A boy who is bullied at school for being weak and thin teaches the people who once tormented him a valuable lesson in the act of revenge.
Dean and Brady hated Jimmy Patterson. He was such a weed! At 15, he was the tallest boy at school and thin as a string bean, and he couldn't even play basketball. He was all elbows and knees and could hardly walk down the hallway without stumbling.
Dean and Brady went out of their way to trip up Jimmy, to fill his backpack with shaving cream, to knock into him at the cafeteria, and send his lunch flying across the room. Jimmy was a dweeb and a loser, and that was all he'd ever be...
The two cool kids at school | Source: Shutterstock
But life in high school is one thing, and out in the big world, it is another. In high school. Brian and Dean were athletic stars; they were the most popular guys in school and dated all the pretty girls.
Ten years later, they were unrecognizable. They still hung out together, but that was the only thing their lives had in common with their heyday in college. On the verge of turning thirty, they were far from successful.
Brady was a postman, and Dean worked at his father's electronics repair shop -- and it didn't look as if things would be changing anytime soon. The two still lived with their parents, and Saturday night would find them down at the Beer Barrel downing a bucket of suds.
Then one day, something interrupted their small-time lives. Dean was working at the shop when one of the customers, Mrs. Finley, told him the big news. "James Barbell is coming to town! He's opening a gym right here!"
Skinny guy at school | Source: Unsplash
"Barbell? The powerlifter guy who is in that new Dwayne Johnson movie?" asked Dean.
"That's the one! He's so handsome..." sighed Mrs. Finley.
"What brings a guy like that to our town?" asked Dean.
"I think he was raised around here...or in a neighboring town...Imagine that! And now he's state champion and a film star!"
That night at the Beer Barrel, Dean told Brady about James Barbell and the new gym. Brady laughed and scratched at his substantial beer belly. "Gym!" he scoffed, "You won't catch me there!"
The state champion powerlifter | Source: Unsplash
"I don't know..." Dean said, grinning, "All the hot girls will be there, and in those little lycra outfits..."
The two men were laughing coarsely when a voice intruded, "Hey, guys! What's funny?"
They turned around and found themselves face to face with a giant. The man was easily 6"5 and built like a mountain. Dean found himself stammering: "Sir, we were just laughing at a joke, not at you!"
Brady said nervously. "We didn't even notice you... Not," he added hastily, "That you're not noticeable..."
But the big man was smiling. "Guys! Relax! Let me buy you a beer. Bartender," he said, "A beer for Dean, another for Brady, and a virgin spritzer for me!"
Drinking beers at the bar | Source: Unsplash
"How do you know our names?" asked Dean.
The man smiled. "I know you, and you know me."
At that moment, the bartender brought the beers and said: "Hey! You're James Barbell! I loved the movie, man!"
James smiled at the man: "Thanks!"
Brady gasped. "Hey, you were state champion, right? Damn, that's amazing! I wish I were that lucky!"
Working out changed his life | Source: Unsplash
James smiled. "You could be."
Dean scoffed, "Come on, people like you are born, not made -- and let me tell you, I was a good athlete once...!"
"I know," James said, "But you're wrong about me. And you, of all people, should know what I was like in high school."The two men looked at James in surprise as he continued: "It's me, Jimmy Patterson, guys, don't you recognize me?"
Dean gasped. "Jimmy Spaghetti? Are you serious?"
Brady started laughing. "Man, remember that time we stuffed you in the garbage can?" then he stopped laughing, "Listen, you...You're not out for revenge, are you? It was all for fun..."
Becoming a champion | Source: Unsplash
James shook his head. "No, I'm not into revenge. My life is all about the positive. Listen, remember when I was transferred to your school? My mother had just died, and I was in a bad place."
The two men glanced at each other and looked away, ashamed. James continued: "My dad was my rock, and in the last year of high school, he encouraged me to go to the gym after he found me crying over you guys calling me Jimmy Spaghetti."
"So I did, and you know what? It changed my life. After high school, I went to college and got into powerlifting, and you know how that turned out. Then I started a gym with my dad, then another."
"Now I have 22 gyms statewide, and after the movie, they want me to extend the chain to California. What about you guys?"
I'm a postman | Source: Unsplash
Dean shrugged: "I'm working at my dad's store...I was married, but things didn't work out..."
"What about you, Brady?" asked James.
Brady blushed. "I'm a postman, still single."
"Hey," said James, "You guys are the lifeblood of the nation! 'Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night,' right?"
"yes, but sometimes..." Brady shook his head.
A repair man at his father's shop | Source: Unsplash
"Listen," James said, "I want you guys to join my gym. Here..." James reached into his pocket and pulled out two gold cards. "These are honorary membership cards. You get a full year's free unrestricted membership."
"Thanks, James," said Dean picking up his card.
Brady smiled gratefully, "Yes, thanks a lot!"
"Look, try it. Believe me, once your body starts to get into shape, you'll feel like new men." James said, "And I should know!"
At that moment, the most beautiful woman they had ever seen walked up to James and kissed him. "Hey, there, stranger! I'm looking for my fiancé..."
Change your body, change your life | Source: Unsplash
James kissed her back, then turned to Dean and Brady. "Sorry guys, I have to go, but use those cards!"
But they never did. James asked the manager months later if the two men had been and were disappointed with the answer. Dean and Brady still hang out at the Beer Barrel and complain about their lives, but they never do anything about it.
What can we learn from their story?
1. You can change your life. With his father's encouragement, Jimmy transformed his body, gained confidence, and became a successful man.
2. Don't discriminate against people because they are different. Dean and Brady thought that because Jimmy was thin and 'weak,' he was a loser, but they were wrong.
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Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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