There was a little girl named Wendy who lived near me when we were in elementary school. She was sweet and well groomed and very popular. I was not so much of those. Nonetheless Wendy would invite me to her house, where we would eat a peculiar delicacy: Wonderbread, with the crusts cut off, rolled into little balls. I can’t tell you how delicious these were to an 10-year-old raised in a whole-wheat-bread-only household. Her stay-at-home mother was pretty and kind. The house was sunny and bland.
I liked Wendy. I really did. So I have no idea why I created a pencil-and-paper newspaper dedicated to chronicling how horrible she was. It was several pages long and had satirical drawings of Wendy picking her nose (which I never saw her actually do) or wearing ugly clothes (ditto). I showed this hatemongering rag to our mutual classmates, and eventually it came to the attention of my fourth-grade teacher. It was only when my teacher confronted me that I had a moment of clarity, or rather confusion. Why on earth had I done such a vicious thing to someone so blameless? I really couldn’t answer Miss Butcher (her real name).
Looking back, I suppose it must have been envy for Wendy’s Wonderbread existence: the pretty clothes, the clean house, the nice mother, the processed food—and maybe even the social courage she showed in inviting a girl of lesser status to her home.