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Mel’s Guide to Middle School

By Jamilah Yusef

Copyright © 2011 by Jamilah Yusef

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission.

Table of Contents:

Rule #1 – Remember That Sometimes It’s a Good Thing Not to Be Noticed

Rule #2 – Come Up with Your Own Secret Language

Rule #3 – Don’t Believe in Stereotypes

Rule #4 – Patience is a Good Thing…I Think

Rule #5 – Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Rule #6 – Never Have a Picnic in a Graveyard

Rule #7 – Know How to Pull a Great Prank

Rule #8 – When in Doubt, Wear Red

Rule #9 – Never Eat Blue Snow

Rule #10 – Take a Shower Every Day

Rule #11 – Know How to Pull Another Great Prank

Rule #12 – Take a Vacation

Rule #13 – Don’t Eat Gray Ice Cream

Rule #14 – Be a Leader, Not a Follower

Yesterday was the first day of school; the first day of middle school to be exact. As I’m sure most of you feel the same way I do about school I will try not to dull you by retelling all the sad and dreary tales of my day. I will say this though; the world needs more people like me. For this reason I have come up with the perfect guide for every poor kid who is entering middle school. While the title may suggest that it is simply a guide to Middle School, it is also a guide on how to survive the world outside of Middle School. Be warned: some of this material may not be suitable for adults or for younger siblings. So keep it away from prying eyes. (You don’t want them getting any ideas.)

Rule #1 – Remember That Sometimes it’s a Good Thing Not to Be Noticed

Case in point: I was standing at the bus stop on the first day of school, with my hands shoved into my pockets as the freezing wind blew my hair in my face. It was early so there were only a few kids around here and there. I had been standing there for about eight minutes or so, when this skinny little kid came up and stood a few feet away from me.

If it weren’t for the way the poor kid was dressed he would look like any other kid. But unfortunately his clothes made him stand out like the pimples on the older kids’ faces. He was wearing yellow jeans with a red sweater vest and black dress shoes. Either his mother had awful taste or she let him dress himself. I’m betting he dressed himself.

Of course a kid dressed like that is going to get the attention of any arrogant little snot nosed bully in any school, and this one was no different. It wasn’t long before a greasy haired punk named Eric walked to the bus stop and caught sight of this kid. Eric was one of those kids who aren’t necessarily rich, but they are certainly better off than most of the kids in school. He was a spoiled little brat who always got what he wanted. He always had the best clothes and the coolest gadgets. He liked to wear his hair slicked back with a ton of gel in it because he thought it made him look cool. It also made his hair really hard so that it barely even moved.

Eric was with his two goons called Dirk and Fred. Dirk and Fred had been his friends since the beginning of elementary school. Dirk was a really fat kid who bullied other kids by sitting on them. Fred was smaller than Dirk. He liked to gross people out by sticking his finger up his nose and then trying to wipe his boogers on them.

Well Eric happened to glance over at this kid and his face instantly lit up. He nudged Dirk who then nudged Fred and they all walked over with that sad swagger that so many losers like him use. He stopped in front of the kid while Dirk and Fred crowded him on either side. “Hello,” Fred said with a mischievous grin on his face. “What’s your name?”

The kid looked up at him and I could tell he was already very nervous and he was beginning to sweat. He mumbled something unintelligible and looked back at the ground.

“I’m sorry I didn’t hear that,” said Eric. I could tell trouble was already brewing.

“My name is Ford.”

Eric and his friends laughed. “What, Ford like the car? What a dumb name!” Eric turned to Dirk, “Why would somebody give their kid such a dumb name!?”

“My Dad worked at the Ford factory before it shut down. He really liked his job. That’s why he named me Ford,” Ford said timidly.

“Did I ask you?” Eric yelled at Ford and shoved him in the chest. In my opinion he had gone too far and I decided to intervene.

“Hey! Leave him alone why don’t ya!” I shouted across to Eric.

Eric turned around to see who shouted at him. When he caught sight of me his face lit up and he smiled. Oh no, I thought to myself.

“Hey Melissa long time no see. How have you been?” As Eric said this he casually strolled over to stand by me. Eric and I have known each other since we were about two. We were in each other’s classes all through elementary and we sometimes saw each other at our local park. I forgot how he has always had a crush on me. (No, really he has.)

On the first day of first grade he ran up right away and grabbed my hand as we were standing in line. I had no idea who this strange kid was so I shoved him to the ground. He cried. It was pretty funny. You think this would make the kid realize I had no interest in being his friend and would leave me alone but nooo not Eric. Right away he sat in the chair next to me and he sat by me for the next several years despite my best efforts at making him move.

Though I have to admit, I did enjoy having him around. It meant there was always someone to pick on, and this was before my sister Cassie was born so I really needed that. One time I convinced him that our teacher was an alien and so for a whole week he would come to school wearing a hat made out of tin foil so she couldn’t read his mind. It got out of hand one day when she touched his hat and he gave a really high pitched scream, and then ran yelling out into the hall. The teacher met with his parents and they had a big discussion about Eric’s “problems”.

He realized I had played a trick on him, but thankfully he never told anyone that it was all my fault. I was nice to him for a little while after that. In fact, I was nice to him up until 5th grade when he started being a bully to some of the other kids. Then I stopped hanging out with him all together. I don’t think he ever realized why I had stopped being his friend.

Anyway, back to the present story. When he had asked me how I’ve been I just said, “Leave me alone Eric.”

“Why, so rude Melissa? Don’t you think it is about time we were friends again?” he asked. “And to be honest, I never understood why we stopped being friends in the first place.”

I folded my arms and raised my eyebrows as I looked at him, “Really? You don’t know why? It’s because you were a bully; and apparently you still are.”

“Is that right? Well, you know I was willing to forget the past and be friends again but now you lost your chance. Now I don’t want to be your friend. Now you are my enemy.”

Ohhh I’m so scared,” I said sarcastically.

“Oh you will be,” he said and shoved Ford with his shoulder as he walked off with his two loser friends. When they had gotten to the other side of the parking lot, Ford came over and stood by me.

“Thanks for sticking up for me,” he said quietly.

“No problem.”

He continued to hang around me, which to be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled about. I mean, come on. Just because I defended him doesn’t mean I want to be friends. It was the beginning of middle school. I didn’t want this kid ruining my rep right from the start! We were standing there for only a minute before my best friend Rena came down the street, headed for the bus stop.

Rena and I have been best friends since as long as I can remember. She lives right next door to me and ever since we could walk we have been visiting one another. My mom says as soon as I learned to walk, whenever she set me down in the yard I would walk straight over to Rena’s yard. This year when picking out classes, we made sure that we had all the same ones; that way we wouldn’t be separated.

Rena walked up and stood next to me. “Hi,” she said and glanced over at Ford. “Who are you?”

“My name is Ford.”

“Oh, well hi Ford.”

The bus came just then and Rena and I made sure to get a seat next to each other in the back of the bus. As I looked around I realized Ford was sitting right across from us. When he saw me look over, he smiled.

I could tell this was going to be a long year.

Rule #2 – Come Up with Your Own Secret Language

Yesterday, my friend Rena and I came up with our own secret language. We had been swinging on our makeshift swing made out of two pieces of wood and a rope, when Rena dragged her foot on the ground to stop the swing.

“I just had an idea,” she said.


“You know how Ms. Braner caught us passing notes in class the other day? Well, how about we come up with our own secret language so that she won’t be able to understand what we are saying.”

“I don’t know man. That seems a little lame,” I said.

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