reddit: Writing Prompt - 4th Grade Cult Status

(Author's Note: the website reddit has a subreddit called Writing Prompts. Users suggest a topic and writers write.  I decided to try it.  The prompt for this story was:  
 I realize now that I didn't fully read the prompt or fully remember it. Doesn't matter, I wrote this below.

4th Grade Cult Status

I wasn't trying to avoid the six work emails I had to write. But I was finding other things to keep my mind off not thinking about thinking about it. So the bills were paid. Desktop clean. Computer desktop clean. Fuzz from mouse removed. Into the bin. Trash bin emptied. Computer trash can emptied. Email maintenance! Delete and sort. Sort and delete. Hey... the junk email folder. I don't think I've ever cleaned that out. Open.

1,500 emails. Hours of work avoidance!

The junk emails seemed to be from many of the same websites, so sorting by FROM made it easy to get rid of 85% of them. For a moment, I almost clicked on DELETE ALL, but I didn't and kept sorting through. I found an email with a code for a game I hadn't played in months. No expiration date... move to INBOX. Already this was worth it.


That email looked important. I'm not sure why my junk folder swallowed it. It was dated from eight years ago! Scanning, my eye caught the word "tits" in the username "TitsMcG33." My computer sees tits and it goes right in the junk folder.

The email said that my account on some website had not been used in four years and my account would be frozen. I did not recognize the website, though I do remember that TitsMcG33 or some variation of it was my go to username when I was younger. I did the math in my head. And then I did it again. Twelve years ago? I would have been in 4th grade? That seems awfully young to be using the word tits. Now I was curious.

I clicked the link and it failed to open. I went directly to the website and it was like seeing a 90s movie version of a website. Three colors. Lots of text. No images...

And then it hit me... fourth grade. That would have been when moved to the new house. Mom and dad were gone for work a lot then and grandma watched us, or didn't watch us, as we had free rein all over the internet. My brother got busted downloading music and the computers were locked down with parental software after that. That might be why I didn't log back into this site.

On a whim, I searched for "titsmcg33" in the area that had the only photo on the site, a magnifying glass.

Three million results. Three million plus results for the word titsmcg33.

I clicked the first one: "I'm not sure what I would have done without him."
Further down the page: "Hero doesn't even begin to describe him. 
What guidance will he provide next week?"
Later: "The answers were hidden right in front of me, but he made me see them."

Result after result. Hero. Genius. Savior? Some dated from ten years ago. Some from last week. Each one praising me. Idolizing me. After reading through some of the comments, I noticed they were referring to me as TMG33, probably to hide the tits part. When I searched for TMG33 on the site, there were eight million more results.

This was insane.

It finally hit me to sort by date, and in the oldest results I found my posts. There were five of them. A list of words in each one. They all went something like this:

Reading them now, the words seemed like some cryptic poetry. Each set of words, some kind of secret roadmap to happiness. I re-read the words and did start to feel their hidden meaning. That maybe things weren't so bad. That I could be a better person if only I tried harder. There was some kind of greater good in the world!

Panthers. Panthers? What deep meaning did this word have with all the others?

And then I remembered. Panthers was our grade school mascot. And in grade school, in fourth grade, when I didn't know any better and didn't have really anything to say on the internet, I posted my spelling words on a website. And without an explanation, people created their own meaning.

And I became a god.

My Glasses

Nine years ago I went to an eye appointment. I am nearsighted (slightly blind) and wear contacts. I also wear glasses when I’m not wearing the contacts. Because I do not wear my glasses out in public, I really do not care what the frames look like. So when the sales lady at the glasses store pointed me towards the $150 frames which were next to the $250 frames, I pointed at the small rack of forgotten, dusty frames in the corner.

“How much are those frames?”

“Those? Um, they vary. The prices are marked on a sticker on the arm.”

I found a pair for $40. “I’ll take them.” She was not impressed.

My wife was not impressed either when I brought them home a few weeks later. But I didn’t care. I only would wear them in the mornings for a few minutes.

So for nine years my glasses have gathered dust, worn only five or six times a year. I was actually hoping that if I waited long enough, they might come back in fashion.

But then we put a television in our bedroom and everything has changed. I’ll put the sleep timer on the television and fall asleep to thirty minutes of Comedy Central. To do so, I must wear my glasses. Most the time, I remove them at the last minute before falling asleep. Other times I wake up in the middle of the night with them still on and I remove them. And sometimes I find them in the bed or on the floor the next morning.

Six months ago I found them in the bed and on the floor. Like a mother panda, I rolled over on my glasses in the middle of the night and they broke at the bridge. I tried to glue them, but there wasn’t enough material and there was too much torque for them to hold. I tried watching TV at night with one side held down to the side of my head by gravity and the other held up, wedged between my head and the pillow. That worked as long as I didn’t move which didn’t work at all.

Miss Sally suggested on several occasions that I should get new frames and that she would go with me this time to help me decide (i.e. pick them out for me.) I said I would, but never have… because I fixed my glasses!

Using a brightly colored pencil with smiley faces on it and tape, I MacGyver-ize them back into perfect working order.

Here is a photo of them:

Just like new!!

I have only made it downstairs with these on a few times when I didn't want to put my contacts in. And they have only been outside once when I went to get the mail. My neighbor was mowing his lawn and did not look up to see me.

I am surprised that Miss Sally has not thrown them in the trash. She broke our honored oath of marriage when she mentioned the glasses to a co-worker which is why I am posting this now. I think Miss Sally realizes that the only way go get me to buy new frames is to watch me embarrass myself to the general public.

So here you go:

New glasses? Who needs new glasses! These work just fine.

I'm thinking about sharpening the pencil so that I can write down and remember my very special dreams.