”Nah na nana nah na! Edgar Allen Poe!” Or “Edna!” Completely harmless to the organism is a sound. Only its attached or allowed meaning can injure.  Musical tone and tempo added to supply additional meaning now, “nahna, nahna, naah, na.”  In this case to assail the listener.  To mock him with a simplistic repetitive chant.  I was being teased! Just a few of the variations of many silly teases I, like many of us,  endured indignantly. I dealt as best as possible, trying not to over react and give the teaser what he wanted.  A reaction. This would put them in control and they would then “push your button” when ever they pleased.  This seemed to be their goal.  They seemed to go around testing every student in the class until they would find the ones that were susceptible to the ploy.  Many succumbed to it at one time or another. Or at least this is how it seemed to a fifth grader, new to the class.

I did not, at the time, possess my present appreciation of Zen or quantum mechanics, for that matter,  that would have allowed me to simply let the feeble attack melt away.  Giving it no more attention than any other of the thousands of ambient noises reaching my ears at any given moment in time in a typical busy city classroom. Or, I daydreamed,  I could have crushed my would be tormentor by deftly pointing out to “it” that “it” was not only, surely, inferior to me, and beneath my attention, but mostly comprised of space; How the 10% of mass that remained to comprise “its” abysmally hideous existence smelled of shit anyway. And that I would not engage in a combat of  intellect with the unarmed!

My name, it seemed,  proved an easy target. And such unscrupulous would attempt to use it to access  soft and vulnerable emotional underbelly. Painting me as somehow different. (I feel your pain, President Obama).  I often cringed every time I was asked, ”whats you name?”  “Who’s asking?”, I often retorted defensively.

After all, I, we, all just wanted get along and  fit in.  To be like the others. This would afford involvement in the fun, the play, the emotional communication, acceptance,and ultimately validation. You, sir, are a human, the blessed species, you have been given inalienable rights. You will not be unduly slighted without a measure of retribution exacted on your behalf and you will, at the very least, be acknowledged if not remembered upon your demise. Your resting place clearly marked: name:, from:, til:. As if to say, he was given license to be one of us for this space in the time continuum  As if to say you, Edgar, too, mattered above all other creatures great and small. More than animal, mineral, or vegetable. You mattered for, being one of the beings. Doesn’t, the bible tells us so?

”I’ll show them someday”, I frequently internalized.  But my own inner voice would often betray me as doubt crept in. It would furhter assault me echoing the defacing insults: “loser,” “coward,” the voice say. “fight back.” “But you’re small and thin and hungry, the discussion went, “you’ll be easily hurt,” was the counter, by my inner tormentor.

This Lord of the Ring’s, Smeagle-like inner conflict and debate would fade and return at the oddest moments to play out in an effort to find resolution. I would in my mind deploy and substitute different scenarios as if in a Road Runner cartoon, trying to find a realistic one that would stop the tormentors and turn them into pillars of salt or something.  At one point I concluded that bashing everyone in the head with my metal lunch pail was not a feasible solution and likely to result in more trouble.  I would often just not respond. Besides, I valued my lunch pail and protected it as a valued possession.

The seed for success was planted.  The impetus. The motivation grew.  The determination not to fail and allow them to be right.  Prove them wrong. Show them. The question of how I would “show them” was in the eventually answered by ”I’ll become a successful Podiatrist! I mean a secret super spy, agent whip-your-butt!  Really? A Podiatrist?  Anyway, a Podiatrist I ended up. Yeah, that’ll shown ’em, the little voice still mocks me! I guess I’m still fighting that war just a very little bit.  A cinder smolders still somewhere in a non Zen responsive part of my brain, the aggressive reptilian section.  Nevertheless, a doctor. Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, whip-your-butt, I shall be addressed as, if you please!

Actually, yeah, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, works for me (bitches).  It has made me relatively happy. I get to help others feel better and perform surgery, which has always been childhood goal. This setup, in the final analysis, is usually a fulling combination. Those of us with a conscious, an ability to derive satisfaction from doing for others and not just oneself will understand and agree. The rest of you Narcissistic vermin will have no clue about what lofty values and joys I speak of. To bad for you. There is a deep emotional satisfaction and a powerful sense of control over destiny and the state of the human experience, however illusory,in alleviating pain in another human being. Something, the selfish future sociopaths of the world using insults to belittle and bully others in an attempt to dominate and move up a perceived elementary school social ladder, will never know! You know just who you are. Don’t deny it. You, hollow, other world, seed pod spawned, partial people. Like the freakish creatures that emerged from the seed-like pods from outer space which invade the earth and threaten to replace everyone in the movie ”Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” These emotionally devoid hive minded, empty imitation shell of a look alike humans; these evil little monsters would continue to sling devaluating aspersions my way. And, of course, I will continue to laugh it off and take the higher ground. But in the Hollywood movie version, in my imagination, would be a little more vengeful! Indeed,who could resist a little gothic macabre, albeit fantasy, Edgar Allen Poe style Tom foolery!

Prologue – Some of you my have assumed this is  a story of bullying, childhood dissatisfaction, and  teenage cruelty.  While, in matter of fact, some of that exists in the tale and gives it relevance, it is mostly an attempt at acerbic humor and journalism based on a childhood experience (of bullying, childhood dissatisfaction, and teenage cruelty).  While the events are true and none of the names have been changed, no animals  where hurt in the making of this essay. I would also point out that the focus of the tale is on how I was able to adapt to the situation and fend off these attacks on my name sake on a intellectual level and never indeed have to get my hands dirty as it were.  I remained above the fray allowing my ego to remain intact and  to parlay my any anger into positive motivations to succeed further in my endeavors. In retrospect, I think, maybe I was the 2nd or 3rd kind of horse here. Although, I was never even close to being super popular or anything like prom King, I was far better socially and emotionally adept during my teenage years than most of my peers.  I can say with a fair amount of certainty that most of my high school peers didn’t, and likely still don’t, even know what American Gothic macabre is, nor have they ever bothered to even read any Edgar Allen Poe (not forced on them by Ms McAfee, RIP, or another literature teacher.

I am also, quite sure that others have and will suffer indignation far worse than a little name calling and don’t mean to make it sound like it was “the end of he world” or me.  It is what it is.  Stupid childish behavior and a common experience. The resultant effect of which depends heavily on how one managed its implications, the individuals involved, and other socio-economic environmental factors.

In short, the experience did not scar or damage me. I emerged with a different appreciation of others shallowness and  with new directions for myself that would lead to fulfillment.  In other words they were not the serious about it and I didn’t give it that much importance beyond how I would further engage in verbal sparring and what strategy to employ to my advantage.  Instead of thinking I’m not worthy, I though you guys are really dumb. In addition, I’m pretty sure I dispensed some of this stupid behavior myself.  My only excuse being that I was just mimicking what I had seen. Unlike some, I never made it a habit.    This I ascribe to the fact that I derived no pleasure from abusing others without provocation.  Never have.

Post script:  I would further like to add that nearly all of those who can call themselves one of my ex’s have, in matter of fact, been, by some unseen means, befallen by an acute case of onychocyrptosis.  Otherwise known as an ingrown nail.  A painful condition of the foot often leading to infection and swelling of the toe.  It would appear that the gods of Podiatric Medicine are, in fact, protective of the progeny and quite spiteful if not vengeful!  I do not have any data at present if these maladies have also afflicted any of the aforementioned offenders or not at this time. But be forewarned, Instant Karma’s gonna get you, that’s right!

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