DAYTON, OH—Stating that the young pair of freaks seem like they would be perfect for each other, Jerger Elementary School third-grade teacher Karen Neel told reporters Thursday she was pretty surprised the two weird kids in her class hadn’t hit it off yet.
“I could tell on the first day of school that Paul [Thompson] and Wesley [Shuman] were weirdos, and I just assumed they would take to each other, you know?” said Neel, adding that logic would seem to dictate the two very odd 9-year-olds would gravitate toward each other if for no other reason than because none of their other classmates ever wanted to talk to them. “But for whatever reason, they still haven’t clicked. I honestly don’t get it.”
“Maybe they’re holding out for more popular friends?” Neel continued. “I hope not, because it’s not looking like that’s happening anytime soon.”
According to Neel, her bafflement over the strange children’s failure to become friends only increased after she attempted to facilitate interaction between the two by assigning them to adjoining seats. The boys scarcely seemed to acknowledge each other, she said, with Thompson spending much of his time hunched over his desk drawing imaginary spacecraft, and Shuman amusing himself by making animal noises.
On one occasion, the two misfits reportedly both wrapped their faces with tape during art class, but tragically, neither one noticed that the other was enjoying the exact same activity.
“No one—and I mean no one—in class likes them,” the 33-year-old teacher said. “Sometimes I just want to sit the two of them down and say, ‘Look, Paul, you’re a spaz, and Wes, you’re a spaz, too. You have no other choice here. If you don’t want to sit by yourself every recess or endure the constant bullying all alone, you’re going to have to buddy up.’ How have they not figured this out? After all, they’re weird, not dumb.”
“They at least have to realize they’re a little offbeat, right?” she added. “Because the rest of the class knew it the first time they saw one of them in the cafeteria sculpting their mashed potatoes into the shape of a human head.”
Though both boys are relatively timid, sources said neither seemed opposed to making new friends, with Shuman often answering questions in pig Latin in a misguided attempt to impress his classmates, and Thompson occasionally eating slivers of notebook paper for attention.
Neel said the fact that a friendship between the two hadn’t panned out seemed even more shocking when one stopped to consider all the activities that brought them together at school, from having to stop by the office before lunch to take their medication, to being partnered up for projects because no other students ever want to work with them, to sitting out of gym class due to their respective skin and foot disorders.
“Everyone needs a social outlet, even kids who seem perfectly content just mumbling to themselves about Transformers,” Neel said. “I mean, we’re more than halfway through the school year at this point. They could have been doing weirdo things together this whole time, like sharing inside jokes or making each other feel better about their mutual strangeness. It’s sad, really.”
At press time, Neel expressed hope that one of the weird kids would at least make friends with the new student who just transferred into her class and doesn’t speak much English.