I have an old fill-in-the-blank book called The Book About Me and Where I Live, meant to be customized by the child, and it still doesn’t describe me as well as Munro Leaf’s The Story of Ferdinand.
All the other bulls act competitive, threatening, and ready to get violent. Not Ferdinand. He’d rather sit quietly by himself smelling the flowers. Even when he’s shipped off to the bullfighting arena (his reaction to being stung by a bee having been mistaken for fierceness), he refuses to engage in violence and lets the—you should pardon the expression—bullies grow bored and leave him alone.
That was, and is, me: not very masculine, not interested in fighting. In middle school, when bullies knocked me off my bike after school and continued hitting me (near where Jason Cardini hung out, and where he killed a Muscovy duck by throwing rocks at it—I can’t remember if he was involved in this incident), I wordlessly got back on my feet, mounted my bike, and eventually managed to ride away. I had no interest in fighting back. I’d rather just sit and quietly smell the flowers.