Mister Ugly

Mister Ugly

Mister Ugly

Old Sam was so ugly it was pathetic. I have seen Halloween masks that were better looking than Sam. I don’t have words to describe poor Sam’s looks. Sadly, he had lived a life of misery and shame because of his looks. He told me that his dad took him out of school (in the 1930’s) before he was ten years old. They lived in a small farming community in North Texas, and Sam’s school mates made life unbearable for him. They would make fun of him, trying to goad him into fighting. He refused to fight, he said he couldn’t stand to hurt anyone. Even in self defense, he refused to fight. That made it easier for the bullies to bully him.

In the early seventies, I was working for Dallas Power and Light Company at the Parkdale power plant. At the time, my job was plant operator. Our gate guard was an old super ugly man named Sam. Sam was quiet, a super nice man. He liked to visit me in the control room. Sam shared with me his life story of torment and misery because of his looks. He had a perpetual sad look on his face. All went well at the plant for Sam, until mean minded Bruce arrived. Bruce was a ‘bully’ deluxe.

Bruce was good looking, sharp, educated, witty, and popular young guy. He transferred to our plant when he made assistant control operator. When he arrived on the scene, poor Sam’s tranquility at the plant disappeared. Bruce immediately started making fun of Sam. He gave Sam the moniker of “Mister Ugly.” When Sam walked in, it was “Hello Mister Ugly. You are so ugly you make the clocks stop.” Or his favorite, “Mr. Ugly, you ever lost an ugly contest?” Bruce delighted in making poor Sam cringe. Sam would just grin, pretending it didn’t hurt.

One Sunday morning I was all alone in the control room. Sam walked in, and I said “Hello Mr. Ugly,” before realizing what I had said. I had never called him that, and never intended to. He looked shocked, then broke down and started to cry, certainly not expecting that remark from his best friend.

I felt lower than a snake’s belly. “You just don’t know what it’s like being ugly,” wailed poor Sam. Then he had a shoulder to cry on, and he told me all about a lifetime of pain because of being ugly. It was heart rendering sad. My immediate commitment then was to try and discredit the really ugly one, little mean Bruce. I had a chat with him, asked him to let up on Sam. He assured me he would continue harassing poor Sam as he pleased. Which would be often.

Bruce had recently bought a new Mustang Mach 1. He thought it was the fastest thing on wheels. All he did was brag on his “Stang,” and how it would outrun anything on the road. It was his life, his pride and joy. He never lost a drag race, he bragged.

Late one night the phone rang in the control room. It was a guy that I knew from another power plant in our system. He said, “Is little Bruce still bragging about his Mach 1?” “Sure is, that’s all we hear from him. Except when Sam is here. Then he makes misery for Sam.” “Ask him about what that Chevy Super Sport did to him the other night,” the guy said. Then he told me about leaving Bruce in his dust, with his Chevy Super Sport. Wowie, Jim Bob, jackpot!! Can’t wait for the crowd to hear about this tidbit of information.

Sam walked into the control room, and Bruce hollered, “Hello Mister Ugly, been in any ugly contest lately?” Then I yelled, “Hello, Mister Sam. Ask Bruce about his race with the Chevy Super Sport the other night..” Silence. The silence was deafening. Bruce lamely asked, “How did you know about that?” My answer was, “Tell him, Bruce. Tell Mister Sam all about how the Chevy Super Sport blew you off the road. Tell him.” Total silence.

Bruce was embarrassed, speechless. But I wasn’t. I proceeded to retell the crowd all about the race, with Bruce listening, fuming. I almost felt sorry for him, he looked like a whipped dog. Soon afterwards, Bruce transferred to another plant, and never again made misery for Sam. Not long afterwards, Bruce mysteriously left town. We never heard from him again.

A few years later, Mr. Sam had a monstrous stroke, and was sent to a nursing home where he lived his remaining days. I never knew an uglier man, nor a nicer, soft hearted man, than Mister Sam, the gate guard.

Roy Bale can be reached at roybalemail@yahoo.com.