Sheldon The Wonderhorse

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Salon.com
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NOVEMBER 18, 2010 12:29PM

Special Child Discovered to be "Exceedingly Unspecial"

Rate: 46 Flag

(AP) Evanston, IL - An Evanston family was devastated to learn yesterday that their "special" child was actually, in fact, completely unspecial.

"We were shocked," said Margaret Thompson, 45. "We could have sworn little Preston was completely special. In fact, we've been telling him ever since he was born that he was special. Now I get the news that we've been lying to him the entire time. It has been a very difficult few days".

Preston Thompson III, 10, had been operating his entire life under the assumption that he was indeed special. He was brought to the attention of doctors at Rush Memorial Hospital in Chicago, who rushed him in for a battery of tests. The result was, to say the least, shocking.

"On the outside, all the signs pointed to him being special," said Dr. Marvin Cho, director of the Special Childrens Unit at Rush. "But once we put him through our tests, we discovered that not only was he not special, he was exceedingly unspecial. In fact, of all the children I have examined over my 35 years in the medical industry, I have never seen a child more unspecial than Preston Thompson III".

The rate of discovery of unspecial children has risen significantly during this past decade. Experts say Special Child Extremeritis (SCE)  hit epidemic stages in the mid to late-90's when every child was treated as though they were special and completely unique.

"There was a real boom, with 1997 being the peak year, of children being told they were special," Dr. Cho explained. "It was during that time where we had a spike in children being given names like Tyler, Eryka, Dylan, and Madison. These kids were deliberatetly misled by their parents into thinking they were special. They were enrolled in ballet lessons and karate classes as young as 3 years old. This, of course, led to pee-wee soccer leagues, which is the real obvious symptom of SCE."

Discovering your child is not special is a tough bit of news for every parent. Preston Thompson II, 47, was so broken up by the report that he couldn't even speak to this reporter. However, Dr. Cho wants to make sure the public knows that having an unspecial child is certainly not the end of the world.

"Many non-special children, or unspecs as we call them, go on to lead completely normal, if not dull lives. You will find many unspecs thriving in middle-management positions, happy, content, and fully embracing their complete un-uniqueness".

For the Thompsons, each day is a struggle, but they know over time, acceptance will rule the day. "We know now that Preston is not special," Mrs. Thompson said. "Of course, it will take time, but we're getting there. I mean, when we first found out, my husband was so distraught he wanted to put Preston in a pillowcase, drive him out to the country and leave him on the side of the road. Luckily, I talked him out of it, and he is slowly coming around. He actually looked Preston in the eye the other day, and didn't break down crying. Small steps. Besides, we always have our daughter, MacKenzie".

However, difficult times still lay ahead for the Thompsons. In a follow-up report released this week, MacKenzie Thompson, 8, was described as "obscenely average and boring to be around".

 

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I almost peed myself reading this- hilarious!
It is truly sad when you have an unspec in your family. It's a daily struggle to suppress the urge to shun them in the old school Amish tradition.
We've all met them; the parents so determined that their crashingly average child is special that they put them through all kinds of hoops. Here in Southern California there is a whole industry preying on them. We had one friend who spent a fortune on head shots, audition tapes, and acting lessons for her son, convinced he was just what was needed as the next big child star. We didn't have the heart to tell her (and she wouldn't have listened anyway) that what showbiz looks for is a bright outgoing child who is actually much older and more mature than they look, as opposed to her dull humorless overweight lunkhead of a boy who looked thirteen when he was eight or nine.
Very funny and sadly, very true. When the kid is 18, he or she cannot believe that entitlement comes with hard work and is not handed out as a gift.
R
Funny piece. However, no matter how unspec he is to everyone else, my son will always be special to me. And he's special without a funny name or pee-wee leagues!

Signed:
Formerly special, now spectacularly unspec in TX
This is funny. I had a pal of mine who had a kid. The kid was a baby and he would always buy him ivy league baby baseball caps and t-shirts (the parents went to a state school). I think they hoped this would inspire the baby to become an uber-achiever through osmosis, or make others think the family was upper-class, by seeing the kid with a harvard baby-baseball cap.

As for my children, when I have them, I will raise them in the forest and subject them to the elements and most difficult tasks and sports, so they grow-up strong, tough, resilient and impervious to all life can throw at them. Coddling a child and treating him/her as if they are special is useless. They must always strive to conquer and prevail and never feel content to rest on their laurels. Self worth comes from "doing something," not from "being somebody."
Dear God. Is Mrs. Wonderhorse already knocked up?
So did they kid wind up in an unspecial ed class?
Wonderful. In my early days Special was Gay. :D tg
I read in a followup to the article this story was based on that the Thompsons are now planning on getting a dog. A snickerlabradoddle to be exact. Costs something like the healthcare bill to buy one. Some incredibly average people will do anything to point to something that's says "Look at me! I'm special!"
"Some are born unspecial, some achieve unspecialness, and some have unspecialness thrust upon 'em." -- Fred Shakespeare
everyone is special in their own special way, slightly above average, you ole special wonderhorse you.
Being unspecial ain't an easy road to travel believe me.
In the words of the decidedly unspecial Church Lady, "Isn't that special?" Hilarious.

