My mother told me I had to have a hobby, a collection, but she doesn't like what I collect because here in North Carolina, it's not normal to collect swords. North Carolina is a farming state, well, at least my town. Here people collect fish, paper and, bugs but not me because I'm unique. That's what I try to be just so I can make my family mad.
I make them mad because they started it first. They named me Stump. Yeah, like what's left of a tree after you cut it down. Made for some real high self-esteem in my earlier years. But as time went on it became something of a status symbol as soon as I hit high school, but, then, that's when I started collecting swords. For some reason, it makes people respect you when you have a wall covered in shiny sharp things.
Not that I ever did anything to deserver this fearful respect. I've always thought of myself as more of a lover then a fighter. Which brings us back to my passive resistance of my quest to piss off my family on their own quest for normalcy. I am the Antichrist of normal.
Then it happened. John Saberman. The only person more unique than me. He just moved from South Carolina. "The finer of the two," he always said. Then it started, our 'contests' of who is more unique. It moved on, beyond being yourself. This turned into being more unique.
I showed up to school one day wearing a spandex shirt; he wrote "RUSH" on his forehead.
I dyed my hair green; he had a sex change.
I covered myself in ducktape; she did it multicolored.
I hated Jenny, which is what she went by now.
And so it continued, through the peppy cheer of Homecoming game and, through the elections for valedictorian. I wasn't going to college after my senior year. I couldn't handle a whole new class of people calling me Stump. So I got a job at Meijer and my friend 'Jenny' got a job at a strip club taking pride in her new identity. Everyday I remember the crazy things we did and the tattoo on my back of a stump with a sword in it is all the reminder I need. I blame it all on her.
We never talked again.