I received this e-mail titled “My mega disappointment” this morning:
“Dear Little Miss Manners. All of these decades I have lived with the illusion that I, Rick Clarke, was your secret crush. Now I have been outed in public that it was Billy Nelson, not I. Oh what shall I do?”
IF you had been to the reunion AND read THE PROGRAM THAT EVERYONE IN ATTENDANCE RECEIVED you would know what I wrote: “Secret CrushES – (I would never have admitted it then) Bill Nelson’s falsetto and sense of humor, Rick(y) Clarke – cute, tall and kind“.
IF you had been to the reunion YOU WOULD HAVE HEARD Mike Bewley read (with a wry smile) the afore-mentioned program, using the microphone booming out for all to hear emphasizing “RICK CLARKE TALL, CUTE & KIND and BILL . . . having a sense of humor . . .)
If you had been to the reunion YOU would have heard me ask YOU and Bill to come to the podium where I would declare, IN PUBLIC, my undying secret crush on YOU SINCE GRADE SCHOOL . . . and Bill.
If you had been at the reunion you would have seen me look longingly around the room, waiting for you to rush to the podium, but hearing instead an anonymous voice call out “Rick’s not here.” Being the consummate professional, I continued, never showing my hurt and disappointment that again I wasn’t even important enough to you to come to the reunion to see me.
If you had been to the reunion YOU would have seen how EMBARRASSED BILL was, possibly indicating he never crushed me back and was disturbed by the thought that I, instead of Kay Wester adored him . . . further devastating my fragile psyche, and denying me the fall back position of focusing on YOU.
(Charlotte too declared her secret crush to be Bill – thank goodness she never told him in high school or I would have been COMPLETELY devastated to watch BOTH a secret crush and a secret jealousy be boyfriend and girlfriend and get married and attend the reunion as husband and wife further wounding me for the rest of the time I have here on Earth).
If you had been to the reunion YOU would know that since you spurned me FIRST, and scarred me for a lifetime I have ever more been too frightened to tell anyone I had a crush on them, thus denying me the REMOTE pleasure and knowledge, that it might have been humanly possible for any male, much less Bill, to crush me back . . . instead of them always yearning after Kay Wester and Charlotte Mills.
If you had been to the reunion YOU would know that I adored you FIRST since GRADE SCHOOL before I ever met Bill Nelson. But because you spurned me I had to turned my sights to Bill since he AT LEAST spent time with me in High School whereas you completely ignored me. (I admit though that Bill damaged me more than you since he kept my hope up longer by spending time with me).
If you had been to the reunion and had taken the time to come and SEE ME YOU would not be wallowing in self-pity, hurt feelings and otherwise unbecoming behavior for a grown MAN, which you were not when I had my crush on you.
And so, my dearest Rick,
Please be comforted to know YOU will always be in my heart
as the FIRST to ignore me.
*True Story, in addition to the above TRUE story:
When I was in grade school (with Ricky Clark) I had Rudyard Kipling’s poem IF in a frame hanging in my bedroom. Haven’t a clue how I got it but NOW (thanks to Rick) I realize it was to portend things to come:
Here’s the last stanza which use to read over and over trying to understand how it applied to me. (true)
“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, (yup, all the way until senior year in college)
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, (yup, still common)
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, (Rick Clarke and Bill Nelson – probably Kay and Charlotte too)
If all men count with you, but none too much: (NOW that’s the truth, I never got TOO much from Bill or Rick)
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, (been running toward forgiveness for 60 YEARS)
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!” (Maybe that’s why I’m so confused . . .)
Full Disclosure & Disclaimer AGAIN . . .:
- I did have a framed poem IF, by Kipling on my bedroom wall and pondered it.
- Names have STILL NOT been changed as NO one, any longer, is innocent.
- Small details may not be 100% accurate as research indicates that time can affect memory and the reunion was (can’t remember how many) days ago.
- And FINALLY Still! No apologies to anyone I might have offended.
**P.S. Rick, I can NOT find one picture of you to post to PROVE I had great taste, even at such a young age, and you were indeed CUTE and TALL. IF you are still cute and tall please send me a picture.