title; never could i ever.
summary; not even if i wanted to.
wordcount; 3107.

"No, that's wrong, Cartman. But don't worry, there are no stupid answers, just stupid people."

You could never be smart, even if you wanted to.

And no, okay, you don't.

Smart meant hard work; it meant studying and competition and competence. It meant doing or dying, winning or losing, failing or success. It was made up entirely of hes and shes, them or yous, us or wes (and only you knew the stark difference between the two). It meant both unity and apart. But here's something that only you seemed to be aware of; it also meant many hours of useless thinking, trying to learn things that just didn't seem right, and then getting yelled at by teachers even though you kind of wanted to understand.

So smart was chaotic and loud and unnecessary. You'd take your clever wit any day, the one that no one questions and allows you to squirm your way out of anything. Natural intelligence, Kenny called it. So much better for you.

It's not like you couldn't be smart; you didn't lack anything. Really, when it came right down to it, everyone else was just as big of a dumb fuck as you are. The only difference was that you just didn't try to impress anyone anymore because they gave up on you a long time ago. You'd much prefer to set their expectations low, so they would never depend on you, so you could always be as retarded or logical as you wanted to be.

But there was another reason you would never be smart, another reason you didn't want to be - Kyle.

It was undeniable that Kyle is intelligent; but he is also a massive prick, a conniving Jew, a good for nothing kid who hangs with you purely out of convenience and the scant hope that maybe, just maybe, you possess some degree of moral fiber. He's thwarted your plans more often than not, wrecking his place as the center of it all.

But he is one of the smartest people you know, your third best friend nonetheless, and you'd rather not compete with that. You've never copied homework, never had help for your evil plans, never even asked for it, because that would be a lie of how smart you are, which you're not. You may be a selfish liar but you have some respect for your true self, and applying effort for others' minds (even stealing or forging) just didn't seem worth your time. Even when Kyle would get concerned about you passing, and he would hiss before class, "You want the answers, Fatass?" you would still decline and showed him which finger you studied with.

So, okay, you weren't smart, but you have relative common sense (even if you never acted on it) and could read people better than they could themselves. You figured it was your brain's way of filling empty space, and it was more useful than knowing when the Civil War began and what the absolute value of negative eight times x to the power of three was anyway.

Of course, even you have a soul; you know that if you really tried, because everyone was as intelligent and useless as each other, you could be just as smart as Kyle (maybe even more) and that would crush him. Sure, it would be fun to watch, but you'd much rather beat him in your own way, even though it rarely happens.

It makes it more special, you point out when Kenny drags your low grades up. If you whooped his ass all the time, it would become a chore. That's why Kyle is so damn sick of you.

And no, that's not intelligent guesswork; just some more of that common sense you had.

But you're still not exactly sure why, in all his knowledge, Kyle has forgone his original animosity and has attempted to tutor you.

"Come on, Fatass!" he huffed, tapping your paper lightly with the tip of his pencil. "The absolute value of negative x multiplied by 6 is…?"

"Well, what's x?" you ask, arching an eyebrow. "The absolute value of negative x times six would be x times six, or 6x or whatever, but since x isn't a goddamn number who the hell cares?"

Kyle looks offended, as if you personally just bitch slapped his ego. "So you do know this stuff! Why the hell are you failing Remedial Algebra, Cartman? More importantly, why am I wasting my Tuesday night to re-teach you this crap?"

"I'm failing because I honestly don't see the point of wasting my time trying to figure this shit out. I'm never going to use it, and I'll probably forget it in two weeks after the test anyhow. I'm not a girl, Kahl, I don't retain well."

He rolls his eyes, so used to your derogatory attitude to comment. But then he frowns. "But I just don't get you. You aren't that retarded, obviously; you have to know some stuff to do half the shit you do. So why the hell are you failing everything?"

"God, don't you listen to the teachers go on and on and on about what a useless waste of space I am? I don't care, therefore I don't apply. Make sense? Okay? Goodbye now."

He slams the book shut, dumping it into his backpack. "The hell, Cartman! Make some fucking sense!"

"I make perfect sense," you say, leaning back in your chair. "Not my fault if you're too focused on learning the value of x instead of understanding me."

He watches you for a minute before walking out the door, understanding that what you said meant more than what it seemed.

You may never be smart; but you could, for the life of you, read Kyle like a fucking book.

You could never be sensitive, even if you wanted to.

And no, okay, you don't even want to go there.

