It was a cold Fall morning and we all stood outside Sanger Middle School waiting for the doors to open. We were just a group of boys talking about nothing and making fun of everything. I wanted so badly to fit in and to be part of their cool jibber-jabber, but I had nothing funny to say.
I stuffed my hands into the pockets of my Z Cavaricci jeans and pulled my shoulders toward my ears turtling my neck so that I could keep warm. I scanned the area around me looking for something to make fun of, or something witty to say, but all I saw was an old man walking.
He shuffled along in loose-fitting khaki pants with a matching jacket, leather gloves and a brown hat similar to the one Tom Landry always wore. My eighth grade brain churned and my mental gears turned looking for an oppurtunity, hoping for something clever to say, and then it came to me – “I should call him an old geezer, that will make the guys laugh!” I wrestled with the idea for a split-second knowing full well that it was the wrong, but I wanted so badly to fit in and so I blurted it out in my most humorous voice, “Hey guys, look at that OLD GEEZER! Ha Ha Ha!”
No one laughed. I think for a moment the entire world stopped – except for the crickets, you could hear their crystal clear chirps loud and clear.
Even worse than the lack of laughter was the rebuke – “Eddie, that’s not nice, that is an old man, you shouldn’t make fun of old people.” The boy who rebuked me was much cooler and older than me and of course everyone followed his lead and gazed at me with incredulity. I immediately wished that I could turn back time, I prayed for God to return and rapture me, I would even have been happy if a space ship had come down from space and landed on me at that moment – anything to change what I was feeling inside. But no one came to rescue me. The guys walked away and I was left standing their shivering in my shame.
That day I started a mental list and to this day I still use it.
Eddie’s List of How NOT to fit in
1. Make fun of old people