My bully is still a douche. I looked him up on Facebook and he looks like he walked right out of Central Casting. He could be an extra on Jersey Shore. And you know those girls whose lips are scrunched up like idiotic ducks in every picture? He’s married to one of those girls! So, yes, I win. Maybe I shouldn’t still be keeping score, but I am. I sometimes daydream about being able to tell my bully, and everyone else who has ever told me I would “get killed” by life, to kiss my ass. For this to be most effective I think it should be done on national T.V. Maybe David Letterman will be telling me how much he loves my books and me, “Tom, forgive me for saying this, but you remind me of a cross between David Sedaris, Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, Mark Twain and James Thurb…”
“Dave,” I’ll say, “I don’t want to stop you when you’re on a roll. But I’ve got to get something of my chest. You remember that story about my bully?”
“Of course. That was your first big piece if I remember correctly.”
“That’s right, Dave.” And here I’ll pause and look directly into the camera, “Hey, bully! My family and I were out on George Clooney’s yacht last week- he spoils my kids rotten!- and I was telling him, Brad and Angelina about you, and they all said, ‘Who?’ Anyway, kiss my ass!” Then I’ll look back at Letterman and apologize, “Sorry, Dave. Can I say that on T.V.? Anyway, what were you saying?”
As much of a cliché as my bully is, I have to admit that I’m a bigger one. I’m the The-Only-Person-He-Has-To-Blame-For-His-Slow-Start-Is-Himself guy. But (what the hell, let’s keep the clichés flowing shall we?) there is a monster stirring inside me, the writer that I was born to be fighting to the surface. With every post, every nice comment, I’m less interested in staying mediocre, less afraid of success. Yes, you read that correctly. I have until now been afraid of success. I used to bitch and moan that my blog was not more popular, but I never did what I needed to do to make it popular. I’d promote myself to a point and then stop. And I never got serious about trying to get published, about growing as a writer- not because I was afraid publishers would say no, or that I wouldn’t grow as a writer, but because eventually someone will say yes and I’ll get better at writing.
And when I did start to promote myself, and my Facebook page started growing, I shied away from taking a stand on anything. It’s not that I stayed away from controversy; the problem was that I was careful not to have an opinion. I was afraid to give readers something to dislike. Which brings me to “A Boy Abused”. I always knew that to be the kind of writer I wanted to be I had to write that post. And now that I have, I’ve given my family something I don’t think they’ve ever had before: A reason to dislike me. My old position was comfortable and safe. I could decide whether or not to have a relationship with whomever I wanted. With that post I ceded some of the high road. It was a personal risk. Time will tell what, if anything, that risk will cost me. I already know what I gained. I gained the certain knowledge that I’m not holding myself back anymore.