Their Favorite Joke

September 20, 2010
Wanna hear a joke? This one’s been going around my school for a while now, and it still hasn’t worn out. Everyone else laughs at the story, I’m sure you will too. It goes something like this:

Once upon a time there was a girl. Brown mousy hair, pale blue eyes--you know the type. The shy girl in the back of the room who needs glasses to see the board. The one who usually gets As on her assignments, and all the teachers like her. Funny how the teachers always like the ugly ones, isn’t it? Maybe it’s pity, maybe it’s because they tend to do better in school… But that’s beside the point. The girl had a small chest, large thighs, and a normal sized butt. She wore a purity ring on her left hand--more a promise to herself than to anyone else-- and she looked at her feet when she walked. Her nose was slightly larger than normal, and her lips on the thin side. Her eyes squinted when she smiled, and braces lined her teeth. She had had the braces for eight years, and she never learned to speak properly, so she lisped. She was skinny, and her chin slightly receded back. Highly self conscious of her laugh, she merely smiled when a funny situation occurred.

All she ever wanted was to fit in. Protected by a heavy shell, she rarely let anybody close to her. Yet everyone who didn’t know her whispered. The whispers danced tauntingly around her, begging for her attention. She knew her fellow classmates laughed when she mispronounced the ‘S’ sound. She saw them advert their gaze in the hallways--and she pretended she didn’t care. When, really, she did.

All she ever wanted was to fit in. To have a real friend--a best friend. She’d never had a best friend. Over the years, she’d befriended a mere handful of people. Even then, they were never that close. She rarely hung out with them, as social situations made her feel awkward. She’d never had a boyfriend, never been kissed… She spent her weekends doing homework, knitting, writing, reading. She sought refuge in the lives of the fictional characters she had grown to love and care for. While everyone else was at a party, or the movies, or a dance, she would sit at home, reading one of her favorite books for the umpteenth time. She pretended she didn’t care when she heard people talking about their adventures on Friday night. When really, she did.

But she wasn’t always like this. Years of depression and suicidal thoughts led her to believe that everyone was against her. Her voice shakes when she speaks to the class because she knows that they’re all making fun of her. She looks at her feet to avoid the scrutinizing and judging stares. She’s never, not once, been told that she’s beautiful. But she hangs on…

Deaths of loved ones shatter her heart. Lost friendships make her want to scream. Lonely nights and haunting nightmares replay constantly in her mind. All the fears, all the stolen promises, all the broken dreams, all the ashes of the yesterdays she longed to forget-- they made her shell stronger, stronger, stronger… And if you look at her neck, observe it, closely, really look at it… You can still make out the marks of the noose in which she tried to take her life.

Well, that’s the joke. Was it funny, did you laugh? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who finds it hilarious… You’re not the only one who laughed… They all laugh at me.

Join the Discussion

This article has 26 comments. Post your own now!

HiddenAngelInTheDark said...
Dec. 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm
I love it and I think everyone can relate to it in some way :) keep up the good work
Mayim12 said...
Jan. 16, 2011 at 1:07 am
I loved this story, its pretty relate able to me.
hancampbell replied...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm
Thanks for your comment(: And I am so sorry that you've had to go through that. If you ever need to talk, hit me up, alright?
Mayim12 replied...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm
Okay! I will.
alice! said...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

Like AsIAm said, it was a little disturbing. And hopefully NOT true.

And well, the girl in the article.. well she's part me :)

hancampbell replied...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm
Thank you! And it's mostly fiction, haha, (luckily). (: Thanks again! 
AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 10:03 pm

The Good: This was amazing, disturbing, ironic, WOW.  Great writing!!!!!!

The Bad: Don't swap tenses on me - it ruins the moment! :D

The Random: I SINCERELY hope this isn't true. 

hancampbell replied...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 6:18 pm
Thank you! And sorry about the tenses, haha, my teachers are always on my case about that.. 
CSHCSH This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 7:09 am
this is a REALLY good story... and i instantly fell in love with it. i loved the ending coz it was so dramatic.... please check out my work too and rate it! i am rating this full five stars!!
hancampbell replied...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm
Thank you! I commented and rated The Other Side of the Door. (: Thanks again!
AvengedJasonFold said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm

simon cowell feedback--you asked for it!

ghaaaa it started off SO good!!! so effing good and then you started synopsis-narrating OMFG it was soo good and the closing paragraph was pretty good and what the effing effidy eff eff eff bleeeep eff eff

ok so here's what you need to do. Look at areas in the story where you wrote a summary and either flesh them out with narration or allude to the events.

For instance: "Years of depression and suicidal thoughts led her to believe.... (more »)

hancampbell replied...
Sept. 27, 2010 at 6:32 pm
Thanks so much for the feedback! I'll work on the paragraphs with synopsis. Thanks! (:
DifferentTeen said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Wow! This is defienatly going in my favorites. I love how you describe this, but you don't go into over details. I can relate to her feelings, and her self confidence level. This reminds me of my article Me And My Questions. It's not not exactly the same but you could check it out if you want.

Anyway, amazing job, your a great writer. Keep it up!

hancampbell replied...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm
Thank you! I read and commented Me and My Questions--It's such a great story, and there are so many people (like myself) who can relate(: And you're totally right, our stories are kind of similar! I guess we shy girls think alike, yea? (: 
living4God said...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 8:43 am
Your story is so emotional and I think it was well written :) I like how she has a purity ring because I have one and you never hear aBOUT PROPLEPEOPLE WEARING THEM :)
hancampbell replied...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm
Thanks! And I wear a purity ring, too! What a coincidence(:
Day-Dreamer17 said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm


This is a very powerful piece. You put a lot of emotion into this, and there's some good voice in it.

The things that I thought weren't so great were the "..."s. The way you put the "..."s makes it confusing. And another thing to look at is "When, really, she did." The "When, really, she did." shouldn't be a separate sentence. While I know fragments can be used to show some sort of emotion, in this case there shouldn't be a fragment. It's a little co... (more »)

hancampbell replied...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 7:03 pm
Thank you so much for your feedback! People are always telling me I use fragments and "..." too much; I guess old habits are hard to break, yea? I'll try to omit those guys in the future, haha(: Thanks again for your suggestions! (:
AgnotTheOdd said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Very nice ending.

Im not sure what else to say, its very overwhelming (in a good way)

hancampbell replied...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm
Thank you(:
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