Cody Sifko, sophomore, 674-00-8831.
Name, rank, and serial number.
That’s your Social Security number.
Whatever. Skateboarder extraordinaire, too. I like to play video games, I have a guitar but I’m not that good with it. I turned 16 last month, got my driver’s license right after, but I don’t have my own car. I drove to school and Mom rode shotgun and drove home, that’s about all the driving I did. I don’t guess it matters now.
Yeah. We lived in the same subdivision, went to the same school, and didn’t know each other. It is kinda whack, when you think about it. We both kept mostly to ourselves, that’s about all we had in common. She was doing the study hard-get good grades-college bound thing. Me, I was just trying to avoid the jocks and preps who seemed to think I was their personal chew toy.
School sucks like that. I remember.
Yeah. Home was a little better, but pretty much the same thing. School and home, they all wanted me to be someone else. Like them.
Pressure or force.
You got it. My dad, he wanted me to be a man, or his idea of one. So I had to learn how to work on cars, fix wiring, work the grill. And drink the occasional beer, I didn’t have a problem with that! But he poured it in a soda can in case Mom came out to see what we were doing. I just went along with it because I had to, until he said something about being “self-sufficient.” That was the word I’d been looking for since I was like ten — self-sufficient. I didn’t want to have to depend on anyone for anything, because I learned a long time ago: when you depend on someone they want to change you. So then I started really paying attention to stuff that Dad was showing me. It made him happy, but I don’t think he realized that I was learning to be free — free of him and his ideas of what a man is.
So that’s why you’re so resourceful?
Yeah. I got a job at Breakbeat Music, that’s the CD and movie store in the mall, so I didn’t have to depend on my parents to get me a new skateboard or a video game when I wanted one. Or CDs, sure, they let me borrow stuff from the store. I ripped it into my computer and brought it back.
How did you get to work and back, then?
Bicycle, mostly, through the week. Once in a while, I could bum a ride from school if I was working afternoons. Mom took me on weekends, I guess it gave her an excuse to hit the Macy’s or wherever. I like being outside, at least during the day, and between that and skateboarding I’m in decent shape.
You seem like you’re in pretty good shape. Did you try any sports? I know you don’t like the jocks either, but…
I’m not big enough for football, and I don’t care for basketball too much. Dad pushed me into going out for track, and I did okay with the 880 and mile runs. Not a star, but not at the back either. I did it last year, skipped the tryouts this year.
You look emo… but you’re not, are you?.
Yeah, I heard it from the preps all the time — “emo kid.” It was the look I had before I even heard about emos. But you know? It cuts both ways. I’m not trying to look like anyone else, but I’m not trying to not look like anyone else, either.
How about your grades?
I kept my grades up pretty good. Mostly As and Bs. I was hoping to get some kind of scholarship so I wouldn’t have to depend on my parents for college.
Did you have a major picked out, then?
Yeah, I wanted to do videogame development. There’s a lot of work that goes into videogames — programming, music, graphics, design, backgrounds — it’s like working on a major movie. I’m not a huge gamer myself, I like to play, yeah, but it looked like a better career than my parents would think. But if they paid for me to go to college, they would have wanted me to do a two-year degree, and be an electrician or welder or something. Dad showed me how to splice wires and weld stuff — I fixed a busted skate truck once — but I don’t think it would have been much fun to do all day long.
Right. So what do you think happened?
I dunno. Actually, I think it was just a matter of too many people using up too much stuff, and the earth just rose up and swallowed us up. Maybe it took all the conformist-types because it thought the rest of us could make a better world with the others out of the way? I dunno. My parents drove off first thing Thursday morning, and my little sister went with them. I miss her, mom kinda, too. My dad, not so much. I know that’s bad, but I can’t help feeling that way. I mostly stayed out of trouble, did the chores they gave me, kept my grades up… but somehow it wasn’t enough. Yeah, I guess I miss them all. I don’t miss them wanting me to be someone else, though.
Back to Episode 7…