King of the losers
This was written as part of a "World's Biggest Loser" challenge between Shappy and myself at the October 2000 Wam Bam Poetry Slam at Mad Bar, Chicago. I won the challenge, which I think means I actually lost the challenge.
When I was a kid I was the guy all the other losers would try to avoid. "Here comes Pettus," they'd groan, packing up their D&D equipment and running off to the black-light section of Spencer Gifts. Other nerds would get beat up on the playground, get called faggot on the bus on the way home from school. But not me. The jocks would take one look at me and mutter to themselves in their beefy, sub-intelligent voices, "Too easy. Too pathetic." And there I would stand, alone, clutching my two-foot-high pile of books even when there was no danger of them being knocked out of my hands.
Being king of the losers upset me at first. I would come up to my mother in tears, saying "Why do they hate me? Is it because they are jealous of my abilities, mother? Will I one day grow up to be the thing they'll always wish for but never receive?" But my mother would just shake her head and say, "Stop whining, you crybaby. And stop calling me mother. You're really starting to creep me out."
So, king of the losers I became. Dogs growled at me on the sidewalk, and babies peed on me when I tried to hold them. My name was turned into a verb - when the film projector would break in science class, the teacher would shake his head and say, "The damn thing's been Pettusized again."
News of my loserdom started traveling. Poor, simple farmers from neighboring towns would show up at my door, asking me to heal their sick children by blessing them with my magic touch. But every time I tried it, all the kid would receive was the uncanny ability to no longer talk to the opposite sex. The blessed children would always return, years later, and beat the crap out of me. "And this is for the chess club, Pettus! And this one's for having to go to Prom with my sister, ya fuckin' loser!"
Finally I gave up. I decided to embrace my loser status. I hung a sign around my neck at all times, proclaiming "Caution! Do not come near me. I am unclean." Instead of avoiding my loser activities I began clutching to them. I started writing poetry, and it wasn't loserish enough so I started performing them for rooms full of strangers. Any time women approached me I would say, "Thank you for being interested in me, but I know from past experience that you will just end up hating me, so let me save us both some time and just awkwardly ask you to go home with me now."
And embracing my coveted role as king of the losers worked. It worked big time. When I was 27 years old I received a Nobel Prize for it. I have eaten with kings, consulted with presidents, gave a private tutorial to Corey Feldman on how to be an even bigger fuckin' loser than he already is. Psst, Corey, why don't you grow your hair long and star in an endless series of straight-to-video erotic thrillers? I hear that can really jumpstart a career.
Yes, I'm king of the losers and I'm proud to be king of the losers. My parents no longer speak to me, and my place of business built an entire sister office in Schaumburg just so no one would have to work with me. One day I will die of loseritis, forever known afterwards as "Jason Pettus Disease." And they will construct an eighty-foot-high obelisk at my grave and etch on its side "HERE LIES THE BIGGEST FUCKING LOSER WHO EVER LIVED." And rowdy teenage boys will break into the cemetery on Saturday nights and pee on my grave, to the squeals of delight from their trashy girlfriends. "That's it, Billy Bob! Piss on that dead loser! Piss on him real good!" I'll be famous. I'll be canonized by the pope and declared the patron saint of losers worldwide. And then you'll all be sorry, motherfuckers!
Copyright 2000, Jason Pettus. All rights reserved.