Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tony's Gift

Throughout grade school I was the smallest boy in my class. I was short and skinny.  I remember being referred to as Shrimp Boat as in the “Shrimp boats is a-comin’” song.  That was fine except my size made me an easy target for bullies.  There were a couple of boys in my class that would pound on me from time to time.  I learned to avoid them.  One of the boys was named Mark.  I really disliked Mark.  No, I hated Mark and the name Mark.  The chubby boy in the class was Two-Ton Tony.  His full name to playground comics was Two-Ton Tony Full of Baloney.  One day Tony pulled me aside and told me about Mark.  He said that Mark’s Dad beat him.  I was shocked.  I was used to the idea that there was meanness and danger in the world.  But home was safe.  It was where I got unconditional love and support.  Yeah, I got yelled at and the occasional swat on the behind, but the idea of my Dad beating me was incomprehensible.  I felt sorry for Mark.  I actually felt compassion for him.  I still avoided him because I still didn’t like being pounded.  But I no longer hated him or his name.  Thanks, Tony.

Tom Petersen