The Lemming Theory

by DebC

Written for Isilya's Literary Challenge. my word to use was "conformity," my taboo word was "to" and my question to answer was "who is the 'they ' in 'you know what they say'?"

"The Lemming Theory"

Conformity is for lemmings.

This is something Chloe Sullivan has always believed. It is the ultimate betrayal of one's true self: the blind following of everyone else towards destruction and a watery grave.

Conforming means giving up your individuality for a team jacket and a seat at the popular table, liking someone else's music, wearing someone else's clothes, adopting everyone else's style... relying on group-think instead of using your own brain.

That isn't what Chloe wants for herself, isn't who she thinks she is. She likes being known as the free spirit, the one with the unusual ideas. Her Wall of Wierd is known throughout Smallville by more than just the high school crowd and she likes it that way. It doesn't bother her that people have always stared at her eclectic wardrobe--too strange for a small town girl--and laughed at her meteor theories. At least she's known for something other than being the best little lemming in Lemmingville.

She doesn't care what they say--you know, the infamous 'they' behind every idiom and every rumor in the world: the most popular of all the lemmings, because they're the ones who started the lemming movement in the first place by making the rules and setting the trends that others choose to follow--because she's true to herself.

Lana comforms.

Lana conforms so much, Chloe is sure she isn't aware that she does it. But she's always poured herself into everyone else's molds and made herself fit without question. She became a cheerleader because her mother and aunt were both cheerleaders. She dated the quarterback because cheerleaders date football players and smiles a lot because people expect it of her. She's pretty and perky and popular, and after living with her for all these months, Chloe's very certain that she's miserable.

She cries at night--for Nell, Whitney and even her parents after all these years without them. No one knows that she cries except for Chloe, walking by her bedroom late at night for a drink of water or sneaking in so she can avoid waking anyone up after a late night at the Torch. Who would believe it anyway? Surely none of the other lemmings, who are so fooled by all the conformity that they actually believe that their masks are real. Lana is their idol; their most perfect lemming, whom people wish they could be.

Even Chloe wanted it once. Well, she never wished she could be Lana, or be like her. Chloe likes herself as is, but sometimes she wanted the things Lana--and the other conformists--had. Friends, for one thing. Pete and Clark are cool and she loves them, but there are some things she could never share with them that maybe she could from another girl. Everyone thinking she's pretty, instead of just Clark or Pete. Boyfriends who didn't try killing her while hyped up on meteor rocks.

The heart of a certain mysterious, lanky farm boy.

Yes, Chloe thinks sometimes that those things would be nice. However, none of it is worth going against the things she believes more firmly in: being an individual and more importantly, herself. Lana is finally starting to see through it, looking beyond the lemming molds of yore for the 'real Lana' and maybe someday, so will the other willful followers of blind tradition.

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to DebC

Also, why not join Level Three, the Smallville all-fic list?


Level Three Records Room