Have you heard of the Man Repeller Writers Club? Every month we pose a story idea, you write about it and then send it to us ([email protected]) with the subject line “MR Writers Club.” We go through all submissions and post the winner on the first Saturday of every month. Ready? Let’s go.
When I told on Vinny and Jamar for beating up my friend Preston in the 6th grade, I was the enemy of the entire class. I don’t remember what Preston did to piss off the two most popular boys in school, but I do remember that he was pushed to the ground and punched for it, that his nose was bloody and that he was crying. And I know Vinny and Jamar got suspended as a result.
You could say I was a goody two-shoes back then, which would be fair, but Preston was a dork and I also had a crush on him, so there were other motivations in play. Either way, I can recall with chilling clarity the way the cool kids at my middle school moved in an amoeba-like pack through the hallways, and how it felt when they crowded around me after the bell rang, telling me to watch my back, calling me a “snitch bitch.”
That night, I cried to my mom as if I’d been sentenced to an eternity in hell. She did her best to comfort me, and used it as an opportunity to teach me about “the big picture.” She said she knew she couldn’t ease my pain right now, but that one day I’d realize that this little incident didn’t matter so much, and that actually it might teach me something. For whatever reason, even though I’m sure she’d said similar things before, the value of perspective stuck to my brain that day like a hat I couldn’t take off, and informed how I’d handle setbacks for the rest of my time at school. This won’t matter one day. Repeat 10 times.
It wasn’t until after college that I learned the limitations of big-picture thinking — like how sometimes the little picture matters, too, and might even be the very stuff that makes the big picture worth looking at. But I still feel that pep talk from my mom was one of my most formative.
Given it’s September, the month that will forever represent “back to school” whether it actually happened in August or you haven’t gone to a class in decades, this month’s writers club prompt is about those memorable moments at school that made us who we are. Whether it makes you shudder, cry or laugh, tell me about it in 500 words or less, and send it to write [at] manrepeller [dot] com by 12 p.m. EST on Tuesday, October 2nd.
There’s the bell, gotta go!
Photo by Paramount Pictures via Getty Images.