As an eighth grader, I had accepted (through a kind of osmosis) the idea that good kids get A’s on report cards, live at home with two parents, attend church regularly, and probably star on the local sports team. That’s who I was trying to be. I’d never been in a fight before, unless you count scraps in the yard with my older brother.
To the contrary, bad kids lived with single parents, struggled to read out loud in school, and didn’t play sports because they were too busy doing drugs. That description fit Steve, or at least that’s the way I saw him. He was one grade ahead of me in school.
I grew up in what most people would consider a “strict” home. Church attendance was mandatory, and good grades were expected at school. One of the more extreme decisions my parents made for my four siblings and me was to raise us in a home without a television. No TV in bedrooms, not in the living room, none in the house at all.