. It stretched from the grass on one side of the sidewalk to the grass on the other side. At that moment, my brother stepped on a cicada and continued with whatever he was babbling about. The squirrel leaped from the ground into the nearest tree, as they have a tendency to do. This one was a big evergreen, and I immediately lost sight of it. I stopped my brother, and asked him if he'd seen the giant white squirrel. I got laughed at. He'd completely missed it. He was looking in every other direction but forward. We went back to my aunt's house, and I survived the evening.
The next day, in one of those compendium English texts they force on little kids, I found some bits of Hamlet. That day was the first time I read the line There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
I told some of my "friends" about it, and the quote, and they either laughed at me, or kinda stared at me blankly. That was the first day I realized there was something different about me.

I don't care if you found that pointless. I realized I was geeky cuz I saw a giant squirrel. It happens.

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