Tommy Undermill is a boy in my class
who everyone wanted to hate…and there was a lot to hate about him. I mean
this kid had hit the trifecta of undesirable high school traits. He was fat,
ugly, and poor. The only redeeming quality he had was his sense of humor. This humor allowed him to absorb the cruel intentions of others and survive…and
isn’t that all high school is about, survival? Survive long enough so you
can get out and live your “real” life. Allow me to introduce
myself. My name is (take a Bond pose) Undermill, Tommy Undermill.
“Hey, Undertow”, Ned
Jankenship, captain of all sports involving a ball, loved to call me undertow…not sure why. I think it is a fat joke like I would weigh someone down and pull them under the water to their death. If you look at it…it makes no sense. If
anything it is empowering. Like I am strong enough to drag you down…to
me that should strike fear in my detractors.
“Hey Jankentow…what can I do for you?”
“Jankentow? That doesn’t make sense dumbass!”
“Sure it does. Nathanial Jankentow was a blind jazz piano player
in New Orleans who got caught in and killed by...you guessed it: an undertow. It
was tragic man…tragic.”
I had many exchanges like this everyday. Of course few of the things I say are true, they just ‘pop’ into my head.
“Tommy! Tommy! Look
over here pizza-face.” Oh, yeah, I should mention I have a tendency to
get acne (my face looked like a relief map). Nothing over the top, in fact I
would say “in the norm” for a pubescent boy of my age, but observations such as this seem to go unnoticed by my
“What do you want Mark?” Mark is yet another classmate who desperately tries to endear himself to me.
“I want you to die…soon.”
“Well, Mark I appreciate your interest in me. But I have told you
on several occasions that when we broke up I was willing to still be friends. But
it seems my rejection of you has embittered you to a point where this is not possible.
I will pray for you.” My grandma said that was always
a great way to get out of bad situations and I went to that “well” from time to time.
Now you are probably wondering why
these guys don’t beat the crap out of me. Fair question. The answer is not really that elaborate. My father has
been in prison for the past ten years for murder. He killed a guy while holding
up a Piggly Wiggly. The details are not important, what is important is that
on many occasions I mention to others in my class just how much he loves me.
I tell them he writes me every day. I tell them that he told me to send
him a list of anyone who ever physically harms me and he would deal with it when he got out.
Of course, none of this is true. My dad actually had left our family before
I could even remember what he looked like and I have no contact. But that is
a secret I will keep to myself.
“Yeah…well, you’re gay Undermill.”
“Well Mark.” I said as loudly as I could, “It was your
desire to take our relationship to the “next level” that ultimately ended us, so you tell me who’s gay?”
The reason I feel my story is worth
telling is that although I appear to be alone, I hold onto the fact the surly some other kid is out there taking as much crap
as me…right? I can not believe that I alone am…well, you know? It just doesn’t seem statistically possible… I mean, over 2 billion on the planet, not to mention possible alien cultures…I know somewhere out
there, there is a little green dude taking shit…“Hey, Zoltar, if my antenni were that small I thing I would just
cut them off and say I was a Mealtoff….HA, HA, HA…Oh, yeah and your GAY!”
Something like that. So, if there is someone else, then maybe by
sharing what I have learned or felt…or feel….I don’t know, maybe it will matter. I know I wish I had someone to help guide me from time to time.