a recent rash of young people killing themselves, their traumatic forays with bullies often cited as the main reason for their doing so, has brought about a public outcry for people to stand as one against bullying (because, sadly, there are so many in our nation that feel so good about bullying you see...).
And while that is always a good thing- perspective allowing one to see that they are not the only ones that this happens to- sadly in feel that often ties, the advice that comes from the celebrity do-gooder is really not the best advice.
Keep your head up... tell a parent/adult... find a non-violent solution...
Their hearts are in the right place, but sadly they are full of shit.
And I assure you that in know from experience.
Gimmie yer lunch money fagget...
Bullying is something that has gone on since as long as you had more than two people on Earth together and one of them did something glaringly different from the others.
And as God awful as bullying can be (especially when you are going through it), it is a necessary part of life.
It’s that last bit of animal that as a society we have yet to be able to shake free of ourselves... the primal urge to ostracize those perceived as weaker or lesser than ideal.
All creatures on earth have their own versions of bullying... they just don't use as much creative energy in doing so.
It is in surviving bullies that we learn about our own strengths and abilities.
And I’m not just talking out of my ass...
When in was in the fifth grade, there was this kid, James Miln. James was one of those angry kids everyone grew up with... pissed at his absent father, rejected for bourbon and embrace of strangers by their mother. Violent and malnatured, James was a typical bully.
He picked on everyone and everything.
Up until then in really hadn’t had too much experience with bullies. I had always been taller and larger than my classmates, making me a less likely target, and was always well liked.
Until in met James...
One day James was pissed off about something and decided he was going to take it out on me for some reason. Not being used to anything but playful ribbing from anyone, in shot back.
He didn’t take well to it, making it his mission to make my life a living hell.
For weeks this fucking kid tormented me.
Calling me stupid. Calling me fagget.
He and a few of his hoodlum friends would follow me home and throw rocks at my brother and me.
This went on for weeks.
As much as it annoyed me, I ignored it believing that if he didn’t get a rise out of me he would eventually get bored and move on to a more engaging target.
But he didn't. It only made him try harder.
I tried being his friend, foolishly thinking that maybe if he and I got to know one another a little better we could put all of this childish aggression behind us and play kickball or something.
(God was I ever a bully-able faggot in those days...)
But this didn't help make anything better.
All this did was seemingly emboldening my attacker, my fear of his threats coming to fruition ever so clear to him.
The name calling turned to hard shoulder checks in passing, the rock throwing turned to getting pushed down from behind.
One particular day, I brought to school a favorite toy of mine... a die cast Millennium Falcon. While walking by my desk, James knocked it off my desk and stepped on it, bending the stand and scratching the grey paint.
This infuriated me. My blood boiled and my temper flared. I went to shove him, but as I lunged my body forward he put his hand to my face shoving me aside. My body fell forward, hitting my desk with a thud.
"You wanna push me fagget?" James taunted, his eyes glaring at me.
"I'll see you after school... see how much you wanna push me then."
He picked up my scratched toy and threw it at me, snapping off the stand.
Three O’clock High
As the day continued to pass, my mind lingered on the idea of getting into a fight.
At first, still filled with preteen rage, I thought I could take him. I was bigger. I wasn’t scared.
But as morning turned to afternoon, the reality of the situation started hitting me.
I wasn’t going to win this fight.
I hadn’t fought anyone other than my little brother and he gave me a run for my money most of the time.
This kid was a sociopath that, according to the whispers in the halls, spent his summers in juvenile detention camps and his evening hiding from his mother's abusive conquests!
I was doomed.
As the little hand inched closer to three, the dread of my coming appointment became apparent on my face.
My friends had already all told me that they wished me luck but sadly they had to rush right home and couldn’t have my back.
Occasionally I would turn around and catch a glimpse of James. He would glare back at me from his pen in the back of the room making menacing faces at me.
The dismissal bell rang.
James walked by my desk and stopped. He turned to me and smiled.
"See you by the bike racks pussy... better fucking show up."
I needed to think fast.
I didn’t want to get my ass kicked, but I also knew that bitching out of a fight wasn’t going to do me any good either. Only thing worse than getting your ass kicked was bitching out of taking it.
Then it hit me...
Tell a teacher!
That’s the answer... or at least it was for Webster in the episode where he got bullied.
I decided I would tell my teacher.
It made sense... I’d let her know something was about to go down then show up at the fight. I figured that she would arrive with a janitor or PE teacher just in time to keep me from getting my ass beat yet still allow me to save face.
