Cody was from Texas. That was a particular point of pride. He knew how the rest of the world viewed Texans, but, like most Texans, he didn’t care.
Moving from Kerrville, Texas for Toronto, Ontario, Canada for his senior year in high school was culture shock. Cody simply didn’t fit in. Then again, he didn’t even try. While everyone in his class was listening to Drake and Arcade Fire, Cody refused to give up Jerry Jeff Walker and Robert Earl Keen.
The differences didn’t go unnoticed by his classmates. Tormenting the boy from the land of Dubya became a favorite school activity. Despite their best efforts, Cody stood tall. It helped that he was far and away the best athlete on the football team. Of course, playing in Toronto, Cody figured, that wasn’t saying much.
In the Spring of the year, right before graduation, most of the guys of the graduating class decided to go on an overnight camping trip. They made sure Cody was invited. Cody’s mom took it as a sign he’d finally become part of the group. Cody, however, had been hunting enough to know a trap when he saw one. Despite his hesitation, he let his mom talk him into going along.
The campground was beautiful. It set on a sandy shore of Lake Kashabog. To Cody’s surprise, most of the guys knew very little about camping. They were more interested in partying. As they commenced celebrating, Cody scouted the area. He returned to camp just in time for the panic.
“What d’ya mean you forgot toilet paper?”
“I thought you were bringing it.”
“What’r we gonna do now?”
“Relax, I saw something ya’ll could use,” said Cody, “round ‘bout twenty yards down the trail. Ya’ll can’t miss it. It stands a couple feet tall, three good size leaves. Nature’s toilet paper.”
That night the guys threw Cody and his gear in the lake. He didn’t retaliate. When he got home his mom asked him about the trip. Cody just smiled.
At graduation Cody was the only one not violently scratching. A teacher approached him.
“What happened on the trip,” she asked.
Cody shrugged. “These boys may have a high school diploma, but they know nuthin’ ‘bout poison ivy.”