When I was a youngster, growing up in south Texas, I more than once had a lunchtime showdown with the schoolyard bully. I wore just a half-pint hat back then and the bully must’ve had a ten gallon head. So you’d have imagined then, that this noontime duel would cause quite a stir. And in fact it did. The cafeteria was a buzz that morning, all the kith and kinfolk were talking. “Why’d that little guy wanna go and do that?” they’d say. “Why’s he wanna get himself all beat up and all?”
Sure I was little, and surely as the sun would rise, I was going to get my face smashed in by that mammoth of a twelve-year-old who shopped in the men’s section of K-Mart. But I wasn’t the littlest one, there were those smaller than me, those that needed me to take a stand. Day after day the playground was terrorized by idle threats and hair-pulling harassment. It had to stop.
Little Billy had brought his favorite ball to school that day, the day I risked my life, and was showing it to all the kids there in morning recess. He was so proud of the colorful spiral swirls and the “undeniable fact” that it could bounce as high as the tip top of the flag pole. Now we all knew that Billy’s ball wasn’t “all that”, but we liked Billy and we took turns asking to see it and telling him how cool it was. “Don’t bounce it,” he would say, “I don’t want to wear it out.”
“What’d you say,” the gargantuan grunted, “you want me to bounce it?” That’s when, the bully took the ball from Billy and pounded it off the sidewalk as hard as he could, which was pretty hard let me tell you. We all stood in silence, the shock and awe of it all paralyzed us in fear. When the beautiful ball had bounced on to the gymnasium roof and into the gutter, Billy began to cry. Without thinking, I pushed the King Kong of a kid, telling him what a complete jerk he was. Thankfully the bell rang just as I saw the anger welling up in the big boy’s eyes. “I’ll get you at recess!” he said pointing his sausage sized finger at me.
Why am I telling you this story? I guess it’s because I want everyone to know that wherever you go, there is always going to be three kinds of people in this world. An old Spaghetti Western taught me that. A story of a dusty squinting sharpshooter may not be the sophisticate’s cup tea but it’s a fine story nonetheless. So what! – That the stories we right here on Ficly aren’t the finest stories ever written! – We all know that; we never said they were! To the holder of the tale, though, it’s a beautiful swirly ball that can bounce high in the air.
We might be one of those who comment to make our friends feel good, tell them we like what they write and tell them we enjoyed their telling of it; how it made us laugh or made us cry. We’re the Good. Maybe on the other hand, we don’t comment much at all, and when we do we offer only “constructive” criticisms, pointing out grammatical flaws in the writing or sentence structure. If we do such a thing, we might be considered The Bad – but being bad isn’t being Ugly.
The Ugly always writes more than they ever will comment, and comments only to nit-pick others mistakes. The Ugly makes multiple entries and leaves them, even though they could easily delete one. The Ugly takes a featured story with “4” pencils and gives it a “1” making a good story seem not so good. The Ugly is a bully that steals a little boy’s ball and bounces it right out of his little boy life. The Ugly makes us mad, The Ugly makes us cry, The Ugly makes us plot revenge and seek to find ways of getting back at them.
Yet what would a school yard recess be without a bully? What would a writing website be without The Ugly? – As of yet, I don’t recall any “ugly” picking on any of our “little ones”, they seem to only pick on us “older” kids. Sure it makes us mad, makes us hate them, and makes us wish they’d take their comments somewhere else! But at the same time the real world of writing isn’t all “wine and roses”. The writing world is full of “ugly” editors and rejection letters.
We; The Good and The Bad, will never get better if we don’t have a little Ugly in our life. So, I say, as long as The Ugly don’t start picking on those whose world would be crushed by a sardonic comment; as long as they only bother the “older kids”, they have a place on our website, and we appreciate them for it.
Oh, and to all those “Ugly” ones out there who might be thinking of picking on a “Little Billy”, I’d like to tell you how my School Yard Showdown ended:
I kicked the bully in the gonads and he toppled over on the ground, squealing like a pig. – Then, I ran for my life! o)