My Buster Browns did not get much wear when I was a child . We did not go to church. We did not go to functions. And I was not particularly excited about dressing up just to dress up. I’ll never understood the point of donning the most uncomfortable clothes to a place where productivity is paramount. But I digress. My Buster Browns were rarely worn. But, for whatever reason, my junior high school self believed ‘Buster Brown’ was a classic dig; a real zinger insult.

“Shut up, Buster Brown. I know I am, but what are you? Stupid kid say what!”

I know…witty as hell; sticks and stones may break bones, but a Buster Brown insult will bring tears and years of therapy. I used this insult for years weeks. It was my go-to BB bomb…until it blew up in my face.

Riding across the Ames parking lot towards the bowling alley to pick up a pack of $1.25 Marlboro Reds (I know, don’t judge!), a car nearly hit my friend and me. I opened my mouth to deliver the holy trinity of an insult…

“Fucking Buster Brown!”

I had released the Kraken of insults. I rained fire from both above and below! I told them…and they knew it! They had been owned by a scintillating school boy! Owned! A solid burn!

As I rode on, the car turned around. The occupant in the passenger seat jumped out to let me know how much pain the Buster Brown smack talk brought him. He produced a cold blade to my cheek as a counter insult. Touché, bitch! My only fear in that moment was I was going to be killed for the worst possible insult in my vernacular of insults. It was in this moment years later I understood tit for tat doesn’t work.

Nothing good will come from repaying stupidity with more stupid. I have been screaming “Fucking Buster Brown” for the last eight months. Not much has happened. Today, I am going to continue my ride through the parking lot to grab my pack of Marlboro Reds. I’ll own and wear my Buster Browns from now on.

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