BELTSVILLE, MD—More than three decades after attending and graduating from High Point Middle School, area 49-year-old Dean Whitaker announced this week that his confidence levels had nearly returned to their pre-junior-high levels. “At this point, my self-image has almost recovered to where it was when I first set foot in Mrs. Currier’s sixth-grade homeroom, and I’m getting close to being able to approach a group of my peers and engage them in conversation without fear they will silently judge me or make fun of me to my face,” Whitaker told reporters, confirming that while he’s “not quite there yet,” he’s optimistic that he will eventually regain the amount of self-assurance he possessed at age 11. “I’ve just about worked through the self-doubt, and hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I can openly discuss the kinds of music I like or people I might be interested in dating. If everything keeps progressing, I think I’m only a few more years away.” Whitaker admitted, however, that he doesn’t ever expect to get back to his second-grade self, explaining that in those days he had actually been capable of experiencing pure, uncomplicated happiness.
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