The Time I Told A Girl She Had Fat Thumbs - A Quarantine Reflection
Memories are weird. God only knows how many things we forget within minutes, and yet, other moments that happened as children will haunt us until the day that we die. I still remember a time as a young child - maybe 5 or 6 years old. I was sitting by the pool, minding my own business, casually rubbing my nips; You know, as kids do. They were sunken into my breast, but with just a few strokes, my nips popped their little heads out like a prairie dog looking for predators. If I did that now, at age 26, I would have to knock on doors and explain why I got put on the pedophile list, but as a child, it was raw curiosity.
That day my sister had some of her friends over, all of whom were about seven years my elder. The age gap between us was a direct result of a failed vasectomy my father had years back. I was like the last sperm to make it over the Berlin wall. Some refer to me as a miracle baby, but my mother insists on calling me a mistake - but I digress. I was in a deep trance, heavily concentrated on my left nip nearing its apex when out of nowhere, one of my sister’s friends began to make fun of me. No Blue’s Clues episode had taught me how to get out of this pickle. I wasn’t cerebral enough to explain my allure for as to why my nips retreated into my mini man titties. After pointing it out, I think the kid realized that he had just shit on a five-year-old, but the damage was already done. It was so devastating that I haven’t touched my nips since; Honestly, probably for the better. But that got me thinking: What words have slipped through my lips that caused a long lasting effect on someone without me even realizing it? I thought back to a time when I was in the 6th grade and made fun of a girl’s fat thumbs. I remember it clear as day. Our desks were set up in groups of four that created a square. I sat across from…we’ll call her Olga. At the time, my emotional intelligence was at a similar level that you may find in your typical hockey dad; I was trigger trash.
Whether or not she knew it, Olga had a way of pushing my buttons. One day, in particular, she was kicking me under my desk. Looking back, it was probably an innocent game of footsies. Unfortunately for her, I was under the legal drinking age, this wasn’t a dark club, and I hadn’t been ripping tequila shots all night to fuck the big one. At this point in my life, I still had standards: No holding hands with fat chicks.
With every kick, my displeasure grew. Not to the point of, “I’m going to shoot up the school,” like kids do now. This was 2006 - Back then, we used to hone in our anger by brutally murdering hookers in GTA 3. We weren’t psychos like the kids today.
Then finally, after the 34th kick, I blew my lid. I was going to destroy this girl down to her core. I was in mid-sentence, about to call her fat when my inner demon child realized there was a better way. Like Peyton Manning, I quickly called an audible from "Why are you so fat," to "Why are your thumbs so fat?" As the words slithered out of my mouth and into the universe, I realized two things: (1) I could destroy people solely with the use of my words, and (2) telling a chubby preteen they have fat thumbs may be the worst thing I could have possibly said.
Let's be honest; this girl knew she was overweight. We were entering middle school, hormones were flowing, and I found out there was a term for why I was waking up with sticky boxers every morning…we were becoming more self-aware. At least the years of fat jokes she had previously endured could prepare for another; she could even pretend like she was going to start running soon. But to point out such a minuscule detail like obese thumbs? What kind of monster says that? Why, as an 11-year-old, did I not say something typical of that age group like, "you're ugly?"
To give my younger self credit, I may have been a dick, but that was a veteran dick thing to say. I didn't dumb down my joke for the kids around me, because I knew that she knew that even wind sprints weren't going to slim down those toe thumbs.
Now, at age 26 and 15 years to reflect, I think back on how that comment affected her. I remember seeing the embarrassment in her eyes. It sent shockwaves through both chins as she gasped. The good news is that a couple of years ago I saw a picture of her and it appeared as though she really slimmed down. I might even dare to say she looked pretty good.
So did my comment help? Something like what I said can really stick with a kid. Perhaps she got one of those hand grips to tone her thumb's physique. Maybe my bullying inspired her to drop from a thumb war heavyweight to a more manageable light-middleweight. What if she tried training those husky thumbs by playing video games? If so, did she ever find her niche as the "hot girl" who also games? Or...or maybe the trauma has forced her to close her eyes anytime she signs her name. What if just the sight of those thumpers reignite some sort of PTSD? I don't know, but sometimes….well sometimes I wonder….