Can’t be a pussy if it was a teacher that kept you from throwing hands.
I walked up to her desk.
My teacher, Mrs. Wilson- a kind hearted old woman who loved smoking and gambling- sat behind her desk. She looked up at me.
"Um... James said he was going to fight me afterschool...”
"He did?" Her eyes never rose from the odds sheet she was reading. She couldn’t have cared less.
"Yea and I don’t know what to do..."
"Well Gabe," she said, putting down her paper finally and looking right at me.
"Sounds to me like you need to go out there and knock him on his ass."
"What?" This wasn’t at all like what happened to Webster.
"Yea, you go out there and knock that punk on his ass."
With that, she picked up her paper again and went back to reading.
I stood there for a moment, the surrealistic nature of the situation still sinking in.
Slowly I retreated from her desk and out of the classroom.
I made my way to the bike rack.
Sure enough my pussy friends had been true to their word, all of them apparently scurried home right at the bell unwilling to show solidarity in my as kicking.
I dropped my book bag and took a big gulp. This was it.
In the split second between my dropping the book bag and putting my hands up to fight, my mind flooded with every violent act I had ever seen in my short lifetime searching for a way past this hurdle.
Somewhere between replaying the fights in Rocky and old WWF matches it came to me...
The Karate Kid.
He took care of bullies by using karate he had learned doing chores! And being that I was a nerd and didn’t know anything, I always did my chores the same way.
All of the sudden I went for fear to calm... I had been preparing for this day for years. This wasn’t some shit dick bully taking out his emotional trauma on some unsuspecting kid... this was destiny playing out before me. I was about to be a hero... standing alone before the scourge of the fifth grade.
He shoved me again, this time harder than any other time before...
That’s when I did it... I took my Crane stance.
Blaze of Glory
James chuckled smugly as he saw me take my fight stance. He came at me...
In my mind I saw the kick connect on the side of his head. I saw him fall back. I heard his friends "oooh" and "ahhh" at the sight of their leader collapsed in a heap before me.
I saw it all...
Sadly though what I saw was nothing more than a mental divergence, the shock of a storm of angry balled up fists thundering against my head forcing my mind to take me to a happy place.
What had actually occurred was as my crane kick unfolded, James- whom I later learned had been taking karate for years- caught my kick, pushed me to the ground, and had begun executing a ground and pound worthy of a cage fighter.
Like some Keith Moon impressionist he banged his fists off my head, motherfuckering me with every punch.
He stopped beating on me after a little while, my woman like weeping beginning to cheapen his victory.
Lessons in Blood
The rest of that day was rather a haze, no doubt due to the mild concussion inflicted upon me by that fucking sociopath. I recall my brother finally finding me with a few of the other kids from our neighborhood and taking me home. I recall my mother doting over me like she hadn’t in quite some time and my father preparing me the steak for supper that he had given me when I had gotten home to keep the swelling down in my eye.
But what I do remember... and I remember it crystal clear... was lying in bed that night.
I remember it because it was different from the nights that had come before it.
Usually when I lay in bed, my thought would nervously play for itself all the awful ways James would go out of his way to torment me in the coming day...
The insults... the shovings... the threats...
But not on this night....
On this night I laid there, my mind not worrying about anything.
I learned something that day...
I learned why we deal with bullies.
It's not because bullies are cowards and will shy away upon meeting resistance. James picked on me every day after our fight. But it never affected me the same way.
Before I stood up for myself, his threats had weight because of the dread I had for what might come should I decide I was no longer going to take it. The broken limbs... the loss of life.
But as I lay in bed that night I realized I wasn't going to die. I had a pretty decent shiner and a fat lip to show for my courage, but that was it.
No crying mother by my hospital bed... no father making blood pacts with God to avenge his sissy son.
Just a fat lip and a black eye.
I had taken his worse and was going to live to tell the tale about it.
And that's when it hit me...
We confront bullies in order to discover the courage within ourselves. Sure, we can shy away from them, never standing on our own two feet. But then we will be forever bullied.
it is only in learning that the sting of insults and belittling will hurt longer and deeper than any shiner some knuckle dragging ass looking to take out on you all the things wrong with him (or her) can give you and that only through standing up for oneself will the misery ever really end 9again, not that the bully will stop but rather the words will have less weight).
I hope my tragic tale can be of help to some of you li'l fellas out there dealing with this shit.Now, let me leave you with an inspiring ditty by Mr. Kenny Rogers...