Your writing is becoming redundant, can you write about something else besides the same things over and over again? If you need help with ideas then get out of your comfort zone to stretch yourself and see more of this world.
…And don’t take offense when I tell you this, but I think you should shave and get a haircut since in your pictures you can sometimes look homeless. Don’t be afraid to let the world see the smiling face that’s behind all that hair, people will love it!
Thank you for writing me. Of course you didn’t offend me, don’t be silly. I love it when people tell me I look “homeless.” It makes my day.
Only someone with deep emotional insecurities could feel hurt by such words. Someone who, for instance, might have been made fun of in middle school for being chubby. But not me, thank God. I wasn’t ever called “chubby.”
I was called “chunky.”
Chubby and chunky are not the same things. Chubby people can wear bathing suits to Lydia Mandeville’s thirteenth birthday party and feel no shame.
Chunky people would rather die in a tragic diving-board accident than remove their shirt in public.
Then again, the only thing that would have been worse than taking off my shirt in front of thirteen-year-olds would have been NOT ATTENDING the biggest party of the century.
My friend, Billy (also chunky), insisted on going to the party because he was in love with Lydia Mandeville.
Billy begged me to go. He said, “I need you there! For support! PLEASE!”
“I’m sorry, Billy. I’m not going.”
“There’s gonna be barbecue.”
“Did I stutter?”
So I decided to go to Lydia’s party because there was going to be barbecue.
Billy’s mother dropped us off at the public pool. Billy and I arrived wearing swim trunks and oversized T-shirts. We noticed right away that kids had all formed their respective cliques.
Kids are a lot like birds in this way. They naturally flock together in complex migratory patterns, and sometimes eat worms.
The jocks (cardinals) were hanging out by the vending machine, shirtless, without a stitch of body fat. The A.V. club (Canada geese) loitered over by the fence, discussing the finer points of “Star Trek.” The popular girls (swans) kept close together. The popular boys (peacocks) were jotting the swans’ telephone numbers on cocktail napkins.
Billy and I (North American Turkeys) stood by the picnic table, guarding the barbecue (pork).
We were pathetic, and we knew it.
Not only was I plump, pale-skinned, and redheaded. But I also got haircuts at home. My father cut my hair. He would position me on the porch steps and cut my hair with electric shears. I have seen photographs from my childhood. I looked like a cross between Bozo the Clown and a very young soldier.
So there we stood, a couple of North American Turkeys with paper plates in our hands.
That’s when Billy spotted Lydia.
“Whoa,” said Billy. “There she is.”
It was her. Lydia, the object of Billy’s affection. He was totally in love. Billy was so smitten that he would’ve crawled across a sea of broken glass just to smell her gym socks.
“Cover me,” said Billy. “I’m going in.”
“Don’t do it,” I said.
“Because look at us.”
“What about us?”
“We’re chubby, Lydia doesn’t even know your name.”
“She’s about to.”
And I will never forget it. Billy leapt into the pool, T-shirt and all. And he actually approached Lydia, who was—get this—NOT REPULSED BY HIM. She was smiling, and laughing. Chunky boys across the world rejoiced in a resounding chorus.
But it was short-lived.
Because Johnathan Fontaine was standing by the picnic tables, making fun of Billy for wearing his T-shirt in the water. Some of the other kids started laughing too. Soon, everyone was laughing at Billy.
Billy fell silent. He crawled out of the pool, his long T-shirt clung to his torso like a translucent leotard of death. And the laughter was brutal.
“Let’s go home,” Billy said to me. “I’m embarrassed.”
Which is why I got so upset. In that moment, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I came up behind Jonathan Fontaine and tackled him. We both fell into the pool. We wrestled. And Jonathan Fontaine, who is now a successful chiropractor, nearly strangled me with my own T-shirt.
Years later, I’m still sorry I tackled John, but I was only doing it because Billy was my friend.
Billy never acted ugly to anyone. He was a funny guy, happy, and kind hearted. And Jonathan Fontaine was not being nice.
The funny thing is, Jonathan didn’t know Billy. He didn’t know that Billy’s father had abandoned his family before Billy was even born. Or that Billy’s mother worked two jobs. Or that she received free groceries from the Methodist church. Or that she picked up her groceries after dark so none of her friends would think less of her.
Jonathan Fontaine didn’t know anything. If he had known, I don’t think he would have nitpicked. I think he would have been kind. And sweet. Instead of trying to hurt someone’s feelings for no good reason.
I’ve forgotten where I was going with this.
Oh well, I guess I’d better stop writing now before I get redundant.
Thanks for the letter.