The Scholar and the Lump
Part three of three looking back at my rivalry with “William Duboise”.
I’m the one who usually finished first when it was something mathematical, and I left him a distant second at the multiplication tables. And whether or not he tended to top me in other endeavors, up until the Frog Dissection of the previous entry, I always thought I was better than him when it mattered to me the most.
At the end-of-the-year awards assembly there were lots of nothing trophies being issued like they were going out of style. If you so much as joined an after-school club, chances were you’d bring something home simply for being a member. But seeing as I’d been a lump my whole two years at Crandall, I was basically a lump at the assembly. Never once heard my name.
Mildly enjoyable watching all those happy deserving people picking up their hardware. The applause, the enthusiasm, and besides we got to skip two classes. But it really got to me the way I kept hearing William Duboise’s name, and it wasn’t for being captain of the basket weaving team that they were asking him to grace the stage.
Turkey #2 was called forth to honor his straight-A average, his position as National Merit Scholar, to receive his award as outstanding student of the year for the second year in a row. It was like an Oscar sweeps the way he kept being cited for all the biggest awards. Framing academic excellence at different angles, and it didn’t matter how they worded it; William would always rank as one of the elite group or as the elite one. I was watching this and thinking, “What happened?” Why him and
not me, or why me, for that matter, because there was no appreciative difference between us back when. If anything, I was the star.
The Monstrousphiles will appreciate that I had one more significant “William” sighting within the time frame of my book, when I went to “Todd Stickley”‘s graduation and “William” was valedictorian. The only full sentence my memory can attribute to him came when he stood at the podium and said “Please don’t gown at my jokes”.
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