Untotaled: Stepping 12 (February 14, 1965)–Valen-kind’s Day … May 3, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2221)

 

(Transcript)

Her name was Jody. (Actually it still is.)

She sat in front of me during Social Studies.

No one liked Jody. She committed the three grave sins of early “teendom”: she was a little larger, she was very quiet and therefore assumed stupid, and she copped an attitude if you made fun of her.

And they did. Make fun of her, that is.

Rumors about Jody spread through our classroom daily with the proficiency of a team of reporters on the New York Times. One of the more repetitive and prevalent accusations was that Jody smelled bad. Matter of fact, one of the guys thought it was hilarious to put a can of air freshener on her desk before she arrived at school. When she knocked it off and threw it on the ground in anger, the whole classroom burst into laughter.

I never noticed that she smelled. Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure she didn’t.

When our teacher, during the “season of love,” thought it was clever or even cute, to encourage us to send a Valentine to one or more of our fellow-students as a throw-back to our childhood days, I objected. I thought it was beneath our status of being graduates of elementary school.

Yet I was out-shouted by the rest of the class so the plan was set in motion.

I decided that my way of rebelling against this childish practice would be to send a “Valen-kind” card to someone nobody else would think to include. Obviously, Jody came to mind.

So retrieving my construction paper, crayons and round-tipped scissors, I temporarily digressed to the mind-set of a third-grader and produced a card for Jody from me. It said the following:

“Happy Valen-Kind’s Day, Jody. I just wanted to let you know you’re not so bad and I don’t think you stink.”

I signed it and placed it on her desk on February 14th, as the teacher had requested. Unfortunately, my friends arrived before Jody did, found the card on her desk, read it and started to make fun of me incessantly.

When Jody arrived and she read the card, she came toward me to give me a hug, and being alarmed, I pulled back (I assume with a bit of revulsion). She was offended, but it didn’t keep her from following me around for the next week-and-a-half with gooey eyes, thinking that I had the hots for her.

(Even though I was just trying to be kind, I think I overdid it a little bit. I don’t know.)

Eventually, I had to sit her down and tell her that what I was trying to do was let her know that she was okay and just one of us–not that I was looking for a girlfriend.

She was a little disappointed, but I think, relieved.

By the way, the three main bozos who made fun of her ended up, after graduation, spending most of the time under the carriage of cars–changing mufflers.

  • Jody went to college.
  • She blossomed.
  • She ran across people who didn’t know about her “body odor” and accepted her.
  • She went on to become an anchor on the local news in our community.

It’s interesting how things work. Rarely are we able to maintain the status that we felt we possessed when we were in our teens.

Because there’s one thing for certain: Jody could clean up, take a bath and become a new person.

But unkindness sticks to you like mud.

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