Lezlie
Hy - Please don't blame me for your bladder issues.

Surly - Please don't blame me for your Amish issues.

Gee- "Overweight lunkhead of a boy" may be new favorite phrase. I will be putting that on all my headshots.

Lulu - As Dr. Cho said, there is no shame in being unspec. Although, I do think you may be selling yourself a bit short. Owners of Boston Terriers are known to be slightly less unspec.

Stella - Nothing wakes you up to your innate unspecialness than having to refill the ketchup dispenser.

Junk - The gift is they made it to 18 having eaten that much paste.

Blue - Unspec in Texas is almost unheard of. That places seems to be ground zero for specialness.

Rw - I see a baby in a Harvard baseball cap, I think , "Hey, a pinata".

Ma - Not yet, but I promise you this: When the Mrs. Wonderhorse accepts the wondersperm, the offspring will revel in his or her mediocrity. Just like I do.

Ocular - No, they just used him as the Tetherball pole.

Tg - In my day, gay was happy.

Tim - On the plus side, both the dog and the kids are hypoallergenic, for whatever that's worth.

Stim - I'm a big fan of Fred Shakespeare. His play "Romette & Julio" is one of my all-time favorites.
This. is. awesome. I love the tone :-)
Don - I like to think of myself as "Spectacular in my latent Unspecialness" thank you very much.

Spud - Oh, I believe you. I've set up a vegetable stand on that road.

L - Since you're from the southeast, which is more unspecial: Florida or Alabama? My guess is Florida. I blame Disney.
S.ophie: Thanks! I inherited tone from my decidedly average father. My mother on the other hand was completely tone deaf in one ear.
They should send the kid to Lake Wobegon, where all children are above average
Unspecs are people too!
Hahahahaha! I love this!
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So funny. Coming from a grandmother with only special grandchildren, I really feel for this family. So sad.
it's a hard-knock life for the unspecial kids, especially the ones who *do*get left on the side of the road in a pillowcase. but whattayagonnado?
This is so clever! (but, no, you are not special, sorry)
About time we identified them, and treated them accordingly!
Rated!
Sooo funny! My kids were average..The shame!
This is a decidedly special and hilarious story. R.
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Do you say it, unspesh or unspek? We must get this right since clearly there will be a new trend. "I'm nothin spesh" people will say, as they wait in line at the Walmart. "I'm votin unspesh" this year they'll say as they plant a Sarah Palin campaign sign in their yard. "This restaurant is so unspesh they gave it 1 star!" the travel guides will brag.
LMAO!

Why can't we just get to kids being normal again? LOL Either kids are "geniuses" or they're labeled as stupid. It just seems no one is happy with NORMAL.

:)

-R-
You might call me special, but my mama calls me retarded.

(As to you and Mrs. Wonderhorse's progeny, I thought mules were sterile?)
I think that the "Typhoid Mary" of this outbreak was "The Pretenders" song "Brass in Pocket" with the refrain "Special, so special, gotta have some of your attention, give it to me".
Or it may have been Meredith Baxter Birney's original L'oreal shampoo commercial's with the tag-line "you're worth it".
Or it may have been cats.
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Are you going to pony up and change the name of your blog to "Sheldon the Unspec Horse"?

Great writing!
It must be sad for some parents to learn that their children are not extraordinary but only ordinary. My own are brilliant and beautiful, of course.
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Sheldon, we know you were special as a child...you even rode the special bus to school. (But really, they should have made you keep that helmet on.) Great post. Loved the part about putting him in a pillow case and leaving him on a road in the country.
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Hee hee. Just the kind of parents you want to smack. I see them all the time. R
The one we thought was special turned out to be special in her own right, but alas.... average. The one my husband thought needed workshop and never got above a C in high school is now getting his doctorate in chemistry. Who knew! This was too funny! Kids will make their way, whether we like it or not!
Hilarious and so true! Well done!
r
Great read. Hilarious social commentary.
Where was this study when my three sons, who should have been named Moe, Larry and Curly were entering their teen years?

Funny stuff. Beware the "Fwop, Fwop, Fwop" of the helicopters parents coming at you with pitchforks and torches.
""Many non-special children, or unspecs as we call them, go on to lead completely normal, if not dull lives." Until of course, they run for public office or become priests and then the crazy bus comes and takes them on a ride.
Any chance that bus will run off a cliff?
Wonders never cease. Loved this...
I know nothing about this phenomenon.
Great commentray! The "special" topic has been stewing in my head for a bit now and you captured it hilariously! Poor kids!