Genetically, Tim Turtle was designed to “snap.” His mother told him from an early age that this might “cause him to alienate other creatures.” At the time, Tim was too young to know what “snapping” meant, but he assumed it was something peaceful, because peaceful was the word that described him best.
Throughout elementary school, Tim had no trouble making friends, because he was very outgoing and treated everyone with respect and kindness. Then Tim graduated to middle school, and life became more complicated. Tim made plans with Sam Salamander, but then Sam cancelled on him at the last minute. Then another time, Tim made plans with Bella Bullfrog, and she showed up an hour late to his house. This behavior confused and angered Tim, because he never would have cancelled or shown up late on them. He respected his friends, but, for the first time, he doubted whether they respected him back. So, Tim asked his mother for her opinion.
“You should snap at them,” his mother said,”and yell as loudly as you can.” Tim thought this advice over for a while, and then came to the conclusion that his mother might be right. So, the next day at school, Tim took Sam aside and started yelling.
“How could you ditch me?” Tim snapped. “Friends don’t cancel plans at the last minute.”
“Susie asked me out on a date, and I’d never been on a date before,” Sam said defensively, “I thought you would understand.” And, of course, Tim did understand, but he was still upset.
“You should have told me,” said Tim, “It’s great that you had a date, but I was looking forward to hanging out.”
“I will be better next time,” said Sam, and this made Tim happy, because this was all he wanted to hear. Later that day, Tim found Bella in the hallway.
“Why did you show up late last week?” Tim yelled. “I felt silly, and I kept looking at the clock.”
“I had to write a paper,” Bella said sadly. “I wanted to be there earlier, but I had to work extra hard. I didn’t do so well on my last paper.” Tim nodded. Again, he understood his friend. He wanted her to do well on her paper.
“You should have called me,” said Tim, “It just would have been nice to know you were running late. ”
“I will be better next time,” said Bella, and that was all Tim wanted to hear. Never again would Tim snap at his friends. If he was angry with them, he would talk to them kindly, and give them a chance to explain. Occasionally there would be a friend who had no reason for being impolite, and to those friends Tim would simply reply, “I have no time for disrespectful friends,” and move on.
Written and Owned by Alex Schattner