Why Should I Even Try?

A Short Story
Why Should I Even Try?

Let me tell you the story of two students who attend one of the largest high schools in the nation: Centerpoint High. These two students were vastly different, one was studious and hardworking, while the other was a delinquent and could care less for their own education. These students’ names were Dave and Davey and the only thing they had in common was the first four letters of their names.

Davey would get into fights, smoke marijuana in the school restroom, and thought Dave was a nerd with his yellow-framed glasses and short blonde hair. Dave thought Davey was throwing away his life trying to be the coolest and best in high school when he should be focusing on his future.

Before school every day, Dave would arrive early, ready to start his day. Davey would arrive an hour later and bump Dave’s shoulder as he made his way to his desk. After class, he would embarrass Dave by yelling names at him in the hallway and tripping him in the lunch line. Eventually, he got fed up.

The next day, before the bell rang, Dave got up and marched over to the teacher’s desk.

“Mr. VanFoot, Davey has been bullying, harassing, and humiliating me every single day,” Dave said sternly. The teacher looked away from his computer, stared blankly at the child, and nodded his head, his movements sluggish.

“Yeah, sure I’ll figure it out,” the teacher said, slurring his words so they were almost unintelligible and he dragged his eyes back to the computer.

Delighted, believing he had finally won, Dave wore a big smile for the rest of the day, skipping down the halls eagerly waiting for Davey to get a stern talking to by the teacher, or perhaps even the principal Mrs. Isaac. The thought excited him.

The next day, holding on to his boyish excitement, he made his way to VanFoot’s class, greeting Mrs. Isaac on his way as she held up a hand and continued to trudge on, seemingly dragging her feet with her head down low. Dave turned the corner and was right outside the classroom when he was stopped by Davey.

“I heard you wanted me to stop ‘bullying’ you, you’re pathetic. Why don’t you stand up for yourself instead of trying to hide behind adults, loser.” With each word Davey enunciated, a hot ball caught in Dave’s throat. He was about to cry, but if he did then the bullying would never stop.

“W-well, you’re going to get in trouble.In fact, I think I saw Mrs. Isaac on her way down here to send you away to Street View,” Dave said, trying to sound proud.

“You think they’re going to do anything? VanFoot just told me to cut it out and then we started talking about last night’s home game. Do you think anyone cares?” Dave was on the verge of tears.

“Are you going to cry? Go ahead and cry like the little baby everyone knows you are. You’re nothing.” As the final word left Davey’s mouth, Dave’s hands curled into a ball and he swung it into Davey’s face. Mr. VanFoot sprung from his chair full of energy and tackled Dave to the ground. Mrs. Isaac rounded the corner, all signs of weariness gone from her face as she reached down and grabbed Dave by the collar of his shirt and ripped him up from the ground.

“Now what in the world would make you do that? Do you have any excuse for your behavior?” the principal demanded, her voice gathering the rest of the students’ attention that was not already granted from the fight.

“And to think you were one of my best students,” VanFoot said as he hauled himself up from the ground. 

Dave’s face was hot and his knees were heavy. Davey glared at him, dusting off his jeans. He broke down in tears and the principal dragged him to the office to send him home with a letter of expulsion.

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  • P

    Preston MeredithMar 5, 2024 at 10:15 am

    With all due and necessary respect, this is in no means meant to insult your writing ability in any way, this is merely my personal feelings about this article.

    This story is depressing, there is no happy end (which I suppose might be the point) and it just seems like an extreme worst case scenario. Despite being what appears to be a satire, it offers no alternative recommendation to resolve similar situations in the real world. The article also portrays teachers and administrators as incompetent, unhelpful, and unsympathetic. I see this article merely as an empty call for sympathy, without any real effort to make a powerful connection to the reader. While I do believe the issues portrayed in this story are real and pressing issues I believe it could have been more effective if it had more clearly taught a lesson or even suggested an alternate scenario. Perhaps a call to action or follow up article is in the making? I will be watching closely to see what you write about next.

    • T

      Tyler GraceMar 5, 2024 at 2:23 pm

      I fundamentally disagree with this comment. There are no “recommendations” in this piece because that is not the underlying point. This article doesn’t suggest solutions to the problem of this, is points a light on the social and economic climate of modern-day America. So just look deeper here for a second and examine the purpose behind the piece. Maybe, the author has experienced some version of this in their own life. Maybe the author was horrendously bullied and swung on his abuser flipping the situation on its head. I would also like to address the “portrayal” of the staff of central Hardin. Although the subject of bullying is no very serious, from my experience some of the staff at central hardin are in fact insypatheic and incompetent, not by their own volition, but out of exhaustion, perhaps they could get more sleep. The CDC recommends 8+ hours a night for adults which is not a reality for many students and staff. There is no call to action because there is no need for one, the article itself is a call to action by its complex commentary on the state of bulling on today school system. But this is America, and anyone can say what they want about this article, thank you for your consideration.
      Tyler grace
      central hardin high school
      class of 2024

      • N

        Noah MurgaMar 5, 2024 at 2:46 pm

        Tyler I think your disagreement with this reply is unjust and unreasonable. The reason I believe this to be true is that you attack this poor person without even giving any critique or thinking about the feelings of said person also your argument you present are absolutely nothing burgers and are all Stawman arguments 8 hours of sleep?!?!? Scientists have actually researched this and found that it isn’t necessary for someone to be healthy but instead it’s seven hours of sleep. The whole notion of 8 hours of sleep is made by the big corporations trying to get people to spend money on stuff they don’t need like expensive soft beds. America as a whole is no longer America unfortunately and is run by big corporations trying g to steal your money from you. As for ignoring the person’s feelings and not giving critique I would say is very unfounded and you should feel ashamed of yourself and should really look on what brought you to do this. you’re better than this better than just slinging critiques about “Central Hardin Staff” They should be instead called people. The person who made that word knew nothing of the current modern time and is outdated by centuries. I hope you can bring yourself to read this Tyler and learn from your mistakes just like the Italians.
        Noah Murga
        Central Hardin High School
        Class of 2024
        Thank you

    • M

      Matthew MillsMar 7, 2024 at 11:25 am

      Thank you for your comment Preston! I’m happy to have received your feedback as I appreciate all feedback on my work. As you pointed out, the story is depressing, however, my goal was to create a satirical reflection of real life, capturing the incompetence of teachers and staff in reaction to the point of view of a misunderstood victim. However, I completely understand your criticism and am happy to hear from you.