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Jimmy Fogelberg This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Jimmy Fogelberg. With aname like that, you expect a little more than you would fromthe average kid. With a name like Jimmy Fogelberg, youanticipate crazy shenanigans and wildhijinks.

"Someone egged Mister Nordquist'shouse."

"Oh, it must have been that JimmyFogelberg."

"Oh my, Michael Schaffer gotde-pantsed in gym class."

"That's JimmyFogelberg for ya."

"There was a core meltdownat the power plant."

"Ol' Jimmy Fogelberg'sat it again."

All this, and nothing less. The nameJimmy Fogelberg carries an air of mischievous authority. He'simmediately likable. You want to be his friend whether youlike him or not. Anyone lucky enough to get that name wasdestined for greatness.

But who got the name JimmyFogelberg in my school? Not me, or someone of equal merit, buta weasely little guy who never talked and always smiled.Little Jimmy Fogelberg, the nicest kid in Mrs. Jones' class.Little Jimmy Fogelberg, he could be sitting there dead in theback row and no one would notice.

And what for the restof us to do? We had no choice but to carry out Jimmy's tasksfor him. We marched down the halls with a somber sense ofduty, setting grasshoppers loose, squirting glue everywhereand shouting bizarre phrases that made all the boys gigglehysterically. We stood against the wall at recess when thebell rang chanting, "Hell, no, we won't go!" MikeCook, in third grade, made perhaps one of the boldest effortsin playground history. There was this kid named Adonis(appropriately) climbing on the swingset. Mike Cook walked byin his striped shirt and red freckles, grinning. "Hey,Madonna!" I've never seen a scrawny little kid run sofast in my life. Kudos to the late Michael Cook.

Onelunch I made a mission of screaming a certain sexual slangdown the third-grade hall. I was pretty proud of myself untilI backed into a school aide. Next thing I knew, I was goingdown to Mrs. Thomte's room to apologize. Actually, I had toapologize twice, once to her and then to her hair.

Ikept a straight face and told her that I was a disturbed sexfiend and would seek counseling. As I turned to go, shestopped me. "Wait. I want to know what you wereshouting."

Grasping hold of all my courage, Iturned. "Yes?"

"Who'sGordon?"

I ruptured my spleen trying not tolaugh.

And where was Jimmy Fogelberg while I slowlykilled myself? Did he offer his congratulations? Did he thankme for doing his job? No.

And where was he when weplayed chalkboard- eraser-dodgeball? When we stole DanielKnight's bike and accidentally hid it in a cop's backyard?When we had a substitute and pretended we couldn't read? Wherewas he when Charles peed in his pants? When I invented theinsanely popular schoolyard anthem "JohnHenry?"

"John Henry / John Henry / John Henry/ John Henry!" (ad infinitum)

Okay, so it wasn'tthat great. But where was Jimmy Fogelberg when we sat throughhours of detention and lectures by the faculty, enduringinhumane pain and suffering?

The way I figure it, hewas probably at home playing with his friends, or reading abook or talking with his parents. While we crucified ourselvesfor his sin of abandoning the old grade school rites, JimmyFogelberg lived a normal life. I guess now I envy him. Some ofus find out too late what it's like to be a decent humanbeing. I'm still waiting.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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