To you sensitive meant submission; it meant caring about someone so much that it became your greatest weakness. It meant that you had to like and bond and get close and a lot of pain. It meant stopping your routine and going against your own morals to fix others, even if you didn't agree to them. It meant surrendering all you believed in, tearing your chest right in two, discord in your brain and strain on your conscious. It also meant what adults called 'empathy' and children called 'emotion'.

You're not sure why you lack sensitivity, but you do know this doesn't mean you can't feel. There's a fine line between those two ideas, but you were the only one who could see it, it seemed; not because you were special, but because you were the only one brave enough to give it a go.

You also know that people would believe whatever they wanted to believe, and you never possessed the charisma to change that. Not really. And, honest to God, you didn't want to take someone's ideas, twist them till they broke, and hand them back shattered; you were so much better than that, even if they couldn't see it.

Just because you mocked others ideas it didn't mean you couldn't feel; and just because when people were down you didn't pick them back up that you couldn't sympathize. You just didn't want to be weak, didn't want your heart torn from your chest, didn't want to be anchored down to promises and bonds that could clearly be broken by a simple, "Who gives a fuck?" That's all.

But there was another reason you didn't want to be sensitive, didn't even want to try - Stan.

You were on better terms with him than Kyle, but you could still feel the tension and friction in the air. But he was a genuinely good guy, your second best friend nonetheless, and you honestly didn't want to fight with him. He's never one to pry, never one to judge; rather, he stands back and lets you do whatever you want, as long as it doesn't bother him from wherever he's at. And although he's often sided against you when prompted, you could generally understand why and treated him in the same respect.

So it wasn't animosity towards him that kept you at bay; just an unspoken agreement that prevented you from disrupting the order. Really, when it came right down to it, you weren't so different in your dogma. Both of you could dig your heels in the ground and not budge for a thousand years. And you both understood that to engage in war would be stupid, because it would last forever, and both of you had better things to do in your spare time.

And there was no doubt in your mind how sensitive Stan Marsh was; he was easily affected by the people around him, malleable in the face of mild compromise and stubborn regarding large. Stan disliked change, and to remove anything from its place would personally offend him. However, he also had a moral code, and he was bound by it. You often imagined Stan's ethics waging battle with one another, clashing and hitting until one overpowered the other.

So, okay, you weren't sensitive, but that did make decisions a hell of a lot easier for you. You had what you believed in and cared little for people's opinions, and that made life black and white like everyone wanted it to be. You could barely take care of yourself, let alone others, and they were ungrateful little bastards anyhow. You figured your logic was just a lot easier to handle, because no one would learn from their mistakes if they were cleaned up by you all the damn time, and rejection was a bitch, anyhow.

And no, that wasn't you being sensitive; it was just some of those dogmatic beliefs you and Stan shared.

But you're still not sure why, in all of your straightforward choices and all of Stan's complicated ones, why he was trailing you home.

"What the fuck do you want, Marsh?" you ask finally, throwing your hands up in an I-want-to-know gesture.

He catches up to you, glaring daggers. "Say you're sorry, Cartman."

"Mm. Whatever are you talking about, Stahn, let me see now…"

He snorts, but he's also surprised to know that you're dead honest. It's something in the tone of your voice that stops him, makes him consider that perhaps you really didn't see what was wrong. "You called Wendy a bitch, among others things, and she was crying in the fucking girls' bathroom!"

"Really?" You pause for a moment to consider, nodding in satisfaction (you were honestly surprised when she started crying instead of punching you. It was nice, if totally unexpected. Maybe she was on her period, or took you more seriously than you realized). "That does sound like something I would do. Good for me then."


"What?" you snarl, trying to walk faster. But won't let you.

"Fucking apologize!"


"Why not? Why the fuck don't you see what you've done is wrong, Asshole!"

You stop walking and turn to face him, the look in your eye enough to make him pause. All you wanted right now was to go home and sleep for a thousand fucking years before you snapped someone's neck (he was the closet guy to you, and you really didn't want to strangle him) and he could see that. "Cuz Wendy is a bitch Stan," you say, slow enough so that he catches the hidden meaning behind your words. "She treats her friends like crap, and she treats you like crap, and most importantly, she treats me like crap, and I honestly don't know why you're all afraid to stand up to her. I'm not apologizing, cuz that would be a lie, and my therapist has been trying to stop me from doing that."

Stan's harsh gaze softens, and he ignores the snip because he's so used to it. "I thought you didn't give a shit about anyone?"

You pretend to look offended. "Weren't you listening? She treats me like crap too."

You walk away, Stan staring after you, but he knows what you really mean.

You may never be sensitive; but you could see right from wrong, even if no one ever believed it.

You could never be social, even if you wanted to.

