November 18, 2002
There inevitably comes a time during the course of your life where everything you are employs itself to seek revenge from a friend or loved one. This paradoxical concept drives you to the point of hating someone you care dearly for. In the end, the typical result is absolute regret. This moment in my life came at the ancient age of 13.
I was the intellectual king of my class. No cerebrum could surpass the database of knowledge I carried within me. This sovereign fantasy of mine was shattered on the nightmarish day Josh Renfro entered the 5th grade classroom at Evans Valley Elementary School. I knew immediately that I was outmatched at last. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” That’s precisely what I did. I quickly befriended Josh and became a study partner, even doing an intricate report with him. That joyous year of friendship was over within a few months, and a new challenge awaited us new friends.
Josh and I perceived middle school as an educational joke. Most of the material being covered had already been noted and logged into our far advanced memory banks. Getting an ‘A’ became so simple that we resorted to analyzing teachers and their techniques (which we used for later use) as a form of intellectual entertainment. It was a little past the middle of our 6th grade year when the infamous incident happened. It was late in the science period when Mr. Harrison made an odd request of Justin Watkins and I. He stated that there was a short film that was going to be viewed, that therefore required us to assemble the ancient film projector.
As Justin and I constructed and positioned the prehistoric projector, we concentrated hard on the correct assembly and use of this long forgotten technological marvel. Little to our knowledge, a minute science assignment was given to the class as Justin and I worked feverishly. The period ended after the short film; the day ended normally.
First period came, and with it came the rumor of an unknown assignment. I questioned, “Josh, did we have a science assignment ’cause someone told me we did. I haven’t heard anything about it.”
“Nope,” he replied innocently, “Mr. Harrison didn’t give us anything to do. We just watched that movie remember?” Lunch came and went, and soon came the worst science period in my entire life. “Only 4 people did that assignment!” Mr. Harrison wasn’t pleased. “I don’t usually do this, but the people who did it get their pick from the ice cream cart.” I looked over at Josh and his pathetic jeering gestures toward me. For some reason he saw this inhumane treatment of his best friend as a hilarious joke. I watched as he stood a foot from my face licking, sucking, and drooling all over his ice cream bar. I was in a state of complete shock. How could my best friend commit such an atrocity against me? There had to be a way to cancel out his victory with some form of sweet retribution. Deep within my heart, a conspiracy was birthing itself for my yearned-after revenge.
It came about that my chance for vengeance came rapidly and unexpectedly. The custom of the 6th grade math culture was that an un-named assignment would be immediately shredded to pieces and thrown away by the instructor and only the instructor. After a simple math test one day, I inadvertently forgot to inscribe my name onto the paper. Since Josh was walking toward our teacher’s desk, I handed it to him to turn it in. Josh immediately ripped it into multiple pieces, quickly disposing of my hard work. Almost at once, Mr. Harrison began digging through his unorganized desk drawers in search of a pad of paper that I knew could forever tarnish the perfect record of one of the most conscientious perfectionists I have ever known. Almost immediately I saw Josh’s eyes tear up and his face and neck turn beat red. Watching him changed my whole idea of what revenge was. The sweetness of the ice cream Josh tasted earlier that year was godly in comparison to the sweetness of the revenge I now tasted. This retribution gave me a completely different emotion than what I had expected.
I knew that what I was doing to my friend was wrong; I had to intervene. Running up to the desk of my teacher, I calmly begged Mr. Harrison to tear up the referral slip he was now completing. Both Josh and I knew that the friendship we shared wouldn’t be the same if that disciplinary statement was filled out. I don’t know whether it was divine intervention or simply wisdom on our teacher’s part, but that referral quickly joined my shredded paper inside the trash bin in that 6th grade classroom. With it went our dire feelings toward each other.
To this day, the story of the “Ice Cream Incident” is still frequently discussed between Josh and I. It is one of the few bad memories from our younger years. We both learned a lesson from it, and that’s why I believe that the joking about the matter still continues. If friendship is true, it will last through seasons of retribution and brief hatred. Revenge comes to the mind of everyone throughout his or her lives. It’s how they deal with this thought that determines the outcome.