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May 2, 2012 / jwaxo

Morph (Fibs)

The power of dots and lines.

I just recently finished reading the entirety of my favorite childhood book series, Animorphs. I may have mentioned it a few times, because it was pretty much the one series I could be counted on to constantly be checking for information on. Because of Animorphs, I was involved in my first fandom (albeit very lightly). I met a few good friends purely because of our mutual love of the books. Perhaps in a most important event, I bookmarked my first website because of this dumb series about kids fighting evil, subversive parasites, using only an alien technology that allows them to turn into any animal they can touch.

Awesome escape material. By the way, having finally finished it, I can say it was full of pretty mature stuff for elementary and middle schoolers to read. Like, horribly graphic violence and weirdly gray morals.

But that is beside the point!

The point is that I fantasized about that special ability, featured on the front of every book in amazing, computer-assisted visuals: kids turning into lizards, hawks, rhinos, lions. The pictures seemed crazy real, and, while smoother than described in the books, exactly what I was dreaming about. I loved going over and over those six or seven stages of a morph, looking at each small change across the kid in question, or flipping through the tiny flipbook in the corner of the book.

Then, one fateful Christmas, my brother pointed out a hilarious piece of software for sale at the local computer store: Morph, it was called, and it showed an image of a cat turning into a tiger.

It had to be mine.

If I could morph I would just smash down a wall and take a copy…

Being the excitable young man that I was, I gushed in happiness that such software existed to my friends at school, wishing with longing that I could afford it. After all, such powerful graphics software must be so expensive, far too expensive for a fourth-grader like me to afford. Besides, I had just purchased some pretty expensive stuff on loan from my parents…

“Oh,” my friend said. “We have that.”

“No way,” I said.

“Sure,” she insisted. “It’s kind of hard to use. Lots of little dots and lines and things. It’s not that great.”

But she was lying. I just knew it. See, I had experience with liars.

In my neighborhood we had our share of a variety of kids. There was my brother and me, the goofballs always building things. There were the brothers across the way always getting in trouble. There was the family down the way who seemed far too numerous for their own good, with their eldest sister always seeming to be fibbing about something or another.

But none were as infamous for telling lies as the eldest brother of the kids who lived behind us.

It always started in a way like this. You would bring up something grand that you wanted, and suddenly the claims would be escalating out of control. “My family has that,” “my brother met him,” “my uncle owns that company.” Things that there were no way of disproving. The most hilarious story about the kid who lived behind us was the time he got everyone in the neighborhood digging for the ooze that turned the Ninja Turtles into mutants.

Not that we don’t all laugh at that picture.

After that incident, our parents all had a good laugh, and we all learned a valuable lesson about skepticism.

I was skeptical of my friend for the next three years. After all, she lied to me about owning Morph, what else would she lie to me about?

Finally, it popped up in a Scholastic Book Club catalog. For a measly $7. No way would the software of my dreams be that cheap, I cried. It must be a mistake. A mistake I needed to take advantage of.

Within weeks the program was received and installed on my computer. And it was worth more than $7. And it wasn’t difficult to use, not once you figured out exactly the right way to use it. But you know what? It also used a lot of dots and lines, and it was pretty difficult to master at first.

I don’t know if I ever got a chance to apologize to my friend. Didn’t matter, because she was totally a liar regardless. Claimed for years not to be madly in love with me.

Just like all of them. Pack of liars, of course.

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