Kennedy: How I peaked in 10th grade

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I thought I had peaked as a human being in 10th grade.

For me, 15 years old going on 16 years old was a period of maximum confidence. Like a lot of teenage boys, I suffered from premature self-adulation.

Unburdened by self-awareness, I was able to operate for a whole year - 1974 - under the delusion that I was wittier than my friends and smarter than my teachers.

While neither of these things was true, of course, I felt as if I had slipped the bonds of gravity into some superior mental realm. The fact that I had pimples and sold condoms and cashews at Derryberry's Drug Store did not ding my confidence one bit.

In short, I didn't know what I didn't know, and I would pay the price.

My 10th-grade English teacher, Mrs.