And you kind of, sort of, maybe, hope nooneeverfindsout about this one.

To you, social meant talk; it meant facts and figures and truth and lies and endless noise. It meant opinion and place and background. Community was made purely of atmosphere; not just friendly and happy like everyone else saw it. You could be very sociable in a tense situation, become someone's best friend while they're dying, find love when you see red. To you, the world was all about communication, and whoever picked up on the best signals was well-liked. But it also meant that you were the oldest receiver invented, able to be connected but not wanted, not used, rusty and unique.

You're not sure why you can't be social. You're a damn good actor, so it makes no sense why you couldn't pretend not to hate things and not to be an ass all the time. You guess you have some more self-respect than originally intended; not only can you not hide your true stupidity and emotion, you also could never befriend anyone even though they noticed you. It was a very weird, very odd, very delicate system that's hard to break and fix.

And you also have this feeling where, even if you weren't such a leper, you'd probably not like it; it would feel weird and fake and retarded. Sure, you may be desperate to run away from your friends sometimes, but that didn't mean you wanted false ones. To you, it was just people going on as usual about things they didn't quite understand, and that was okay even if it was the most annoying thing on the goddamn Earth.

You just don't wanna be seen as an outcast because you like to keep to yourself; that's all.

There's also another reason you couldn't be social, even if you fought and lied for a million years - Kenny.

He was your best friend, your brother in all but blood, the one thing that actually made sense most of the time. Kenny was easy to understand, and you could tell him that without getting punched in the face; he liked it that way. You could never pronounce it to the sky and travel across real and imagination for each other, but the friendship was still there. The only thing that just didn't add up though was how fucking popular he was; he could hang out with losers like you and cool kids like Token and get away with it.

You're not jealous. He still likes you more than he does everyone else, but the only thing that didn't fit was the thing that you didn't have, so you couldn't understand. With this one, you just kinda gave up and said, "power to you, Ken," and left it at that. You may want to be smart sometimes and you may want to have people think you care, but you did not want to hang out with those assholes who hated you before you even told them, "hello."

You could tell by the way Kenny lived and breathed that he couldn't survive with just you, though. He was fawned over by girls and teased and befriended by guys; he was athletic and smart where it counted, and he had the most laid back personality you've ever seen. If you had little morality, Kenny only had one motto; live and let live. If you were fire, then Kenny had to be air, flitting from one element to the next, carrying the waves, cooling the earth, fanning the flames. He couldn't survive without life pushing him forward. You just burned everything you touched.

So yeah, you couldn't be social, but it did make you a good judge of character and a good reader of body language in its place. You knew when no meant no, and when you could sway other's opinions and when you couldn't, and who was the head bitch and king douche of the school and who was the ones to be avoided, for fear of nerd-status. You also could tell who were the Kennys and the Stans and the Kyles, the ones that were safe and wouldn't beat your face in or something. They were seldom instances, but they made the greatest friends, and you'd rather have three that hate you some of the time for genuine reason than for others that don't like you period.

And no, that's not you being social, not at all; that's just you picking up on the stronger signals.

But you're still not sure why, in all his popularity, Kenny still likes you the most.

"Sup?" you hear, as you lean your back against a locker. It doesn't mean anything, it's just telling you to go and where to move to and when to do it. He and you have been doing this so long, it's almost a fucking sixth sense.

Today, Kenny didn't want to straggle far; he loitered out in the parking lot, kicking rocks and taking drags, but you knew he wasn't bored by your presence. There was just nothing that was new, nothing that needed to be said. You sat on the ground, staring into Colorado's gray sky.

The bell tolled, propelling the class to seventh period, but neither of you stop what you're doing. "Till eighth?" you hear, and you grunt in agreement. The shuffle of Kenny's feet pause for a minute before picking up momentum, and you wonder why you're in trouble this time. "Kyle tutored you, right?


"He said you never learn."

"I'm gunna kill that Jew," you say, but it's more out of habit than fact. It's lost its fire.

"Wendy and Bebe were talking about you too," he says pointedly. "Said you made her cry."


"No, you fucking idiot; Wendy."

"Oh, yeah. Guess it did happen then."

"Bitch deserved it."

"That she did, Ken." He shoots you a grin and you know you're forgiven, because you screw up all the time and Kenny doesn't like it at all so he has to check if it's something or nothing. He doesn't think Wendy's a bitch, not at all, but he'll say that to appease you. "Hey, Dude?"


"…nothing." But you know Kenny knows what you mean.

You may never be social; but when it came to your best friend, you were the quietest loud person to ever exist.

- crowthorn

Last edited on July 15, 2013.