The Worst Thing Ever

I was not, by any means, a handsome eighth grader. My hair, constantly stuck in a state of either too short of too long, could never quite find a way to style itself. I was overweight. Not, like, unhealthily overweight, but when I visited Dr. Inman’s office each August for my annual physical, he’d pull out a chart with a diagonal line and he’d point and say, “Here’s where you are, Will,” and it’d be a few centimeters above the diagonal line, which means I was not one of the perfectly-toned children. I was always hovering between 60 and 65 percent overweight, and that never posed an issue until I decided on my eighth grade yearbook quote.

Each year at Carondelet Catholic School, eighth graders got their own big pictures in the yearbook, and every kid got to pick a quote to place under their name. This was a Catholic school with plenty of nice young Catholic boys and girls who went to Fr. Korogi’s mass every Sunday and wanted to impress someone — I still don’t know who — by quoting Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II. I was not like those kids. I was part of the middle school book club and I had green and purple braces (school colors), but I would never quote a Catholic hero in my Catholic school’s yearbook. I served my time in the Catholic Penitentiary and I wasn’t going to give Sister Kathleen an ounce of satisfaction by honoring a pope or a saint.

When the Carondelet students scurried home in May with their yearbooks, my chubby little, brace-faced smile made its way into each of their homes, and underneath read: “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.” — Derek Zoolander.

This simple, yet misguided, act has followed me for years, staying in the deepest depths of my brain until I’m really happy and things are going really great and — BAM — remember that time you immortalized yourself in Carondelet history by unironically submitting the most ironic yearbook quote?

When a friend’s dad complimented me on a “hilarious yearbook quote” I took it as a compliment. I think it was just a nice way of calling me a jackass.

Yeah, shit happens. I’ve (sorta) moved on. My braces came off a year later. I now have a consistent and reliable barber (S/O to Robbie). I’m probably still hovering slightly above that diagonal line, but working out takes time and energy — both of which I devote to discovering the perfect ratio of BBQ sauce to ranch dressing.

Anyway, this is my Medium account. For my first post, I wrote about the worst thing I’ve ever done partly because this was a writing prompt from one of my classes and partly as an off chance some middle school kid is reading this and considering using a Derek Zoolander line for their yearbook quote. But, hey, if you’re a good looking kid — not to be creepy — go for it.

Alright, I’m gonna go see Sausage Party now. Thanks for reading.

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