Belated Replies To The Inquiries And Statements Of Brad Welch, Circa 1983

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“Hey, did you forget to wipe your butt?”

Actually no, I did not forget to wipe my butt. As a nine-year-old, I already have a good amount of butt-wiping under my belt (so to speak) and have the routine pretty well down. Your implication, I take it, is that I stink, which is likely the case. But considering that we are boys in a third-grade gym class, this is not a distinguishing characteristic, i.e., we all stink.

“I bet you’ve never kissed a girl.”

You bet right. I have never kissed a girl. It will be several more years before I do. I won’t sleep with a girl until college. This romantic timeline will be freighted with anxiety and awkwardness, missed opportunities and painful rejections. But, at this moment, I am in third grade; I’m not convinced that I even want to kiss girls. So I’m not sure that your assertion, regardless of its veracity, is particularly relevant.

“Your head is too big. It looks weird.”

I have a large head. What’s more, I have a small body. If you were clever, you might compare me to a bobble-head doll. But you’re not clever, Brad Welch. In fact, you’re a bit of a dullard, even for third grade. I imagine that you will grow up to be a mean, petty man with a drinking problem who drives an expensive car and is secretly despised by everyone he knows.

“You suck at volleyball.”

I do suck at volleyball. But I would argue that I’m not alone here. Why the sadist they’ve hired to teach P.E. makes us play volleyball when there are so many other, better games (kickball, for example) is beyond me. The fact that you, Brad Welch, are slightly better at volleyball means little when you consider that neither of us has much success in hitting the ball over the net — which, I am given to understand, is the object of this wretched sport.

“My picture is in a magazine. You’re ugly.”

You are not actually pictured in a magazine. Your photograph did appear in a children’s clothing catalog once. Your parents — who, if you are any indication, must be terrible people — are apparently intent on saddling you with an inflated sense of self-regard. This, trust me, will not serve you well later in life. Besides, in a year or two you won’t be cute anymore.

“Get up. Get up. Get up.”

It’s difficult for me to get up when you are repeatedly pushing me down. Also, in a minute, the P.E. teacher will notice this scuffle and punish us both for “roughhousing” — even though all I did was get thrown to the ground over and over again. This will result in my name being written on the board, a punishment that will not, in retrospect, seem that severe, but at that very moment will feel like the Greatest Injustice in the History of Man.

“See you later, buttface.”

Goodbye, Brad Welch. I wish you ill.

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