Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ryan the Teeny Tiny Terror

My middle name is Ryan, and I always resented my parents for that. I kind of want to change it to Rook, but there wouldn’t really be much point. I thought it sounded like the sort of name you give a crazy person, and I was totally justified in thinking that. Ryans are crazy.
Seriously, if your name is Ryan, stay away from me, you’re totally insane. Guaranteed. If I ran a mental hospital, I would have a troupe of security guards secretly kidnap people named Ryan and put them all in a nice room with bouncy walls and see how long it took them to break out using their combination of devious genius and terrible insanity.
There were two Ryans in my elementary school. The first was a math savant who just happened to have a host of psychological problems. We used to make fun of him by singing the ABCs under our breath as we walked by him and watching him freak out.
Now that I think about it, if everybody around me spontaneously started whispering a children’s song, I would freak out, too.
Actually, somebody get me the number for Hollywood. If we start now, we can have this horror movie out by Halloween! Instead of another host of sequels, we can have a completely original script (c) the Ryan Corporation that itself can spawn hundreds of sequels! In the first, a man hears the ABCs whispered every moment of every day and it slowly drives him insane! In the next, it’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! And then Baa Baa Black Sheep! Oh man, those movies would be FREAKY!
Where was I? Oh yeah! Ryan the Insane but Brilliant Math Wizard. Naturally his tormentors (me included, because, as previously covered, I was a bit of a jerk. Okay, a huge jerk. Okay, a quantum jerk that somehow managed to not get shot repeatedly in the face for 20 years, and I still don’t know how.) didn’t know about his brilliance. We just assumed he was a special ed student that somehow slipped past the tests, and we put him through enough psychological torture that Geneva itself would have been perfectly fine if somebody accidentally water-boarded us in return, with a small side of car battery nipple clamps. Then I caught a glimpse of his math time trials in passing. We had one every week, and it took most kids two months to pass a single one. Ryan had never failed. Not even once.
I thought I was hot stuff because I had made it to multiplication before the rest of the class was out of subtraction, and Ryan was somewhere in the realm of calculus. In first grade.
I didn’t make fun of him after that. I didn’t DEFEND him, but I didn’t make fun of him. Like I said, I was a quantum jerk.
Enough about Ryan. Let’s talk about Ryan. This kid was incredible. I’m not sure how enough venom to make a cobra stop, look around, and say “whoah.” got into a person that small. Maybe it was something to do with the fact that his parents were getting a divorce, since one was a dwarf great white shark and the other was a midget bear and, try as they might, they just couldn’t work out the differences. He was giving sixth graders wedgies when he was still in diapers (which isn’t saying all that much. He wasn’t fully potty trained until 4th grade. Neither was I, but that’s a story for another time.) and abusing his needy girlfriends before he had even heard of puberty (again, not saying much. He failed sex ed twice.). He was short, he was mean, and I sprayed mustard all over his favorite sweatshirt.
It was an accident. I was messing around during lunch one day, and a friend of mine had a packet of mustard that neither he nor the four people nearest him could open. Thinking the packet invincible, I snatched it from the nearest fellow, laid it on the table, lifted my fist as high as it would go, and brought it down hard.
Apparently, this packet’s Achille’s heal was being punched by an idiot. It let out the most glorious spurt of mustard-blood I have ever seen.
You see, Ryan was sitting across the lunchroom/auditorium. Hitting him with mustard should not have been possible without some sort of bug in the physics engine that runs the universe, but every drop of that mustard ended up somewhere on him, without a single person between the two of us even getting a splatter. I felt one single moment of elation that I had just sprayed foodstuff on a person I didn’t like, (which is an extraordinarily cathartic act. Try it on your coworkers tomorrow!) but then I experienced the fastest turn around from elation to horror ever, before instant sober pills will be invented.
Because we locked eyes, Ryan and I, and I knew I was dead.
He cornered me later that same lunch period, pushed me up the wall, and asked my belly button why I had ruined his favorite sweatshirt. It was a rhetorical question.
I began blubbering like an overweight whale, and they have a LOT of blubber. I was sobbing so hard I could barely stutter out that it was an accident and that I didn’t mean to and something about my hand slipping, which I’m not sure why I said because my hand most certainly did not slip.
Ryan was completely speechless. I don’t think he had ever made a person cry before just by asking them a question, and he was kind of at a loss. Instead of beating me down like a dirty rug, he gave me a hug and told me it would be alright, it was fine, it wasn’t actually his favorite sweatshirt and he had a few just like it and his midget bear mother could probably get the stain out anyway.
And that’s how I got out of getting beaten down by the shortest, meanest person I have ever known. I used humiliation again.
I am like a humiliation squid. Whenever danger threatens, I just squirt it everywhere and pick up the gift cards and hugs just lying around in the aftermath.

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