By Marc Noodly, PhD
None of the other children liked Donnie Buntkin. Plump, acne-riddled Donnie Buntkin, the kid with hands that always smelled like cheese. The kid who played the clarinet and possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Middle-earth.
Every night, after brushing his teeth and swallowing a spoonful of medicine to temper his excessive flatulence, Donnie would climb into bed and dream of growing big and tall and strong. Then the other children would finally like him!
No, they would love him. The boys would fight over who got Donnie Buntkin on their team. And every girl would ask him to the big dance. Even the gym teacher would secretly pine to be more like the supreme physical specimen that was 12-year-old Donnie Buntkin.
One morning, Donnie woke to discover that his wish had come true! His once-stubby legs now dangled off the edge of the bed, which creaked and groaned under the weight of Donnie's newfound muscles. He got up and ran to the bathroom. One look in the mirror confirmed it: Donnie Buntkin was the size of an NFL linebacker.
Donnie continued to grow rapidly that morning ― so much so that he had to borrow a shirt and pair of pants from his father, a former sumo wrestler. At breakfast, Donnie's chair collapsed, and on his way out the front door, he had to stoop low to avoid bumping his head against the lintel. As he walked to school, Donnie grew taller than the telephone lines, and then his neighbors' roofs, and then the uppermost boughs of the stately trees that lined the street. By the time he arrived, Donnie stood no less than 50 feet tall, with a torso as thick as a minivan.
At first, none of the startled middle-schoolers said a word when they saw their enlarged classmate. Then, to Donnie's horror, they all started to laugh. They laughed at Donnie’s terrible acne, now grotesquely magnified into a hellish landscape of blistered red peaks and deep, craggy valleys. They howled at his enormous, thick-rimmed glasses, and at the fist-size boogers clearly visible along the edges of his cavernous nostrils. And, of course, they laughed at the fact that Donnie was naked, having outgrown his father's clothes seconds after leaving the house.
And as if things couldn't get worse, Donnie spied Cindy, the prettiest cheerleader in the school, and the nervous giant promptly expelled a thundering, malodorous fart.
That did it. Donnie turned away from his jeering classmates and ran as fast as his massive, pale legs could carry him. Through the parking lot, across the football field and into the woods he went. In the distance he could hear the school bell ring, but nothing could persuade him to return, not even his five years of perfect attendance. Oaks and elms were crushed underfoot like so many twigs as nude and distraught Donnie Buntkin stumbled toward home ― crying out now, in a deafening baritone, for his Mommy.
(Author Marc Noodly is a national expert on adolescent self-esteem issues. He recently won the Richie Prize for his short story about anorexia, “The Less I See, The More I Like!”)
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Marc Noodly, PhD