The scars that Pat Pribble carried through life were formed nearly 50 years ago, inflicted by fellow students in Woodland, Washington, who picked on him because he was different.
Pat’s parents had held him back in the fourth grade, so he ended up in the same class as his younger brother, Leo. Forever the oldest kid in the class, Pat tried to fit in. He played sports. He went on dates. But he was always just not good enough for this; just not smart enough for that. Pat Pribble was a target.
A trek through the high school years is filled with land mines. Bullies master the uncanny ability to find weakness, inflicting emotional pain with the precision of a surgeon with a scalpel in hand. Allies vanish, as being popular becomes more seductive than being loyal.
After graduating, Pat drifted and lost his way. He was homeless for a stretch, and he never married or had children. He never had a career, only a series of jobs. Now 65, he lives in a studio apartment in Southeast Portland, Oregon, with his dog, getting by on Social Security.
From a distance, with his long gray hair and beard, Pat appears tough, the kind of man you might cross the street to avoid. It is a facade. To talk with him reveals a gentle side. He speaks quietly, measuring his words, careful not to reveal what he is thinking and feeling, as those were the very things others once seized upon to mock him.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Advice to the Young
One of the world's most celebrated writers has much to share—though she sometimes wonders whether she should keep her thoughts to herself
Quincy the Show Goat
BEST PET PALS
THE BEST SANDWICH IN EVERY STATE
We teamed up with Taste of Home and our collective readers to find the 50 greatest ways to fill two slices of bread (or just one, or a bun, or a biscuit...)
WORLD OF MEDICINE
THE HEALTHY NEWS
THE IMPOSSIBLE RESCUE
When 13 members of a Thai youth soccer team became trapped in a flooded cave, the two-week ordeal mesmerized the world. Here's the extraordinary story of how they were saved.
Lending a Hand in UKRAINE
Amid the brutality and destruction, people around the world have reached out to help those caught in the crossfire. Here are a few of their stories.
Instead of Going to College, I Read These Books
For a woman whose life took another path, a teacher’s reading list taught her everything she needed to know
Immune System Supercharger
Vitamin D appears O to help prevent many illnesses, including COVID
HOW TO Learn from Your Regrets
If you never pine for a different past, you'll stay trapped in a cycle of mistakes
World of Good