Letter: Pity trump, a scared little boy

Posted 6/17/20

To the editor:

In Tom Junod's essay “Can you say Hero?” he recounts the following story about the essay's subject Mr. Rogers.

Mr. Rogers is taping a segment of his show in Penn …

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Letter: Pity trump, a scared little boy

Posted

To the editor:

In Tom Junod's essay “Can you say Hero?” he recounts the following story about the essay's subject Mr. Rogers.

Mr. Rogers is taping a segment of his show in Penn Station and he is being treated like a rock star. However, he is captivated by a morose little boy who is carrying a big plastic sword. Mr Rogers, sensing something, kneels to the boy's level but despite his parents verbal prodding the child won't open up to this kindly man. After a time, Mr Rogers leans forward and whispers something in the boy's ear. Finally, the boy makes eye contact and nods an affirmative yes to the kindly stranger.

Later he explains, “Whenever you see a little boy carrying something like that, it means he wants to show people he is strong on the outside.

“ . . . So I told him . . . do you know you are strong on the inside too?” Maybe it's something he needed to hear.”

Every time I recount this event it reminds me of our president. I can't help seeing the essence of him as a frightened little boy, who no matter how many swords he collects, (and one must admit he is very good at collecting them), or how he brandishes them, he is still never convinced he is strong on the inside.

He doesn't think he is very smart, or capable, or confident and I know this because he as much as says so.

After all, what very smart person do you know says, “I'm really smart!”

What really competent person do you know says, “I'm really competent” – in anything let alone everything.

What really confident person do you know who never once says, “Maybe I should have done that differently.” Or, “Maybe I should have listened to someone else.” Or just once said, “Gee, I was wrong on that one.”

As a result, like an angry little boy who needs to show people he's tough, the president has perfected the talent of name calling and his most persistent argument is some version of, “I know you are but what am I?”

All of this can provoke anger and disappointment in the man who is our president. But perhaps we should find it in our hearts to have sympathy for the sad little boy inside.

Geoffrey Berg

26 Brownell St.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.