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      « How do you find happiness when you only feel numb? | Main | Have you ever been afraid you won't succeed in life? »

      What are your experiences with bullies?

      I was bullied quite a bit in elementary school.  Being in the Talented and Gifted program (Tards and Grodes on the playground) coupled with my sub-par athletic ability made me a target quite often.  The fact that I would sometimes skip the sportsball game of the week to read The Cat Ate My Gymsuit for the 40th time, didn't endear me to some of the more Neanderthal types.


      I specifically remember this one boy named Shawn who was at least 5 years older than me who kneed me in the butt as I tried to exit the bus one day.  I was probably 9 and he might have even been in high school.  I remember Missy Peterson (Janna and Mia’s older sister) telling him to leave me alone, but of course I was terrified to even turn around.  That same kid stole my Nerf ball at the pool that summer. 


      In middle school, there was a pack of bullies that terrorized my friends and me.  Several school dances were spent cowering in the corner hoping that we would be left alone all night and fantasizing about karate chopping a broom handle to use as a weapon if we needed it.   One of those bullies eventually pulled away from the pack due to the love of a good woman setting him straight.  By the time we were in ninth grade, I encouraged my dad to choose him for our baseball team if he got the chance to draft him in a low round, since no other coach would take a chance on a kid who dressed in metalhead clothes and had a skull earing.  He and his family we so grateful to my dad for taking a chance on him that he and I became solid friends.  He helped on the farm that summer and his pitching helped our team destroy the rest of the city league.  We didn’t really hang out or anything, but I considered him a friend, and still do.


      In high school I met a guy named Dave Webber and he told me that if bully types think you are crazy, they won’t pick on you.  So I put up pictures of Jeffery Dahlmer (a big news story at the time) and Charles Manson in my locker.  Today, those pictures would probably have gotten me suspended at least, but at that time, nobody upon high even noticed.  The toughguys did though, and they never bothered me again.


      Before the end of high school and for the rest of my life, my quick and sharp tongue has become more powerful than my fists.  Now I worry more that I am the bully.  I try really hard to only use my mean sense of humor for good.  I tease my friends unmercifully, but I take it even better than I dish it out.  If I am teasing a student, I think I have a pretty good idea where a kid’s line is, and I almost never cross it.  I’m sure I make misjudgments in that regard occasionally, but I tell my students and friends all the time, “I only tease the ones I love.” 

      Reader Comments (1)

      I know who you were talking about and am pleased you called me a good woman. Thank you :)

      September 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

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