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Monday, November 25, 2013

Bullies Then and Now

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the problem of bullies in school. Being bullied, being a bully - both sides of the question has been examined over and over as it is one of the new 'cause celebres' of the sociologist set.

Don't get me wrong. Being bullied is horrible. That feeling of "What is going on here?" is so discombobulating that it can take years and years for someone to get over it.

What I think is kind of funny is that, if you ask most people today what their opinion is of this problem, they will tell you how THEY were bullied as children. I have yet to hear anyone my age say something like, "I was a horrible bully as a child. I just really like lording it over other people and it gave me a lot of satisfaction to make other cry and feel left out".

Yet everyone of us has a story about being bullied and I find that interesting.

I can think of the times when I was the odd girl out at Christ the King. Shoot, a lot of my perpetrators are now friends of mine on Facebook (at their instigation) which I find hilarious.

What really sticks out in my mind, however, is the time I bullied a kid in second grade because I was so afraid that if I didn't the gaggle of horrible girls that were the Queen Bees of the Class would treat me like they treated him.

I did not step up.

Ok...granted...I was 8 but I will never forget Carl Ford's face when we all tore up his St Valentine's Day Cards because we didn't like him

Years later, when I was about two years sober, I tracked him down at a school function. I asked him to dance and I told him how sorry I was for being such a cowardly little creep back then.

To his credit, he laughed (to his credit he was THERE). He told me not to worry about it anymore, that we were just kids back then and he had been such a socially awkward dork it was no wonder no one liked him.

But then he said something I will never forget. He said, "Thank you, though, for apologizing to me. No one ever has - you are the first".

My hope is that if there are other little former creepy creeps from Christ the King School in Pleasant Hill that read my blog, they might think about finding him and apologizing themselves. I don't expect they will (I don't expect they read this blog) and I know HE doesn't expect them to but it sure would be nice, wouldn't it?

I pledge to give up beating myself up over the incident - 50 years is a long time to carry guilt for being a less than stellar Catholic when I was 8.

What I pledge to never forget is the pain I caused another human being. The minute I forget THAT, the better chance I have of doing it again.


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