Remember me? The girl who turned all your friends against you in seventh and eighth grade? The one who orchestrated daily loogie hockings to a chorus of “You’re so ugly?” Remember how I waited to pounce every time you answered a question correctly in class, with a tsk-ing noise and a hissed, “Smart!” or “Big words,” my mocking tone haunting you well into your thirties?
Well, I’m back, baby, thanks to Facebook’s “People You May Know” feature. You never would have found my profile, given that I now go by my very common married name — I’m a traditional wife and mother, not one of these keep-my-name feminist types like you — but Facebook, in its algorithm’s infinite wisdom, has brought me to you. Now you can scour my profile for hints that I’ve led the tortured existence of poverty and despair that all the adults in your life, back when I was tormenting you, promised I’d end up living.
Sure, my cover photo of a sunset and palm trees with an American flag flapping in the breeze is clichéd and poorly framed, and I get why a latte-drinking elite such as yourself might smirk. My profile photo of my two adult daughters in Pepto-Bismol pink bridesmaid dresses doesn’t reveal much, though I’ll bet Tiffany, the one who looks like me, sent a little shiver down your spine. But dig deeper into the public parts of my profile, the photos, the comments, and a picture will emerge that contradicts all those soothing stories your mother told you about how I’d end up slinging fast food for the rest of my life.
You see, I’m quite well off. Wealthy, even. We have a McMansion just outside of Orlando and a vacation house in Vero Beach. We have a boat, travel a lot, go to fancy restaurants and parties in gold leaf-painted, faux-marble function halls — and of course, COVID hasn’t stopped us, because it’s all a hoax. It turns out I have LOTS more money than you do, because I am the kind of person who gets ahead in this toxic iteration of capitalism. Then again, I was smart enough not to saddle myself with loan debt from three degrees in English literature. Honestly, for a girl everyone, including jealous little ‘ol me, thought was so smart, you’re really kind of dumb. BTW, one of those function halls was at Mar-a-Lago. MAGA!
Yes, there are a few things in my profile you might derive some petty satisfaction from. I never grasped the whole your/you’re and their/there/they’re thing, and I use the wrong one pretty much every time. And I’m as generous with apostrophes as I am with a salt shaker. But you know what? No one in my life cares! And if they do, they don’t say anything because they want to be invited out on our boat.
Sure, when you finally found a photo of me on my page — there deliberately aren’t many — and saw what I now look like, you experienced a frisson of delight. I’ll admit that I haven’t aged well in this Florida sun, and you look younger than I do, except, of course, for those worry lines caused by your student loans, your inability to afford even a small condo in the greater Boston area. But your fucked-up touchy-feely thinking won’t even allow you to enjoy the fact that I, the girl who called you “ugly” so often that you believed it until you were 40, am the less attractive one now, because as a feminist, you think women shouldn’t be judged by their looks. Oh, to see the internal struggle you must be going through — the delight that my exterior now matches my black-hearted interior, immediately tamped down by guilt that it’s cruel and anti-feminist and possibly ageist to judge me for my appearance. Look at where your expensive liberal arts education got you — you can’t even allow yourself a helping of schadenfreude at seeing your junior high school bully look like shit! Such a waste, snowflake.
This is the part where a bleeding heart like you expects me to say that I’m sorry I was so mean to you, that being a mom I now get it, and regret the pain I caused you. Nope! If I had known the kind of baby-killing, gun-banning liberal you’d turn out to be, I would have kicked your ass even harder. And FYI, my daughters were never bullied because we carry pistols everywhere — the girls were packing by sixth grade.
So go ahead, stare at my profile, show that photo of Marjorie Taylor Greene and me to your live-in boyfriend (too bad he won’t put a ring on it!) and yuk it up. I know you secretly wish you had the spare time I have to chase down the latest Q theories, but you’re continually saddled with so many papers to grade. While you pursue your near poverty-inducing life of the mind, I’m pumping so much money into Trump’s re-election campaign that I’ll be the next Secretary of Education in 2024. Then I’ll kinda be your boss.