|"You ain't my friend, palooka."|
I can’t get his profile picture out of my mind. He’s filled out since high school, a rugged man replacing the scrawny boy I remember. He needed the extra pounds, but he was supposed to get fat. He was supposed to grow old and ugly, this smiling man fishing with his children, grinning ear-to-ear as he holds a huge lake trout up for the camera.
As a boy, this man helped make my boyhood miserable. He's not supposed to be happy. High school was supposed to be the best time of his life, and Facebook should give me pictorial evidence of his slow disintegration into fat, impotent, bitter baldness. This grinning man with the dancing eyes mocks me, as he ever did.
Along with Fish Man, Facebook shows me more people I might want to “friend.” Fat Bad Teeth. Ratface. Nice Guy Who is Cruel by Association. Roley-Poley. The boys who made high school hell.
There are women, too. Snide Remark. Nose Wrinkler. Friend One Minute Cruel the Next. Can’t See You. You Are Invisible. Look Through You.
You have 85 mutual friends.
Truthfully, many of them have gained weight, just not enough to suit me. A good start would be along the lines of, “The unemployment line starts over there, where that twenty-foot pile of demi-sentient lard is quivering.” Triple that and you approach the misery thier lives should be, in proportion to the misery they caused.
If there is one piece of evidence suggesting that their best years are behind them, it's reunion pictures.
Five year, ten year, fifteen year, are you kidding me? I thought reunions were supposed to meet each decade, but I guess that wouldn’t be enough for the popular crowd. I look at those pictures and see all the folks who made me feel inadequate. These people are super-excited for the 20-year reunion because Facebook makes it so easy for everyone to be in touch that it will be the biggest reunion ever.
Okay, okay, I know they only tormented me because they had issues, too, and the pain of school might be the main reason I became a writer, and popularity comes with its own set of problems, and from suffering comes art, and blah-blah-blah please mix me a damn martini.
But seeing this handsome guy smile, winning at life, it sets my teeth on edge. Aren’t selfish bullies supposed to get punished? Or am I confusing life with movies written by my dorky writer brethren?
I'm living well; the best revenge, as they say. I know what I’m here to do, I’m doing it, and my journey is my own. I have a girlfriend who fills my heart to bursting, and she has a boy who I deeply love. We aren't swimming in money, but life is savory.
Smile away, Fish Man. The water’s pretty fine down my way, too.
(Still, don't think I'm gonna friend you.)