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Charlie Brown · 23 October 2011


“Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?” asks The Coasters’ song of the late 1950s. I always thought the song was talking about the Charlie Brown from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. But now, I think they were talking about me because I hear the rhythmic refrain in my head every time I get picked on.


For some inexplicable reason, people who have known me even for only a few moments seem to think that I need to get picked on. And those who have known me for a long time have a need to razz me. Apparently, there is something about me that just begs to have mischief thrown my way. Always. It is like I have a target on my forehead that says, “Pick on me.”


Now before I get too far, I hope nobody thinks I am trying to get people to feel sorry for me or that I am calling for the end of harassing poor pitiful me. Quite the contrary. I like attention. Even if it is people lambasting me for my character traits.


While people could taunt me for a myriad of character flaws, one of the biggest reasons people pick on me is because I like to eat. My wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi thinks that I will eat anything. Including dog food. And everybody seems to know that I am a Human Garbage Disposal. Consequently, people give me leftovers (unless my brother, Russell, is around). Or when there are treats, people get in line before me. They need not worry though, as I rarely eat the last piece until after I ask everybody three times (another story altogether) if somebody else would like it. Unless, of course, it is my birthday pie.


Recently, somebody has been bringing treats to work for lunch. There have been homemade pumpkin cupcakes, homemade chocolate cupcakes, and most recently, two commercial sheet cakes – one chocolate, one white. The bringers of the homemade goodies have made it a point to insist I take at least two. It was easy to oblige because they were so yummy. (Thankfully, they were on different days.) And when there were still pumpkin cupcakes left, Chelsea, the baker, did not need to twist my arm to take a third. (I did leave the last chocolate one because I thought others might not have had firsts yet.)


When the two sheet cakes came, I cut the chocolate one. People complained of my method wondering why I was cutting them so small. It was a bit surreal to think that I, the big eater with little regard for taste (according to my wife), was cutting pieces of cake that were too small for everybody else. Others wondered whether it met my standards, apparently not knowing my lack of discernment for fine foods (again, according to my wife). There were digs and jibes (some even directed away from me) throughout the eating of the cake. For at least one of my coworkers (and avid readers), it was like dessert and a show. And fuel for the writing machine.


I am glad that I can provide such great entertainment for my family, friends, and coworkers just by being the object of ridicule. People smile and enjoy themselves around me because they know I can take their jests and not be hurt by them. I may not really have a target on my forehead that say, “Pick on me,” but I suppose if I keep having the Coasters Charlie Brown song in my head, it probably ought to be changed to: “I must like everybody always pickin’ on me.”

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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