When my son was in 5th grade, he went through a rough patch socially. We had moved to a new house – which meant a new school for him, and there was one
douche-bag boy in particular who made his daily life difficult.
In an effort to try to deal with what my son was feeling, I created a little picture book with weird little drawings of a funky little creature named Shecky the Meckyl — who just so happened to be getting teased by some other “Meckyls.”
My son let me read it to him.
When I finished, I asked him what he thought about my book. He exhaled with the kind of exhaustion that seemed too dramatic for a 5th grader.
“I get it, Mom. I’m Shecky. And some day some people will appreciate me for who I am. I just have to wait it out.”
In hindsight, my son’s annoyed tone wasn’t inappropriate. I was trying to simplify a complex problem. I was telling him “Be Yourself!” when he knew all too well the person that he was — his core self — was being rejected daily. He felt attacked, defenseless, and friendless.
Over the weekend, we found the old manuscript in a bin.
He didn’t remember it, so we read it again.
I thought I would share it. It may not have worked in the moment, but it reminds me that the woes of youth are, in his case, quickly forgotten. And perhaps my little story might offer something else to someone who is going through a rough patch.
• • •
Shecky the Meckyl & His Technicolor Groove
Shecky the Meckyl had a technicolor groove
He’d leave colors in his wake whenever he’d move.
Sweet Shecky had colors where shadows should be
He made rainbows on sidewalks for Meckyls to see.
Shecky loved colors, as most people do,
But Meckyls turned up their noses and said, “PICKLE-POO!”
Which was not a nice thing for a Meckyl to say.
It made Shecky sad, and his colors turned gray.
Said one nasty Meckyl on one nasty day:
“We don’t like your colors; we don’t like your hues
We step in your shades, and get stains on our shoes!”
“You are too bright!” said this nasty fellow,
“Your pink is too pink, your yellow, too yellow!”
“Why don’t you keep all those shades deep inside?
Lock them up tight,”
And so . . . Shecky tried . . .
He held in the purple
He held in the green
He held in the fuschia
But once in a while some blue would appear
And the Meckyls would laugh as they though he was queer.
Shecky was puzzled as Meckyls could be
He missed the bright hues which had filled him with glee.
Shecky sat himself down on a cold piece of birch.
And his smile flew away alone in that prickle-perch.
He was sitting deserted on his bum in the street
When who do you think Shecky happened to meet . . .
But his friend Schmeckyl Meckyl who was out for a walk
And when he saw Shecky he stopped for a talk.
“Where are your colors, Shecky? Where did they go?
Can’t they come back, Shecky? Please make it so!”
Shecky answered sadly, a tear in his eye,
“Other Meckyls don’t like them, so why even try?”
“Don’t let those Jabber-Flabbers rain on your parade.
I like you, Shecky and all the colors you’ve made.”
“Please make a rainbow, you know what to do.
Those Meckyls are just cranky. Don’t let them change you!”
So Shecky straightened the glockins which grew from his bum,
He squeezed and he pushed and hoped they would come.
And it started to happen, as things frequently do,
Shecky smiled a smile, and his colors shone through!
With colors flip-flapping, once more Shecky was high,
Ready for anything under the sky.
Some Meckyls still look at Shecky with shlock in their eye,
But now Shecky is thankful he is a colorful guy.
My son doesn’t like to discuss 5th grade, and he rolls his eyes at me when I mention it. Meanwhile, I remain on amber alert.
Just because he is able to “straighten his glockins” and refuses to allow the “Mean Meckyls” of the world to be his undoing, I’m not so sure the same can be said of his mother.
What would you do if you found out your kid was a “Mean Meckyl”? When do you let kids fight their own battles? And when, if ever, do you move to intervene? And would you ever have your child call to apologize to another?
A Thank You Note To Ed
"Angry Man" by Steve Rhode
Yesterday, I had a phenomenal day as my blog entry was Freshly Pressed (meaning it was recognized as a blog with a quickly growing audience), and it received a fair amount of attention. I was excited and enjoyed moderating all the comments and visiting new blogs. Somewhere in there, the following response came in from a respondent named Ed.
Initially, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I took his words personally. I wondered, Who is this guy? And why does he hate me so much?
That lasted for about 1 minute. The real lesson reflects my worldview: Most people are fabulous and supportive and interesting and delightful . . . but there is always going to be that one person who shows up drunk to your party and throws up in your bathroom. He is the thorn in your side, the fingernails on the chalkboard, the raccoon that comes to your campground and eats all your s’mores fixins. That person keeps us humble. Keeps our heads on. He provides balance. The trick is not to let the Eds of the world keep you down. Thank you, Ed, whoever you are.
Here are Ed’s exact words in response to yesterday’s blog. I have let him know that I have reposted his response today, so that he might comment – if he would like to.
So you ended up being just a mother.
Just another mother, like a chimp, a cow, an elephant, a whale, just another mother, like an insect, or an octopus, or a worm. Just another mother.
Your kids will not thank you, your husband will not like you, your own mother will pity you for making her own same mistake.
Just another mother.
For a moment of frenzy, of uterine voracity, irrational and irreversible, you destroyed your body, your beauty, and your own intellect.
Parental-brain-atrophy-syndrome, where your brain biologically adjusts to the need of your infants, descending at their own subhuman level, with just one dimension, food, or perhaps two dimensions, food and feces.
You left your ambitions, your achievements, your potentials outside your life and outside the lives of those who really loved, only to become a receptacle of an unknown body of an unknown person that never will be yours, and to whom you will never belong. Strangers united in a pool of blood and dirt.
And dirt has become your life, and your life has become dirt. Urine, remains of food, excrements, diapers, vacuum cleaners, old soap, crusts, a life of dandruff and diseases, vaccine and lice, high school and drool.
You lost your dignity through your open legs, first inwards and then outwards, first-in-first-out, garbage-in-garbage-out, a boomerang of boredom.
Do you remember who you were?
Do you realize your loss?
Nobody chooses prison voluntarily, except for mothers, except for you.
You chose the life of a slave in a cavern of dirt.
People around you, who know that you are just another mother, do have compassion for you, but no respect. They know all about your emptiness, your pain, your despair, all dressed in the robes of a Virgin Mary.
And a Virgin Mary you are not, because Mary was not a Virgin, and you are not a Mary.
You were manipulated into just another life wasted on the heap of trash of a lost humanity dedicated to popular procreation and proletarian proliferation, to please the leaders of a domain of plebeians.
The world lost you, and you lost the world.
Good bye, sad mothers, good bye, old cows, with dried-out utters and distorted hips, good bye, and so alone you all will die.
Note from RASJ: I believe Ed meant to use the word “udders” (as in the things cows have beneath their bellies) – not “utters” (the synonym for the word ‘says’). Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ed would have benefited by adding a dash in the word “good-bye” which appears three times in his last line. What can I say? First and foremost, I’m an English teacher.
Posted in Bullying, Technology, Writing Life
Tagged Comments from Strangers, Hateful Note To Mothers, Meanness, psychology, Technology Makes Cowards Brave