This was the year I first experienced sincere empathy towards my fellow man. There was a kid in my neighborhood named Kenneth who was around five years old. Kenneth had this ritual where he would perpetually suck the thumb of one hand while tightly cramming the other down his shorts. Now first I should state that the use of 'perpetual' here can be taken in the literal sense. Whether standing about, running down a sidewalk, watching television or seated in a moving swing, he had one hand in the mouth and the other hidden away playing his private game. And, to compound matters, on some calculated interval, his hands would magically trade positions. I never personally witnessed the switch but would observe, after a blink or a turn of my head, that there was a reversal in fortune between his tiny mitts.
Now the unfortunate part, or rather the part where I experienced actual empathy for Kenneth, came not from Kenneth's oral proclivity but from the reaction it created in others. If Kenneth ever tried to touch someone with one of his clammy and pruned hands, the recipient of this affection would shriek and wildly contort their body in an evasive fashion to elude the contact, myself included if not most of all. Now, because I'm not a student of the developing mind I'm not entirely certain what sort of psychosis such a reaction fosters in a young person, but am confident that its touch is both significant and long-term. Honestly, I'm not saying that I wish I was the one to hold a hand out to Kenneth in some Michelangelo like moment, but I wish that someone, not bred with OCD, did.