Bully For Me

Posted: August 22, 2013 in Community, Family
Tags: , , , , , , ,

boots

Every once in a while, something happens to us that changes our lives. Whether it is a moment of enlightenment, of clarity, or something profoundly humbling, it seems like our life path is forever altered. These are times when we can look back and say ‘I remember when everything changed for me…the exact moment!’ So, although these moments are rare enough, we all have them.

One of these moments for me happened in Grade 10. We had moved three times since the beginning of Grade 9, and I was in my third school. My marks reflected this. They were mediocre at best. I really had no friends to speak of. And there were a lot of mean kids in this particular school.

Going to home room, which for me was the music room, was the worst. You had to walk through a gauntlet of tough kids who would kick me in the shins with their steel-toed boots. My bruises had bruises by the end of my first week. I wasn’t scared of these guys, mind you. But I wore sneakers, and I was but one to their twenty.

After a week of this, I needed to do something. I wasn’t going to put up with it any more. My dad saw me stewing in the living room, and asked me what was wrong. I showed him my legs, and he was stunned. He asked me how this had happened, and I told him all about it. He was silent for a few minutes, and I was wondering just what he was going to say. Would he be angry with me? Would he admonish me for not saying something sooner?

Instead, he asked me what I wanted to do about it. I really didn’t know. I could still change schools, he said. It wasn’t too late. But this school was the closest to our home. So that wasn’t an option. We could go see the principal to see if we could find a quick solution, he offered. No, I thought, that more than likely wouldn’t work. I was an outsider, and destined to remain so. I could tell that he didn’t really like these solutions either, and we were leading to the inevitable, and we reached the conclusion together.

We went and bought me some steel-toed boots.

Now, before I get to what happened next, I have to say that, today, this would not be the way to deal with things. Bullies today are sophisticated, and relentless. Back in our days, bullies could be challenged and stopped, for the most part. We need awareness today, and we need unrelenting support for kids who are bullied now. It truly is a serious issue that requires action now.

However, this was 1979.

I went to school wearing my new boots. I tried to scuff them up some, but they were just too new. I felt like I had wooden shoes on. My dad told me that I should kick them where they were kicking me, and that eventually, they would stop. I wasn’t so sure. But, at least we had a plan.

As I prepared to walk the gauntlet, it was apparent that these kids could see my boots, and they were about to rise to the occasion. ‘What’s this?’ the group seemed to ask itself….’defiance?’. The largest of them squared himself in the hallway, and with his eyes, defied me to just try to kick him in the shins.

I was a hefty kid then, but I was a lot more mobile than I looked. I had played sports all my life, and could move for my size. And so, faced with this challenge, I did something that, while not quite to script, ended up as my Life Changing Moment. I kicked him squarely in the raisins.

It was like watching a balloon deflate. He sunk to his knees. Another of his friends was about to challenge the whole thing, and had I not moved, I think things would have turned out differently. Him, I got in the knee. That was it. That was all I needed to do. I was shaking, quivering with both fear and anger. ‘Anybody else?’ I asked. Apparently not.

The rest of the school year, for the most part, was pure vanilla. A forgettable year in a forgettable school. We moved that summer to Winnipeg, and the rest, as they say, is history. I learned to confront my protagonists that day. And I survived.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing, and much worse, is still happening today. There is a movement afoot on Facebook that helps people fight bullying. Join it. I implore you. But, more than anything, plug in to your kid’s lives, right now. Find out if they are being bullied. Also, find out if THEY are bullies. We need to stop this nonsense. Little bullies grow up to be big bullies. Let’s change them now.

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Comments
  1. I understand being bullied. I only happened for a short while, but it was difficult to handle. A similar approach was implemented in the bullying that we endured as well. Between that and a solid punch to the nose…we showed them who was boss.. I am certainly not proud of this. .Eventually though, we need to do more education to let the message out. The courts also need to deal with this.

    • furryguy says:

      I agree wholeheartedly….I used to think we could talk people into kindness, and some people can be….but there are just some that don’t and will never ‘get it’….

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