In the background, the plaintiff melodramatic pleading of “Celeste” by Donovan.

Here I stand acting like a silly clown would,
I don't know why; would anybody like to try
The changes I'm going through ?
A hidden lie would fortify
Something that don't exist
But it ain't so bad, I'm just a lad,
So many more things to do,
I intend to come right through them all with you.

This is the year that he learns the real meaning of fear. Jimmy Almond died of spinal meningitis in February. In March, Judy Dunlop's brother got hit by a train while trying to outrun it on a river trestle. Becky Morris won't return the note he secretly handed her in the hallway between 5th and 6th period. It's only the beginning of spring and already sex and death are in full bloom.

Some mornings it seems as if he could slay dragons in a heavy suit of armor and a shiny sword weighing more than he does. Other mornings he looks into the mirror and sees a greasy, zit-faced gnome that not even a mother could love.

This is the year he learns the real meaning of fear. His schoolmates are large enough now that a real fight could result in lost teeth, wired jaws, blindness. This is the year he realizes that the only civilizing constant around him is the delicacy of women, girls. But they are so unobtainable. The mystery surrounding them is just too great. This is the year that he realizes that he, too, like everyone else who ever lived, will one day die. It seems like a given, but it comes as quite a shock to an already fragile ego.

My songs are merely dreams visiting my mind
We talk a while by a crooked stile,
You're lucky to catch a few.
There's no magic wand in a perfumed hand,
It's a pleasure to be true.
In my crystal halls a feather falls
Being beautiful just for you
But that might not be quite true, that's up to you.

So he might seek protection in joining or forming a gang. Safety in numbers and all. He might even emulate the habits of the girls around him and decorate his notebooks with stickers and then take it a few steps further and draw signets of his new gang on his locker and on the bathroom walls. Or he might decide it's safer to become a nerd and grow a turtle shell which causes the stooped posture of nerds everywhere carrying their shells from classroom to classroom, silently nodding to other nerds in the hallways as they pass; each nod signifying the awareness of weakness and sloth. Or he might decide to beef up and join the football team, making adjustments in behavior that lead to him being the cause of nerd-fear.

Or he might try to walk that fine line between both worlds. It is possible but very, very tricky. He could smoke enough cigarettes and drink enough liquor to appear manly and yet still make all A's and be teacher's pet. This is the Jokerman charade and only a consummate liar such as Bob Dylan or Bill Clinton can pull it off. Of course, he, like those two, has decided that the only thing that makes the game worth playing is the chicks. And he realizes they, too, are in the middle of their own crises. Upon this startling thought, a light bulb the size of a Buick goes on above his head and he realizes The Secret. He'll be in Becky Morris' panties before Easter.

Dawn crept in unseen to find me still awake
A strange young girl sang her songs for me
And left 'fore the day was born.
That dark princess with saddening jest
She lowered her eyes of woe,
And I felt her sigh, I wouldn't like to try
The changes she's going through
But I hope love comes right through them all with you.