Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke. 

I get a knot in my stomach remembering him, and the smell of bubblegum makes me a little queasy. That awkward boy with slightly greasy hair and ill-fitting clothes who had to endure indignities of life only children are cruel enough to devise. I remember looking away from his hurt so as not to draw any attention to myself. 

He’d done nothing wrong - nothing but be just that little bit different. Nothing but wear pants that were a little too short and sweaters that were a little too polyester. I can still see the unevenly chopped hair he returned to school with the next day, the day after the ‘cool boys’ had held him down, wrapped bubblegum around his head, squished it down, rubbed it through his thick hair to his scalp. Why did his mom send him back with his hastily cropped shame so evident? Had she cried cutting the gum from her boys' head?

By the end of the week he had left our school and our small town. The look in his face has haunted me since then. And, the smell of bubblegum makes me a little queasy.

Write on Edge Prompt:
Write and link up a no more than 200 word post about….


Yep. Bubblegum. I have no idea how much wine was consumed prior to that prompt being created, but the paper it was on was folded into a cootie catcher and had purple stains on it. (For the record, if I’d picked 4 instead of 3, the prompt would have been vole abuse.)

Have fun with bubblegum!


  1. Hi Shannon! I'm a Shannon too. "indignities of life only children are cruel enough to devise" Great line.

    1. Shannon High Five! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. This made me want to cry for that little boy. My heart aches for those teased and tormented with no one to help them. And I agree with Shannon about that line. Brilliant!

    1. My best friend and I were talking about this event just this weekend. Yes, we have been friends that long (longer, in fact). And what stuck with both of us was the fear that if we helped him, we'd be next ... and that in itself was an attack on who we thought we were.

      People talk as though childhood bullying is new. It's as old as ... humanity? The difference now is it's much more public. I doubt our parents even knew what we'd witnessed.

      Thank you for your tender-heartedness, Roxanne. We should still ache for those teased children.

  3. Sadly, this has been a problem for decades and you write of the pain to the one being bullied so well...as well as those who watch feeling helpless. Even with today's "no bullying" policy, many adult males still think it's a rite of passage. It's only hurting society. Thank you for writing this story.

    1. Thanks, Maggie. Wouldn't it be nice if rites of passage celebrated growth instead of creating more harm.


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