By Regina McMenamin Lloyd
In Ben, the spaz, Koertge developed a boy who feels unlovable, both because of his Cerebral Palsy and the desertion of his mother. Ben has protected himself by building a distance between himself and others. He seems afraid and excited by Colleen's refusal to ignore him, while the rest of the world, save his grandmother, has let him just pass by.
Colleen, the stoner, provides Ben with both the friend he needs and a major life complication. She is perhaps, the least didactic character ever written. Colleen will bust Ben's chops, she will call him a "gimp" or worse. She will call him out for the wall he has placed around himself. The adult in me, wants to tell Ben not to get messed up with her, much like his grandmother does. However, whether she can do it the right way or not, Colleen offers Ben the love and acceptance he isn't getting elsewhere. Why does Colleen like Ben? He has brought her into a world of experiences that make her uncomfortable but challenge her.