Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined


By @JNichols

Full Short Story

Once upon a time there was a kid named Jeffrey. Actually, I should be more specific because in his town, all the kids were named Jeffrey. But, there’s more. Not only the kids were named Jeffrey, EVERYONE in the town was named Jeffrey. Even the TOWN was named Jeffrey (They considered calling it ‘Jeffreyville,’ but no one knew how to spell it). 

There was one kid that wasn’t named Jeffrey, his name was Hate. Everyone hated hate; Oh, not the person, the idea. That’s why noone understood why Hate’s name wasn’t Jeffrey. Hate was the nicest person anyone in Jeffrey had ever met. The unfortunate thing was that most of the townsfolk never took the time to meet him, because Hate was the one person who had a different name.

This particular story is about a 12 year old boy named Jeffrey who likes playing name games. He has an older brother, a mom, and a dad. He is kind of tallish and never wears collared shirts because he doesn’t like them. This is different than most of the people in Jeffrey, since collared shirts make a nice, easy way to hang their name tags. His two closest friends are Jeffrey (the one who is the star of the baseball team) and Jeffrey (the one who draws dragons really well).

On his way to Jeffery Middle School, Jeffrey realized he forgot his homework for Mr. Jeffrey, his science teacher. He ran back to his house and got the homework from his mom, Jeffrey (she works from home as a computer programmer). With his homework now in hand, Jeffrey made it to the bus just in time to see it pull away. Looks like he would be walking today. 

Because he had to walk, he missed attendance. That’s why it took him a while to notice his best friend, Jeffrey, the short one that loves baseball, and his other close friend, Jeffrey the magnificent artist, were absent. It seems he was going to have to sit alone today at lunch. This made him feel lonely. 

After homeroom, Jeffrey was talking to his older brother, Jeffrey on his way to his next class. They look very similar, other than the fact that Jeffrey was older, taller, and had blue eyes. 

Jeffrey the younger brother said “Please sit next to me at lunch, I don’t want to sit alone.”

Jeffrey replied “Ok, I’ll tell my friend Jeffrey that I’m sitting with you today instead. But you better tell Mom I was nice to you.”

After a nice, healthy lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and carrots with his brother, Jeffrey had math class. In math class Jeffrey sits next to Hate. Jeffrey also doesn’t like Hate, oh not Hate, I meant hate. They were talking about different names and why Hate wants to change his name.

Hate said “Dude, everyone picks on my name.”

Jeffrey replied “Well, your name is somewhat confusing. Hate is very easy to confuse with hate.”

Hate thought this over. “It’d be cool if I had a less confusing name. Something like…Jeffrey.”

“Obviously Jeffrey is the best possible name. And it would be way less confusing if you were named Jeffrey than Hate.”

“Right. Plus then I wouldn’t be picked on all the time for having a different name.”

Jeffrey thought about that. “I know, it’s just that people don’t like difference, we have to convince them that difference is good at least 9% of the time.”

Hate hesitantly asked Jeffrey if he wanted to come to his house after school. Jeffrey normally wouldn’t, but since both his best friends were absent he thought ‘why not’ and agreed to hang out.

Jeffrey and Hate hung out after school for a while playing Xbox, and Jeffrey started to realize Hate was really nice, and it was sad that no one knew this. Jeffrey made a decision: the town needed to realize that Hate was really cool (Definitely not to be confused with hate because hate is not cool). Jeffrey wanted to help others realize this so they would be able to enjoy Hate’s company (Plus Jeffrey was tired of being beaten in Grand Theft Auto. Hate was excellent at GTA).

They started small. Jeffrey and Hate went around town trying to get people to believe that 9% of difference could be good, and that Hate was in that 9%. Nobody really believed them. It was tough work. Partially because no one wanted to listen to Hate, and partially because Jeffrey and Hate had no visual aids. 

They upped their game, they started making charts and graphs to prove change is some of the time good, but no one listened. All people did was keep making fun of Hate and his ‘stupid name.’ It is pointless to do something if it’s impossible… but this wasn’t impossible. They just needed to figure out how to get it done.

They went through a lot of ideas.

Hate suggested “Sky writing?”

Jeffrey answered “Heck no! Too expensive, plus most people in Jeffrey are afraid of clouds that look like something, they would just dislike change even more. Let’s have a pet fair. You know how Jeffreys love their turtles.”

“Naw, that’ll take too long. Do you realize how long turtle breeding takes? It would be forever before we had enough turtles to have a pet fair. Hmm. Oh! What about a community garden sponsored by ‘The Committee To Understand How Change Can Sometimes Be OK?’ That’ll get people’s attention. Plus, since everyone in Jeffrey loves cauliflower, it’ll be really well attended”

Jeffrey enthusiastically agreed.

With that settled, Jeffrey and Hate began the process of planning a community garden. It was a change that they knew people would be skeptical of at first, but, because of the cauliflower, it would change the minds of the townspeople slowly, but surely.

TCTUHCCSBOK is the organization that Jeffrey and Hate created. I would tell you how they went about getting the non-profit status, but when Jeffrey’s great great great great great great great t great t great great great great great great great great great great great great grandchild told me the story, he left that part out for some reason.

After the planning stage, they started to get the materials they needed to build this garden. They decided that the middle would have a center plaza with all the cauliflower. Surrounding it would be the other, non-important vegetables. They needed seeds, tools, and soil. Plus they would need many planks of wood, ****, hoses, and labels for plants.

When they were done they stopped to review their work. They thought it was pretty nice. 

Jeffrey took it all in and said “I hope this will convince people.”

Hate was very nervous; changing people’s minds could make the entire rest of his life better. He tried to cover this nervousness with the claim  “It’s Wonderful… oh, I mean, well I hope it works.”

When people showed up they instantly believed them.

The townspeople said “because you have cauliflower, I instantly believe what you are trying to prove and anything you tell us from now on and forever.” Of course they were joking. But, the people of Jeffrey learned to think for themselves and not judge simply because something was different than they were used to. 

Hate was impressed. People thinking for themselves was the reason he wasn’t going to be bullied anymore. Hate was having a very happy moment indeed. Now that Jeffreys were going to start thinking for themselves and not judge him based on something small like his name, things were going to be better. 

People began eating cauliflower. And then a most amazing thing happened. They started chanting ‘We love Hate.’ (Not to be confused with hate, cause hate is bad news). 

From that day on people started naming their kids different things and accepted change (unless that change was taking away their cauliflower). That’s why some people are named George, and Ellie, and Jamal, and Mariana. 

Are you happy your name isn’t exactly the same as everyone else’s in your class? Remember to thank cauliflower. 

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