Humans logo

Dim Bulb

What goes around...

By Mark GagnonPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
Dim Bulb
Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

Everyone thought of Marty as a dim bulb. When talking about him, people would use descriptors like: not the sharpest knife in the draw, lights are on but nobody’s home, nice guy but not playing with a full deck. His reputation for being not quite with it started when he began his freshman year of high school.

Marty’s father was transferred from rural Montana to Darien, Connecticut, the wealthiest city in the state. Marty’s life went from wandering the mountains and pastures surrounding his home, alone on horseback, to being constantly surrounded by snooty rich kids whose parents or their driver transported them everywhere. The continuous din of humanity drove Marty to take shelter inside his own mind.

His self-absorbed peers quickly realized the new kid wasn’t into the latest fads or electronic games, didn’t play sports, responded to questions with single sentences or one-word answers and was boring to be around. In their minds, Marty epitomized the definition of a dim bulb and treated him with disdain. The leader of the anti-Marty click was Catherine Jacobs.

Maybe it was because the boy didn’t fall in line with the rest of her sycophants, or maybe she had a secret crush on the handsome newcomer, but for whatever her reason, Catherine never missed an opportunity to pick on Marty. She would deliberately set him up to be the center of attention, knowing how much he detested it. Then she would pepper him with questions about what it was like to live in the wilderness. Normally, Marty would respond to such questions with one of his usual, “It was fine,” or “quiet,” before walking away.

During one such encounter, Marty reached his abuse limit. Catherine was being her usual egocentric self. She mockingly asked him if people who lived in Montana knew what indoor plumbing was? Marty stretched to his full height, stared directly into her eyes and replied with as much disdain as he could muster, “We do not need plumbing of any sort. We ship all our waste to Connecticut, where it’s eaten by people like you.” He turned and walked away. Catherine stood stunned, aghast by the unexpected rebuke. She left him alone after that day.

It was the last month of his senior year before Catherine and Marty spoke again. All his classmates were abuzz about the colleges and universities they had been accepted to. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Cornell were the top tier schools most of them would attend in the fall. The estranged adversaries were standing beside each other during class change when Catherine, in a snooty voice, said, “I got accepted to Yale. They have the greatest parties there. Of course, I doubt we’ll ever see each other after graduation. What junior college will you be going to?”

“I’ve decided not to go to college.” Marty proudly replied. “I enjoy working with my hands and will apprentice as an electrician after graduation. Eventually, I want to start a business of my own. What will you be majoring in at Yale?”

“Oh, liberal arts I suppose, but I’m really looking for my Mrs. degree. I’ll find a rich husband and be taken care of for the rest of my life. He shouldn’t be hard to find with my looks. Good luck Mr. Handyman,” as she gave him a pitying look and walked away.

Twenty-five years passed before Marty and Catherine saw each other again. Marty walked through the department store where several of his employees were updating the wiring. He heard a vaguely familiar voice call his name from behind a counter. The woman that called him stepped into view. It took a minute, but he finally recognized her. “Catherine, is that you? You’re working here?” he asked, staring at her name tag.

“Well, who else would it be, Marty? Yes, I’ve managed this department for the last five years. Ever since my third husband figured out how to stop paying me alimony and daddy’s inheritance ran out. How have you been?”

“I’m great! I own a business with fifty employees, and my wife and I just celebrated our twentieth anniversary. Well, I have to go check on my guys. Maybe I’ll see you at the class reunion. Take care Catherine.”

Once out of earshot, Marty had to say, “What a Dim Bulb!”


About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.