That peanut post got me to thinking about bullies.
I have been both. I wasn't very nice to a kid in year nine and with all the other people in my year, picked on him. I feel bad for that. Especially considering I should have known better for having appeared in Modern Bully as their Victim of the Year. That guy left in year ten because of all the shit he copped. But my brief turn to the dark side was 0.2% of my full bullying experiences. The rest was as the bullied, not the bully.
What do peanuts have to do with bullying? Well I guess it reminded me that being different largely is the thing that decides whether you will get bullied at school. Difference from the norm is a very big thing when you're a kid. Being different means … well … I don't know. Being different. That's it. That's all it has to take. Maybe because if you're feeling sad and blue and there's someone different to you then it's all their fault or something.
Popular differences include;
Being of a different racial type to the standard
Reacting to abuse quickly
Talking differently (e.g. accent)
Being overly smart
Liking nerdy things (like Dungeons & Dragons)
Having something wrong with you physically (e.g. having a peanut allergy or severe acne)
Having something wrong with you mentally (e.g. dyslexia, phobia, panic attacks)
Liking Hyundai's instead of Ford/Holden
Not being sporty
Having a smart mouth
Not saying much
Not being physically attractive
Being overtly religious
Wearing a favourite piece of clothing
Liking a lame TV program beyond the time period you should be liking it
Not having a TV
Not dressing in accordance with acceptable fashion (e.g. not having brand name clothing, not having your hair/croptop a certain way, wearing brown corduroy)
Liking a lame singer beyond the time you should be liking it
Having parents that declare their love for you in front of people you may know
And so on, and so on, and so on, and so on.
I met much of the above criteria. I was also socially awkward. Way awkward. Like I was mentally ill or something. I rarely got invited to parties, I rarely got invited to people's houses. In my first two months at a state school, having voluntarily left the insane asylum that was my private school, the popular girls told me to fuck off from near where they were sitting because I was bringing the tone of the area (a wall) down.
It got better by year 12. And by uni I could pick and choose who I wanted to hang with and by and large did not have to subject myself to constant abuse. Which was nice. And in fact since I have been gainfully employed I have rarely had to put up with people acting antagonistically towards me. It does happen now and then, because I still do have a big mouth, but mostly it’s a disagreement over something—not bullying—which is cool.
What are some classic bullying episodes enjoyed by Harrangueman?
Being taken into the Prefect's room at the private school and thrown against a wall for telling a senior student to get fucked. Then physically and verbally abused for the next 20 minutes.
Left: School bully Gregson from Tomkinson’s Schooldays (Ripping Yarns by Michael Palin and Terry Jones). Really not that much of a caricature.
Being beaten up at the year ten party for walking past some drunken panel beater kids. They didn't like me doing that. Me and my crazy walking past antics. What was I thinking?
Being thrown into a bonfire by a panel beater kid at the year twelve party when I accidentally snagged the blanket which protected us from the sight of him having public relations with his slapper girlfriend (actually—probably fair enough—save I think he was one of the ones who beat me up in year ten). I had to go run and hide in the woods for three hours until things calmed down (I landed in the one un-burned spot in the fire, jumped out and fled).
Having kids from the years below me follow me home from school chucking rocks at my back.
Repeatedly having my head slammed into a window on the bus, and having the hair on my neck burned off by a lighter.
Having various items stolen off me such as bags, stationary or clothing. Some got returned, some didn't.
Having the teacher stand in front of the class and sing insulting songs about me to the delight of my classmates. Wow, still can't believe that happened.
Basically I was a walking victim. I had a smart mouth, I had a fruity accent (apparently I sound a tad English—well I did back then), I was overweight, I had sunken eyes, I had no concept of dealing with the opposite sex after having moved to a co-ed school at the height of puberty, and I had a quick temper. Oh, and I was self deprecating. You know what? As a kid—don't do that. As an adult it's endearing. As a child it makes you a target.
I still do find it odd that if you get beaten up in the street then the assailant is charged with assault. Back then at least, you got beaten up at school and it was considered character building—or deserving.
Bullying is as bullying does. It doesn't matter how old you are, when it happened, or indeed what differences caused you to attract the fell attention of those that like to inflict pain to salve their own internal discord. It still hurts years later and can colour the way you live your life ever after.
But it's been nearly 20 years now. So I should just get over it.
Besides I've been lucky since I left school. I have some class act friends. Occasionally cock heads call me a fat cunt as they speed past, but that says more about them that it says about my morbidly obese and/or vulvic qualities.
So attention bullies. I say yar boo sucks to you.
On a happy note I discovered a couple of years ago that one of the bus bullies, the one who led the others, ended up as a junkie.
Sucked in you sad little prick. I hope you die in a fucking gutter.
By the way, the reason I hate the Liberal party so much is that they are essentially well organised bullies that use their victimisation of others to their political benefit. Such as with refugees.
History will judge them and I hope harshly. Assuming we still have books to judge them with and that they haven't all been thrown on a big fire and that the only information we have is from the heavily screened and monitored internet.
Praise the leader!
[Nananananananana Leader! Nananananananana Leader! Leader! Leader! Leader!]