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If you’re lucky, you made it all the way through high school as one of the in-group, one of the “normal” kids. The next least-bad fate was to not fit in, but remain convinced that somehow you could. Harder still was to know that you were never going to fit in and to forge an identity out of this rejection: deadhead, nerd, gun-freak, sensitive folk singer, perpetually outraged minority.

Yet the lowest level of hell is reserved for those who are intelligent — and cynical — enough to realize that plugging into a preformed counter-culture is just another form of conformity, an anti-clique. Here awaits total isolation, where “normality” may as well be a dimension away. Welcome to “Ghost World.”

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