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Mr. Barry Has Nothing on Me

A View from the Solarium RETRACTION: Instead of ripping Dave Barry, we'll reflect on Dave Barry! My first essay to include illustrations!! And I'm not a Seventh-Day Adventist, I'm an agnostic. At least now I am... although I don't want my mom to find out so don't tell her okay? She'd say Satan was coming through me or something! Like she ever reads my website... =) Oh, and since this is the last essay from "Will Matheson's CPA-Related GeoCities Page", this is the last 'retraction'. I hope you had fun reading all my old essays... now let's hit the good stuff!!

[-- My take on an article Dave Barry wrote called "Jerks of Society" --]

            If the enlightened (and extraordinarily funny) Mr. Dave Barry can write a small column for the Miami Herald on the subject of jerks, then surely I could write a graduate thesis.

            Let me explain: I have had the pleasure to deal with jerks since Grade VII, my first school year in what was then the fine Halifax County-Bedford District School Board. I didn't really have to deal with too many jerks back in good ‘ol Prince Edward Island, but then again I don't often have to deal with REALITY there either, and it is my general opinion that the entire province is caught in a temporal hold, in a manner of speaking.

            So, as you might imagine, this concept of jerks other than myself came as a shock to me, not to mention the fact that I was under the impression that the ‘city kids’ were actually more civilized than us ‘country kids’ (it was customary for us to wear manure-coated rubber-boots to school!!), but in fact the first day I was standing outside at Bedford Junior High I noticed that my Fellow Students seemed to enjoy hawking up big gobs and spitting them out onto the pavement.

            But it got much worse than that, of course. At this school, I was introduced to the concept of harassment:

I had to deal with phrases like that every day, you see. There was no escape to be had, save running away to PEI once in a while.

            Every day at school, during the recesses and lunch ‘hours’, kids would crowd around me while I would go through my locker and swipe things (to this day, I don't use my locker much! … Supervising teachers? Don't make me laugh! It's Bedford Junior High we're talking about here… the only teachers there are the ones who don't care enough about the success of their work to teach at another school!). Then we'd all play a fun game called "Keep Away", but for some strange reason, I always seemed to be the person that they'd keep my belongings away from… needless to say that I lost (at last count) $75.00 worth of stuff over time, but sometimes I'd get my things back too! One day I found my expensive European markers swimming in a toilet. Another time, I found most of my textbooks covered with liquids of some sort inside a garbage can. I found lots of things, you see.

            The school bus was, in some ways, worse. Here, I learned most of my ‘secondary’ vocabulary:

Sometimes I'd have to deal with cretins like Robbie Boutlier: After all these little conversations, yes, everyone on the school bus laughed as if me being endlessly tormented was the absolute funniest thing they ever saw. Ha-ha! I'm laughing too! =(

            I've also had my share of physical… um, harassment, over the last few years as well. In Bedford Junior High, people would often walk up to me in the halls, squeeze certain parts of my upper chest, then laugh. I'd also be mysteriously tripping over all the time, especially near the tops of stairwells.

            At Sandy Lake Seventh-Day Adventist Academy (where I spent Grades VIII through IX), the Friendly Fundamentalists there would often lie waiting for me and give me these monster wedgies, but that's just the tip of the iceberg! One day they trapped me in a classroom and Nick Croscup and Jamie Gibb held me back while Scott Gibb sort of ‘shadow-kicked’ me until I started screaming loud enough that their ears got tired ("Geez Will, you don't have to get upset you retard, we were just kidding around!" --- I have come to the conclusion that ‘kidding around’ is a license to do whatever the hell you want, so I think someday I'll knock out my English teacher and tell Mr. Whitman that I was ‘kidding around’. Well, maybe not.). Another time they tripped me and kicked me a bit, so I swore… then I got suspended.

            There was this guy named Mark Wilbur (his father owns a big lumber company out in Enfield) who particularly liked to terrorize me. A small example I that pops readily to mind involves the time he locked me out of the school, then I said to him through the porch windows, "Boy, you're a… a…". "Jerk?", he suggested. I nodded. He walked into the porch and started beating on my head. After a few minutes, his punching arm got tired and so he departed. I told on him, but nothing really happened, and he just got ANGRIER.

            In another incident, I was walking down towards the soccer field to scorekeep a touch-football game (Wi) and Mark got up from where he was sitting (Mi) and said "here's someone I can beat up" while pounding his fist against his palm. He gave chase, caught me (Mii-Wii), then began to strangle me with my own jacket collar. But then a guy named Devin, someone who didn't really LIKE me but (suprise!) hated Mark, walked out of the school ("Hey Devin! I could sure use your he--- <struggles for air> ---lp right about now!" - DEVIN) and I suppose Mark may have gotten scared, so he just picked me up and threw me down the remainder of the hill (I had lots of airtime) and my arm happened to hit something big and brownish called the Ground. (Wiii) Ms. Walcowiack, noticing that for some strange reason my arm was BROKEN, made me say who it was before she would take me to the Cobequid Center. Mark was roughly punished, he was suspended for THE REST OF THE WEEK!!! Wow! They really threw the book at him! ("If his arm is broken, you're in big trouble!" - I suppose that it didn't matter that he scared the living shit out of me in the first place…)

Hey! I'm a good drawer! =)

            Maybe in June when we were all in Grade IX (understanding that my arm was broken in May) things changed, because Mark Wilbur received the Most Improved Student Award. I'd hate to see what he improved FROM… <shudders>

            At (good?) old Charles Pillsbury Allen, I still got the same tired old taunts (they were just even more cruelly delivered, that's all), but there was this one day that I was sitting in the wedge of the Solarium, and it was raining to beat The Mod Squad. I don't exactly know why, but people started crowding me further and further into the wedge and they all started looking up at the slanted window, (they didn't seem to notice me) and they were saying things like "look at all that rain…", etc… and they just kept on crowding me in, even though I kept shouting Helpful Hints like, "Hey… yeah, it's cool rain and all that but you're crowding me in… please it's like I cant breathe in here… Help!! … … … … … … help me… please… but I guess nobody could hear me for some reason. Also, in CLM class (remember "CLM and PAL"?) I had lots of fun little misunderstandings as well, just ask Mr. Law!

            Well, as I said earlier, I really COULD write a thesis about jerks but I am lacking one important piece of information… WHY?! Why did I have to endure their relentless torture for the past five years!! And, for that matter, why did they even WANT to torture anyone??… perhaps here lies the true secret of the Nova Scotian Jerk.

            I expect my biggest weakness is that I care whenever someone (perhaps myself, I'm probably selfish in this way…) suffers like this. But, as far as I can tell, Mr. Barry has nothing on me in the jerks department.

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