The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Blah blah blah, your knees

My condition is called chondromalacia patellae, I'm happy to say, and I'm happy to say that because it sounds like serious business, as does the German translation, which I'm even happier to say is Kniescheibenknorpelerweichung, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. (It's also called runner's knee, but ignore that.) Kniescheibe is German for "kneecap," and is not to be confused with Kniescheisse, which is what I say when I'm tired and have to walk down stairs.

In other news, I was not impressed by Junot Diaz's This Is How You Lose Her (spoiler: inevitably it's by not keeping it in your pants), but Backderf's graphic memoir My Friend Dahmer, a true story about being friends with Jeff in high school, is haunting and awesome. I've never much cared for Backderf's style, which is meaty like Robert Crumb's but not as human, but the sense it conveys that something physically disgusting is about to happen at any moment works particularly well for talking about adolescence in general and Jeffrey Dahmer's adolescence in particular.

Backderf claims, and I believe, that every kid who knew Jeff knew that there was something seriously wrong with him -- that yeah, lots of kids are bullied, lots of kids are depressed, lots of kids act out because it's the only way they can get attention that isn't purely abusive, but that come on, Jeff was drunk every waking moment from the time he was fifteen, he stumbled through the hallways of his high school stinking of booze, and even in the seventies that wasn't normal. But all the adults in his life would later claim they had never noticed anything unusual about the depressed loner with the roadkill collection. "Where were the damn adults?" Backderf asks, and that question is the book's core. That's part of what fascinates me -- the way children and adults, even when no one is a necrophiliac, seem to inhabit completely different worlds. Normally that works out OK, it doesn't lead to the kind of horror the mind almost refuses to accept, but here -- if one single stinking adult had noticed that Jeff really wasn't OK, how different might things have been? Honestly, probably not at all. But he might have had a chance. Backderf portrays a kid who was doomed from the beginning, like a figure from Greek tragedy.
Tags: books, jeffrey dahmer, ow, stix
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