BLURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (14)

By: Art Wallace
August 15, 2022

One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, delivering brief remarks on mottos, mantras, speeches, slogans, and other words to live by. Series edited by Adam McGovern.

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Illustration by the author

COME ON AND GIVE A CHEER

Junior high school is brutal. I was picked on by those who could and in turn I picked on those whom I could. Verbal ridicule was my specialty. If I could get a whole room full of kids to laugh at someone it was mission accomplished. I was even paid seventy-five cents once to insult someone for one minute during homeroom. It was a big success.

There was a new kid at school whose family was from Greece! He was a real Greek and most importantly he played soccer! Mr. Knott took every opportunity to tell us that Greek kids love soccer the way we love baseball. And now it was time for everybody in gym-class to play soccer! We all went out on the grounds and Mr. Knott rolled the ball to Nick. Nick bounced the ball from knee to knee and then from foot to foot then up to his forehead! Holy shit! From his head he let the ball drop down to his foot and let loose with a vicious power shot, it went about twelve feet and hit Roy right in the fucking face and broke his glasses! Roy was the overweight kid that Mr. Knott would often yell at. “Come on! Move it you tub of lard!” he would encourage.

Everyone was stunned and Nick stood with his hands on his hips waiting for the ball back. Mr. Knott yelled something like, “Gotta be on your toes!” We all ignored Roy who had a slight trickle of blood from his left nostril.

Each classroom in our school had an adjacent cloakroom. It was very large and had plenty of hooks for us to hang our coats. One day at lunch time I was in there doing mischief. Putting sand or wads of paper in people’s shoes maybe. Roy entered the classroom and I hid. He sat down and took out his notebook. He started drawing the school mascot, the Golden Bear. From my hidden vantage point I could see that he had been drawing the Golden Bear emblem over and over in his notebook. Then he started singing the school song! In his cherubic eleven-year-old voice.

Come on and give a cheer,
All those assembled here.
For Washington Golden Bears
We’re loyal through and through
To colors gold and blue.
Our victory we celebrate
Come on and fight team fight
Show them with all your might.
Golden Bears we love you!

In one harsh moment I realized that I couldn’t ridicule him, with no one else here. One-on-one attack just wasn’t in me. I had never felt more alone with myself. I was terrified and frozen in place. The thought that he would see me after singing like that was horrifying but not as bad as the chance he might know my new truth. As he bent over his notebook I crept out of the room in a panic and scampered away. Yes, I scampered.

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BLURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: INTRODUCTION by Adam McGovern | Ran Xia on BLACK CROW BELIEFS | Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons on LEFT-CORNER BRICK | Andrea Diaz on JOY IS RESISTANCE | Lynn Peril on TO THINE OWN SELF | Miranda Mellis on THE FUTURE IS PASSÉ | Bishakh Som on LET THE WEIRDNESS IN | Lucy Sante on FLAUBERT’S PERFECT WORD | Stefene Russell on CRYSTAL SETS | Crystal Durant on LIFE IS A BANQUET | Adam McGovern on EVERY MINUTE AN OCEAN | Josh Glenn on LUPUS LUPUM NON MORDET | Heather Quinlan on SHUT UP, HE EXPLAINED | Adrienne Crew on WATCH YOUR PENNIES | Art Wallace on COME ON AND GIVE A CHEER | Julia Lee Barclay-Morton on WILLIAM JAMES, UNADAPTED | Christopher-Rashee Stevenson on TO EACH HIS OWN | Nikhil Singh on ILLUMINATE OR DISSIPATE? | Mimi Lipson on CHEAP FOOD TASTES BETTER | Kahle Alford on NOT GONNA CRACK | Michele Carlo on YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT | Marguerite Dabaie on WALKING ON WATER | Raymond Nat Turner on TRYIN’ AND TRANEIN’ | Bob Laine on WHEN YOU GROW UP | Fran Pado on THE SMILEY EMOJI | Deborah Wassertzug on PLACING YOUR BETS. PLUS: BLURB SERIES CODA by Lisa Levy.

MORE ENTHUSIASM at HILOBROW

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Enthusiasms