Have you met Magazine Man? I've been reading his blog for a year now, and I'm always amazed by his brilliantly constructed, well-written stories - many serialized, often cliffhangers. He is, perhaps, the only person I've encountered out in the blogosphere who is more accident/incident/illness-prone than I am. His latest tales are of his young son's challenges with a bully and the new-ish Zero Tolerance policies that now govern our grade schools (often to the point of utter ridiculousness.) I felt my blood pressure rising throughout the story so far (you have to go back a few entries to start this one.) If you read it, you'll likely feel the same way.
I was a victim of aggressive bullying in grade school, junior high, and, to a much lesser extent, in high school. It was at its worst in grade school - if I was by myself, two boys would follow me home, taunting me, throwing things at me, and, when they could catch me, striking me repeatedly with a plastic bat. I think it is because of these two foul creatures that I have a vastly low threshold for rude comments, gestures, and actions toward people who don't meet the usual standards of beauty. I stand my ground now, and I take no crap. Wanna talk smack about me? Be prepared to deal with someone who's likely a lot smarter and quick-witted than you are, shmuck!
But bullying left its mark on me. In junior high school, after years of abuse, I finally punched one of my bullies in the mouth. I decked him. I think he just didn't expect it. Seven years of taunting and hitting, and even the most level-headed person can be turned to violence. Reading Magazine Man's entries about his son, trying to look out for a kid who was being bullied... well, it brought it all back just now. I'm forty, and this made me cry because I remember how horrible it was and how my mom fought to get the school administration to care enough to do something. (They didn't.)
A couple of years ago, I was at a happy hour with some folks from work. One of my co-workers mentioned bullying - there had been a schoolyard shooting that day. A guy from another office chuckled and said, "Oh, yeah! I was a total bully in grade school!" He laughed and pointed at me, "You know, back then, Merujo, I *so* would have terrorized you back then. Ha ha ha!"
I walked away. I never spoke to him again. The asshole didn't get it. He just thought it was funny. I feel terribly sorry for the people who have to work for him.
Oh hell, it's Friday night - and a beautiful one at that. No need to get all bummed out. Go forth, people, and enjoy! But when you have a little time, go visit Magazine Man. Tell him I sent you. Spend some time in his archives. There are funny stories, touching stories, freaky stories... Marvel at how incredibly accident-prone he is! "Enjoy" his near-death hallucinations at Disneyworld! Read some of his greatest hits.
It's good reading.
Aw shucks, thanks. But it's hard to top the hilarious musings of a theoretical axe murderer. ;-)
I'm catching some heat right now from one of my best friends for "micromanaging" this incident with my son, but you made me realize that I'm probably involved as much as I am because I was bullied a lot too. I was lucky to have a big brother around in some instances, but I still remember many instances of intimidation when I couldn't stand up for myself and no one stood up for me. And it doesn't go away, just as you showed. But hopefully we can find ways to use that experience to make life better for someone else.
That's my rationale and I'm sticking to it. :-)
Great advice, Merujo! If only we all had dads like Magazine Man to stick up for us when we were young. Of course, maybe then we wouldn't be who we are today and heaven knows I wouldn't change the incredible woman you turned out to be!
Thanks so much for a great link! Incidentally, I found you through a link from a link from El Guapo (not sure which one anymore), whom I found at Waiter Rant, whom I found at Alexander Chee's place, which I now realize was linked on the front page of TypePad, my blog host, as a recently updated site one day. (I liked the name, "Fictioneer.")
I just love random trails of discovery. Oh, right, they're called "adventures." :)
I know what you mean -- I was bullied when I was in grade school and no matter what successes I have, certain comments can take me right back there.
BTW -- How's your back?
Post a Comment