Tim Hawthorne: State Finals Ping-Pong Champion

Clif Haley
2 min readOct 16, 2022
Image via Dreamstime.com

To say their description of me under my photo in the newspaper back then was unflattering is to put it mildly:

His face was cursed by an ever-rupturing landscape of dire acne-ism; his cheeks slick with the discharge of pustules at all times.

This has nothing to do with the fact that I’d come in first place in the state high school ping-pong finals, which the article was actually about. The photo under which this caption is placed is of me proudly holding aloft my 1st place ribbon!

The headline had rather innocuously read:

Local High Schooler Wins 1st Place at State Ping-Pong Finals

And yet the very first line of the article is:

Tim Hawthorne (18), a malodorous local troglodyte, has thwarted its competition at a ping-pong tourney this past week’s end, despite suffering gravely from rectal scabies and head lice.

Lies! Does that seem fair to you? Even all these years later (I’m 48 now!) I find it hard to forget the cruelty of those words. And also these words from the very same opening paragraph:

His parents, quite clearly drunk, were overjoyed to see their cognitively degraded genetic mistake prove victorious. They declined to be interviewed, however, citing an urgent need to “shoot meth



Clif Haley

Sometimes Clif eats pizza with a fork, but usually not. He has somehow managed to get published in MuddyUm, The Haven, & Doctor Funny.