9 out of 10 Lesters are awful (in my estimation of course)

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet? really ? would it?

is a name really just a name?

yea I know it’s more than likely a coincidence but I have to say again

9 out of 10 Lesters are awful. If it sounds like I’m judging it’s because I’m judging.

okay so anyway…

Each August my step dad -a retired 5th grade teacher- would thoroughly survey his incoming class roster. He said several years after becoming seasoned educator that he could instantaneously spot particular the red flags. He swore there were trigger names and reviewing the list of students in his newest class he made a habit of remarking on each.

that one is gonna be a problem


this one will be fine

Whether it was a self fulfilling prophecy or something thing more he was generally spot on. Surely he could not have been the only teacher to perform this ritual-

– I’m guessing some still do.

Just like after teacher assignments are sent out-for days until Summer’s end the kids are out there investigating their situations

‘Who’d ya get ?’

‘Oh you had him/her? Are they nice ? Give a lot of homework ?’

I expect teachers do the something similar

‘Who’d ya get?’

‘Oh you had the brother/sister? Are they problematic ? Give of tons of grief ?’

Okay okay so maybe that isn’t something teachers discuss among themselves anymore- not PC or something- but I imagine inwardly it is still today- very much a thing.

But really what’s in a name ? In my personal experience ….gajillions.

Yea yea I know we’re not supposed to do that- I mean we should give everyone the benefit of the doubt

okay then- yep Lester…prove me wrong.

Not an easy task – especially since we as human beings tend to carry our history around with us like a beaten up old suitcase ( well I ‘ve been known to anyway) and sometimes it can get mighty heavy

Mine is only about three quarter’s maximum capacity but let me tell you that thing sings full length operas about the people I’ve met along the way and the life lessons they’ve taught me. Some are good – great even and I treasure the memories they left me with. sometimes I’ll unpack a few and relive those moments that have brought me mountains of joy.

….and then there is a parcel or two that needs to stay buried deep in the case…like in that underneath compartment that buckles securely to make sure that nothing falls out from inside of it.

That’s where I store what I refer to as the Lester chronicles.

In the beginning Lester started as genuinely Lester. He was my 5th grade nemesis who made the puny 1o year old semiatomic’s life’s remarkably unpleasant.

You see I was a small- beyond shy girl who made every bully’s dream come true. I was an easy peasey target who was intimidated by something as simple as an uncooperative pencil sharpener. (who remembers when pencil sharpeners were a classroom fixture? meeeeee!!!!!!)

So any aggressor’s work was pretty much done for him or him as far as I went. For the consummate tormentor I was hardly even worth it. I was the appetizer before the real challenges…the kids who’d at least pretend to put up a fight.

But Lester just couldn’t resist. he emotionally busted me up for the sport of it any chance he got- which was kinda all the time.

He gave me a ‘pet name’ which quickly caught on with almost the entire class and soon I was no longer semiatomic I was reduced to ‘super snail’

Honestly I don’t know why he chose that label. I guess I walked slow or something but hey at least I was ‘super’ at it.

It really made me feel small and humiliated. mission accomplished Les

Two or so years later we moved away and super snail ended up in the suitcase but I never forgot about her.

Fast forward to my late teens…lo and behold I met another person who’s given name was actually Lester. I find this sort of weird because I’m not from a generation where it is not exactly a common name. I think of Lester as a tough 1930something Jimmy Cagney type ( tough because with a name like that one would have to be- right?) But anyway I meet another and turns out he too is a real jerk. Luckily for me by then I’d shed my shy demeanor as I was full on my way to trying to become a ‘real’ actress – by real I mean one who earns a living by acting.

*sidenote: eventually I did end up getting some work in the industry- tootin’ my own horn here.

But anyway let’s face it you can’t be shy and a real actress- those two things don’t exactly go together so when Lester #2 crossed my path I was far more ready. at first meeting he’d asked me out and I – though kind about it- said ‘no- thanks just the same.’ Well from there he took the ball and ran with with it. His behavior showed me he was a terrible person while making me a stronger one. Lester said things to me that were the absolute worst, horrible- hurtful things. I’d go somewhere and find he’d just sort of coincidentally show up at the very same place at the very same time. When he finally realized there was no persuading me to change my mind he began to get really ugly. He tried his best to smear my name to anyone he thought was interested in hearing what he had to say and other unplesantries so….into the case he went.

Since then I’ve met both male and female persons who have similar qualities to the Lesters

My inside voice refers to those people accordingly.

As a full on ‘grown-up’ I find it preposterous that people can and will be mean just for the sake of it. Okay maybe they had unhappy childhoods..maybe they have unhappy adulthoods maybe they’re unsatisfied… embittered – whatever…IF you’re going to run about taking all your negativity and pour it on to someone else it’s nothing more than a complete waste of energy because afterwards you’ll still have those bad feelings and all you’ll have accomplished is paying em’ forward.

Look I get not everyone is nice not everyone is going to treat me with the same respect ….compassion… decency etc that I try to exhibit to them. I’m not a sap -it’s just that I just try to be a good person- until someone gives me reason not to be. But these Lesters are just impossible- it’s something I live with but I refuse to accept. There’s enough hostility and madness going on in the world without adding a whole other brand of crazy to it.

The other day while perusing Facebook I saw a status that both shocked and saddened me. It was made by someone I’d gone to elementary school with- she posted ‘Today I lost a good and kind friend, RIP Lester.’

Yes, THAT Lester. The Lester that christened me super snail and bullied and teased me until some days I’d go home and cry for hours and hope my tears would drown me.

THAT Lester who through the magic of Facebook had connected with me ( he friended me seeing we had mutual other friends from grades 1-7) and I just figured what the heck he can’t bully me no more. and I even laughed at my own reply when he asked in a FB message who I am

‘you know me- I’m super snail’

‘oh ahaaaaa…er… uh… hmmm… we were just kids’ ( I took that to be an apology and welcomed it)

THAT Lester. He’s gone and it makes me feel sad but also happy knowing that he finally became ‘good’ and ‘kind’

The day I read her post I learned something. I learned he maybe turned out the 1 out of 10 Lesters that grew up to not be awful.

RIP Lester rest in peace.

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