Thursday, March 8, 2012


If you are over the age of 40--you probably remember the advice your Dad gave you when you had to deal with a bully:  "Punch him in the mouth!!  Stand up for yourself!!"  When I was in grade school I was bullied.  I was always one of the smallest kids in my class--and being a brainiac and the teachers' favorite didn't help either.  But all of that came to an end one day during recess in 8th grade.

As it usually did, the football game was divided into the Bullies and the Bullied--and on this day, the Bullies decided to play two-hand shove, rather than two hand touch.  After having been knocked to the blacktop a couple of times (and having a friend popped in the face by a forearm) I had had enough.  On the next play, I let one of the Bullies get within a couple of feet of me--and instead of trying to avoid him, I wound up and fired the ball right into his "family jewels" as hard as I could.  The ball found its target perfectly--and down went the bully.

There were threats of retalliation--but nothing ever really happened after that.  I like to think that it is because I had shown that continuing to bully me would come at a price.  (Ironically, the "recipient" of my perfect throw would become one of my best friends in high school.  And he and his wife have had a couple of kids--so apparently no "permanent damage" was done!)

But that was back in the 1980's--and kids don't have that option to deal with bullies anymore.  If I had done what I had done nowadays, I would have been threatened with expulsion--placed in in-school suspension--and sent to therapy to deal with my "anger issues".  In addition, the teachers and administrators would have held an all-school assembly where some guy with a guitar would sing songs about peace, love and understanding.  And we would have done some cheesey "team building" exercises with "people we wouldn't usually hang out with" to gain "greater understanding of each others feelings".  And, of course, we would all leave the gym feeling "empowered".

Annnnndd then the bullying would continue.  With the victims left no choice but to go home--listen to their Emo music--and sink into such a dark place that a football to the groin or a punch in the mouth is replaced by running down the bullies with your car--or bringing your Dad's hunting rifles and several hundred rounds of ammo to school to exact your revenge.

Maybe all those generations of fathers really did know best.

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