by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
October 14, 2004
LIKE SUPERMAN AND LEX LUTHOR
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Everyone had a nemesis growing up. Someone who was there to bother, harass, and torment them, and generally try to make life unpleasant. Abel had Caine, Julius Caesar had Brutus, and everyone who likes music has Britney Spears.
My nemesis was David S., a rotten punk at my school who made it his life's mission to bug me and cause trouble at every turn. He was a little menace who used to shove old ladies and paint graffiti on churches. And he burned the American flag on numerous occasions.
Okay, none of that's true, but since this is my column, I get to say things like that. I know I should let bygones be bygones, because I'm a mature adult who has moved on with his life. Besides, he probably lives in a cave and can only communicate with clicks and whistles, so it's not like he'll read this anyway.
Actually, David S. and I were usually friends, and would hang out through the summer. But occasionally there would be a flare-up and we would beat on each other for a while before things returned to normal.
However, despite our fun times, I don't have fond memories about David S. In fact, I often hope he has a really messy job that involves working at a sewage treatment plant as an "underwater retrieval specialist."
Of course, I won't use his full name here, in case he became a high-powered, bloodthirsty attorney who made his ill-gotten wealth by suing poor widows and orphans, before deciding to take a whack at a humor columnist for a little variety.
My youngest daughter has her own nemesis at school. Not to the degree that David S. and I would do battle, but this kid vexes Youngest Daughter every Thursday and frustrates her every chance he gets. As it turns out, most of this is imagined, but Youngest Daughter is determined to pursue her little vendetta to the end.
The kid in question is named after a former president, although I won't use his real name here, in case his dad turns out to be David S. Let's just call him Fillmore, after another president, to maintain his anonymity. Besides, I don't think enough people talk about Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States.
Youngest Daughter turned four recently. Before her birthday, she announced to Fillmore that she was going to be four.
"Nuh-uh," Fillmore said. "You're going to be five."
"Nuh-uh," said Youngest Daughter. "I'm going to be four. Next year I'll be five." Youngest Daughter is pretty on the ball.
Fillmore was undeterred. "Nuh-uh. You're going to be five." Apparently Fillmore is five, so he was convinced that everyone else was five too.
Youngest Daughter came home and railed against the illogical arguments Fillmore was using, and how he completely ignored the facts of the case.
"He's a goof," she said.
This past week, Youngest Daughter saw Fillmore at school again.
"Fillmore!" she hollered, as she and my wife walked into the classroom. "I'm four now. I'm going to be five next year!"
Fillmore looked away and didn't say anything. Worried that he didn't hear her, Youngest Daughter yelled even louder: "Fillmore! I'm going to be five next year!"
He still didn't respond. This annoyed Youngest Daughter, who turned to my wife and said, "Mommy, Fillmore is pretending to ignore me in a passive-aggressive attempt to get me to stoop to his level of discourse."
Of course, it sounded like, "Mommy, he's not listening to me," but that's what she meant.
Over the past several weeks, I've heard several stories about how Fillmore has slighted Youngest Daughter in some way, and about how he is absolutely heartless and cruel in his behavior toward her. Of course, I've also heard the real stories from my wife, and how Youngest Daughter barely pays the slightest attention to Fillmore.
I don't know where she gets this overdeveloped sense of melodrama.
But despite all the gut-wrenching tales of imagined slights and insults, Youngest Daughter insists that she and Fillmore are friends. They will sometimes play together with nary a word about who's turning five or who exhibits textbook passive-agressive behavior.
Hmm. Maybe if Youngest Daughter and Fillmore can be friends, David S. and I can move beyond the scars of childhood. We're both mature adults who can look back on our youthful antics and laugh. So maybe I could try to renew my acquaintance with David S., the playground bully from my childhood. All I need is his phone number and address.
And a flaming bag of dog poop.
When Erik isn't making voodoo dolls of childhood friends, he can be found working on his latest radio theater play or writing political speeches. Find out more at http://www.humorcolumnists.com.