When I was thinking of a title for this blog post, Fatty Fatty Two By Four was what first came to mind. I thought the rest that followed was couldn’t get through the kitchen door, but when I googled it I found out otherwise! I’d rather not repeat it here.
When I was growing up in my small town of Devils Lake in North Dakota for much of the time I was a chubby kid, and I got teased for it. And that hurt. A lot. One time it also resulted in physical pain, but I will get to that later.
Like many people I have been immensely enjoying the new TV series “This Is Us.” If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about triplets born in 1980, one of whom dies during childbirth resulting in the parents adopting a third baby born a few days earlier (brought into the hospital from a fire station) whom they adopt. The show goes back and forth between current day and when the triplets – two boys and a girl – were younger. The female triplet, Kate, played by the truly brilliant and beautiful actress Chrissy Metz, is a plus size woman who was also a chubby kid. One episode focused on the triplets at about age 10 when the family was enjoying a day at a public swimming pool. Some of Kate’s “friends” write her a note that she reads by the side of the pool that says “We don’t want you to play with us anymore. You embarrass us.” The note also includes a drawing of a pig’s head.
Watching that episode brought back a childhood bullying, fat shaming memory that I hadn’t thought about in many years. Like Kate most of my friends were thinner than I was, however, thankfully I don’t ever remember them doing something like Kate’s friends did to her. I do remember at around the same age – 10 or so – playing at my friend Kelly’s house two blocks over from my house. We were outside and a small group of boys started heckling us from a distance, although I don’t remember what prompted them to do so. They began throwing some rocks at us and at one point one of them yelled at me “you’re a big Fatso” or something along those lines in an extremely loud, taunting voice. It brought tears to my eyes and I decided to leave and go home. I darted across the street and cut through the alley and ran smack dab into one of those boys. I still remember the meanness in his face, his eyes squinted and his face red and contorted with disdain. He had a large rock in his hand and even though we were literally standing face to face he swung his arm with all his might and lobbed that rock right into the middle of my forehead. He then yelled fatso one last time and turned around and ran away. I remember being dumbfounded and shocked and probably let out a loud wail. I then sprinted the last block home – hand to my forehead – and no doubt tears streaming down my face.
I don’t remember what happened when I got home. I don’t know if I told my parents or my sister about the incident, although I had to have told somebody something because I do remember having a giant welt on my head that I couldn’t hide.
The thing I remember the most was that the cruel bullying was painful both inside and out, and something that I certainly will never forget.The stones not only hurt my bones, they hurt my heart.