A writer. A human. A carbivore.
When I was in second grade, I remember feeling mortified when a boy on the bus ride home one day not only made fun of the pretty purple bows my mom had placed in my hair to match the pretty purple flowers in my dress, but had also called me a “carrot top.”
I’m not sure why I took such offense to the now (and then) archaic derogatory name used for redheads (now, of course, we’re gingers). But at the time, it seemed like the worst thing anyone could ever call me (how naive I was).
I swallowed my tears until the bus driver screeched open the door at my stop. Once I reached home, I began crying to my mother about this awful name this boy called me.
“Well that’s just stupid,” my mother said. “Doesn’t he know the tops of carrots are green? You should tell him that.”
That settled it. The next time I got on the bus, I decided I would tell this boy that the tops of carrots are actually green.
The next day, the boy spotted me on the bus and took the seat right in front of me with his little cronies. He was hoping he would offend me by commenting on how dumb my pigtails looked and using that offensive term again: “Carrot top.”
I just smiled. In my strongest, most confident voice, I said, “Actually, the tops of carrots are green.” I shot the boy a look that let him know that I didn’t care what he called me, and that I also knew he had nothing to say to that.
And he didn’t. He turned around and sat in his seat, embarrassed.
It was the most amazing feeling, having the power to silence someone with just a few words. I’ve had moments throughout my life where I’ve come close to achieving this feeling again, but no defeat was ever as sweet as this first one.