David Li: Student Voices Speech / by Academy Monthly

Hello children, the following are three tales about me, your chubby neighborhood asian. So buckle your seatbelts and keep all appendages inside the vehicle. Let us begin.

It was a picturesque autumn evening. From the tree tops, Appalachian winds gently sundered brittle leaves, which cascaded down in every color the sun aspires to be. Children snuggled under blankets and watched cartoons to their heart's content as the sweet aroma of pumpkin pie filled the streets of America. I, however, knew there was work to be done. A new Lego set had just arrived, and I, like a crack addict who was once again soulbound to his cherished substance, was bouncing around like a lemur on a sugar high. As I opened my new set, any hopes of me doing school work were instantly dispelled - there was no time for such trivial matters. From the box showered forth a spectacular technicolor canvas of brick pieces, soaking the dense grey fibers of my carpet in a glorious mess. I stood and marveled at my surroundings, the aftermath of a plastic typhoon. This was going to be an adventure. This was the meaning of my life. I jumped in, relishing in the mess I had made, and slowly, my creation took form as I zealously stacked brick after brick, long into that autumn night.

That, children, was me, a tiny, squinty-eyed gremlin on a perpetual caffeine rush, who couldn’t help but treat girls as aliens, and knew more about the World War 2 Pacific theatre than he did about playing soccer. You see, as a child, I was a troublemaker. Whether, it was clogging toilets because I wanted to see if pudding cups would flush, or putting a hole in the wall of my parent’s bedroom because I wanted to learn Kungfu, no crevice of my home could find sanctuary from my devastation. Very few things could keep my attention for long, one of these things was Lego, the other was video games.

My first memories of videogames are also some of my fondest. As a child, I perched myself on my dad’s lap and watched him storm the beaches of Normandy under the lead rain of German machine guns, and battle both the bitter cold and Panzer divisions to take back the city of Stalingrad. It was the same game, the second installment of the Call of Duty franchise, but every playthrough was like a new adventure, a new story. I watched my dad live a life far more exciting than that of an 8 year old gremlin, so I couldn’t wait to play games myself.

It was 10:30pm, an hour past my bedtime. I was sitting on the cold hardwood floors of my room, salvaging the light that seeped through the doorway, so I could read. I was simply biding my time. My parents had become ruthless dictators when it came to videogames, and there remained only one opportunity to play - the unpasscoded computer in my Dad’s office, the office that he was still in. So I, like a little rebel fighter under the boot of a terrible empire, waited for my chance to strike. I looked at the clock again, 10:39, the minutes dragged on, but I refused to turn in. Patience was critical in this daunting operation. At long last, the clock struck midnight, and my father decided to sleep. Showtime! I had endured the torments of boredom, and finally, I was able to claim the fruits of my labor. Like an arctic fox, I pranced silently into my father’s office, cautiously, gracefully. This was not the time for frivolous mistakes. I planted myself onto my father’s chair, and shook the computer’s mouse. The screen flashed on - no password was requested, my plan had succeeded flawlessly. I opened the browser, and began to play my favorite game, webkinz. For thirty minutes, my pets would have my full attention. For thirty minutes, I was free to game without my parent’s incessant nagging. For thirty minutes, it was worth a day of eyelid drooping and wholesome yawns, because the video game, came above all else, to me.

This next story, is unlike the others, but still relevant enough to be included, and entertaining enough so that you may all hopefully laugh at me. I had a friend, her name was Denise. We shared common interests such as Legos and Webkinz, and if you had liked either of those two things, we were cool. I liked Denise, she was pretty awesome, but she was just a friend, until one fateful day, at a Vacation Bible Study Camp. I couldn’t have been more than ten years old, so very innocent. It was late in the morning, we were all dancing to Amazing Grace. I saw her strutting to the Christian melody, across the room. Something in my tiny, underdeveloped childish brain clicked, and suddenly, Denise, the friend, became Denise, the most attractive person in the world. Slowly, I made my way to her, while still dancing to Amazing Grace of course. As I neared, I began gyrating my hips at her. She, with a countenance of both confusion and horror, began backing away. Progress. I continued with my advances, until she finally moved to the other side of the room. This was only a minor setback. My flirtatious harassment would haunt Denise for another couple of years. And even with the benefit of hindsight, my skills with women did not improve.

As I’ve grown, my peculiarities have grown with me. I still love building, whether it’s with Legos or cardboard or computer software. I still love gaming, despite my parents stonecold determination to stop me. And I still understand differential calculus more than I understand conversation with girls. I’m weird everybody, and I love that about me, and every single one you in the audience, is a weirdo in your own brilliant way. Embrace it, savor it, never change that which you love about yourself.