Paranoia’s Origin: The Half Used Pencil

Some people don’t know when their paranoia started, it just sneaks up over time. I remember when it first began.

It was grade three. I was one of two Natives in an all white school, and therefore we had no friends. I was sitting in class working on Phonetics (which by the way is a stupid system). I overheard a boy talking to a girl about some girl he didn’t like, he just kept listing off all these attributes he despised.

“She only uses her pencils halfway!”

I glanced in my desk at my three discarded pencils. All halfway used. Why would I use them down to the eraser? It cramped my hand. It was uncomfortable and stupid. Besides, while we were working class, pencil’s weren’t in short supply. Beans and weiners was, and I ate all of those.

“And she never uses her erasers all the way!”

Again, true. Three Pink Pearls, all carefully drawn with pen to look like dogs or kitty cats. I often redrew the markings after a few erasures. And I rotating their usage so that their oblong shape wasn’t destroyed beyond the point of anthropomorphism, the only thing getting me through White Power Elementary.

Why was White Boy picking on me? I had done nothing wrong to him besides my improper use of my writing utensils. Perhaps he asertained that I was a useless Indian squandering my stationary which was no doubt paid for by his taxpaying father. (It was paid for by my mother, who incidentally also pays taxes).

Either way, ever since then whispering or talking in another room freaks me the fuck out cause it triggers my paranoia. Being crazy or Indian or Queer or Fat doesn’t impede my ability to hear.

However being mostly deaf in one ear does, so when I say “WHAT!?” it’s usually because I really can’t hear you.

Also having a name like Thirza, it starts off the same as Thursday, an oft used word. Oh the panic that would strike when someone said Thursday. Seriously. Don’t fucking start a sentence with Thursday around me.

Those half used pencils came back to haunt me in the psych ward because the only pencils allowed were half sized, like library pencils.

Because you can’t shank someone with a half used pencil.

Oh SURE, I could have hidden a half used pencil and asked for another one and gotten the elastic band that the old man was always trying to use as a cockring and then I might have had a serviceable shank. But I didn’t want to shank anyone. I just wanted to watch English Television, the impossible dream. One day when I was really upset a nurse said “Okay, we’ll put on Air Force One.” WTF? I did finally get to watch a made for tv movie about the underground railroad. Nobody watched it with me, they fled to the safe harbour of Radio Canada.

Another funny thing about paranoia, WHITE paranoia, is this. White people have never confronted me the numerous times I’ve smoked marijuana in semi public, but on NUMEROUS occasions outraged white people have stormed aboriginal ceremonies burning sweetgrass/sage/cedar claiming to have smelled reefer.

Now, do they really think it’s pot? Have they never smoked or smelled pot? Or are they just harrassing us because those strange Injun ways are a menace to youth?

Look Out Everyone for Sweetgrass Madness! They speak in languages that should be dead. They use parts of endangered animals! They’re BROWN! They’re a fire hazard, and they’re in your COMMUNITIES!!!

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