I am about to relate a truly disgusting story about myself as a boy which I offer to President Obama - both as a way to deal with enemies and a morality tale. I've never told it before - except to my sons - there are limits to my shamelessness even at my age when shame goes out the window - but it's finally time to let the world know about me and the horrible Larkin; not as a confession but as a practical guide for dealing with Rush and the Republicans. For those of you who want to hold on to a view of the innocence of small boys - read no further. For those who can face the hard facts of life squarely, here goes: Little Sherman's Triumph or Every Larkin Shits.
It was 1939 and this seven year old was sent to summer camp in Maine by his concerned parents. Our pediatrician, Dr. Herbert Jackson paid a house call during my monthly asthma attack, took one look at my pathetically skinny arms, my wheezing chicken chest, and my protruding ears, and suggested the only remedy for such a sad specimen of city boyhood was summer camp in Maine. Since I knew nothing of summer camp, and little about bunk-mates - I had been virtually home schooled due to my debilitating illness - I thought it was a great idea. It meant a new tennis racket, a new baseball glove to oil and "break in," camp clothes with my name tag sewn into them, a new flashlight and a military looking canteen; and best of all a dream of two months of camaraderie. I had much to learn.
I arrived in the woodsy, verdant lakeside camp, met my distracted counselor whose focus seemed to be upon the girl's camp across the lake, and greeted my bunkmates with a wary "Hi, I'm Sherman." I discovered that I would be sharing the double-decker cot in a log cabin called "Robin Hood" with Bobby Larkin - a boy twice my size, firm of arm, big of fist, round of belly and disagreeable of face, given to a mocking sneer from the first time he laid eyes on me. Larkin assigned the top bunk of the double-decker to me. And when Larkin watched my eager but inept attempt at catching a high fly from the outfield - my fate was sealed. I became Sherm the Worm - an object of mockery, and an occasional kick in the rump. In the middle of the night I could feel Larkin's kick coming up through the mattress, accompanied by his one man three piece band -his trumpet sneer of "Sherm the Worm," his drumbeat of "Here's your kick you little prick," and finally, his tender violin of "You smell like a skunk you little punk" cries now taken up by one or two of the other bunkmates who knew a good lyric when they heard it. Every bunk needs its victim and I was it. That Larkin made my life a living hell was an understatement. I will not detail the various forms of torture and humiliation that I was exposed to early that summer thanks to Bobby Larkin. I soon discovered that I would receive more of the same when I protested to the disbelieving and disinterested counselor. I learned the victim's code of silence. Being a boy living with a professional bully, I counted off the days when I could be Larkin free - and the numbers was estimable. I loved life then as I do now so thoughts of suicide never entered my head. But sad to say, thoughts of homicide did. Frequently.
One day when it was my turn to do cleanup around the cabin, using that long pole with a nail on it to fetch any vagrant scrap of candy wrapping or refuse from around the bunks and under them, I pulled out a pair of underpants hidden deep under Robin Hood. It had Larkin's name tape on it. It also contained more than a name-tape. I now probed the area under the bunk relentlessly, and I found a treasure trove of Larkin's soiled underwear - disgusting as a family of dead raccoons - but ready for immediate use by this intrepid boy. That day I called Larkin to me. He thought that I had received the usual weekly food shipment from my parents - the fried chicken, boiled ham, and salami, and greedily waited for his booty - for he had made it clear to me that my only hope for living out my camp days was to offer up my food to him in tribute. Tony Soprano had nothing on Larkin. Sad to say, I did so. UNTIL ---
"Larkin," I said sharply producing the first soiled BVD. "I know your secret. And I'm going to spread it around the camp." He grabbed the evidence from my hand and prepared to run off with it but I shouted after him that I had six other pieces of evidence to show to the court of public opinion - all securely hidden and bearing his nametag - irrefutable signs that Larkin was not housebroken at eight years old. He began to blubber - there was something wrong with a bladder of his. I nodded, told him what to do with that errant bladder and that he was never to mock me again. He nodded. And then as he extended his hand for me to shake it - I socked him hard in the nose. I didn't break it, but it gushed a great geyser of blood. It was the Yosemete of boyhood nose-bleeds. When he asked for my hankie I handed him his filthy underwear to wipe it up. I was cruel, vengeful, and happy as a boy can possibly be. Never again would Larkin torment me. Indeed, with the memory of those sequestered BVDS in his mind, he became my champion. I quickly moved from the outfield to second base, and I was a pretty good second baseman - knowing that Larkin would applaud every lucky catch I made. I prevailed. And I learned a lesson about bullies, crudely put: "Every Larkin Shits." Just as Dr. Jackson had predicted, I returned home healthier, stronger, more self-assured, cured of my asthma, and ready to face my adolescence whenever it would decide to ambush me. Even my ears decided to flatten out, moving somewhat closer to my head.
Now I tell this tale as my boyhood advice to President Obama. Like Larkin, every Limbaugh shits. This pharmaceutically challenged Larkin of yours will never be placated by reason. Extend an olive branch to the Larkins of the world and they will use it as a switch to beat you. You waste precious time in these desperate times trying to negotiate with the Republican Larkins - just figure out where they've hidden their BVDS under the bunk and take it from there. And between us, there's little in life as pretty as the sight of a bully's nosebleed. Let's move on and do the country's work.