“Get up, porky.”
I was incoherent. But I’ll remember those three words for my whole life.
My head had just been smashed into a metal locker. And I was bleeding.
“I said, get up.”
I wasn’t getting up. I wasn’t even close to being able to. I was seeing little stars in my vision. I don’t know if I had a concussion, but damn, if this is what it felt like, I didn’t want one ever again.
I was just a 6th grader, packing my backpack in a crowded hallway with my locker open, minding my business, when I was pushed and my head smashed against my locker door.
I felt a kick to my side. It hadn’t been as painful as the head injury I had just sustained, but it knocked the breath out of me momentarily.
I lay there, crouched in a crowded hallway, as everyone walked past a dude kicking me. I remember much about this exchange, especially the people walking by. I fully realized that they weren’t gonna help me, because they wanted to see me get my ass throttled.
It was middle school. I was the fat kid with glasses. With daily comments about my man tits, my fat cheeks, my thick glasses, and my muffin top, it was only a matter of time before I was going to get my ass kicked and today, I was on the radar of the biggest bully in my grade.
So to say I wasn’t surprised when I was bleeding in the hallway that day was an understatement. To say I was surprised on how he got me was. He waited until I was on the floor digging into my locker to push me into the door. Then he started kicking me when I was down. But that’s how bullies work. I did the hard work for him so all he had to do was take advantage. Before he could get another kick in, a teacher stopped him. But it was of little comfort to me at the time.
And while this horrific day still rings true in my head, I’m glad he did what he did.
Because some 4 years later, I grew to 6’4″ 210lbs. I had been bullied all throughout my middle school and early high school years. But one day, it stopped.
Not because I hadn’t gotten any less nerdy, but because I had gotten bullied enough that I had nothing left to lose, and I made sure every person that had bullied me understood that.
But here’s the thing. This blog post is not intended to gain sympathy for me in my awkward and sometimes downright shitty adolescence.
It’s sole purpose is to show why society needs a bully, and why when you’ve had enough, still the best time honored situation to dealing with a bully is to punch him back in his fucking mouth.
The Need For The Bully
Bullies have been around since the dawn of humanity. There was always someone bigger, meaner, and more ruthless to take your shit from you. And as we have evolved into a more civilized species, bullying has taken on other forms. Some 30 plus years ago, when my middle school days were littered with inevitable pointing, laughing, beatings, jokes, comments and other not so pleasant actions taken in order to douse me in shame, nowadays it’s more of the cyber kind, with the same types of insults being hurled through the computer screen as opposed to the hallways.
The need for physical violence to take on the bully went from fists to guns during Columbine. A terrible tragedy of two boys who didn’t have proper parenting and who decided to murder the bully, a cost that is still felt today as we see school shootings happening.
But instead of empowering the meek to go after the bully in more constructive ways, we empowered the State to sanitize the system so that there were no bullies or bullied, but the socialism of the school, where there is no empowerment, only ceilings.
So began the War on the Bully.
There was a huge movement in the early 2000’s that has culminated today with the attack by society on bullies of every type. The now systematized shame towards the bully has not curtailed the bullying, it has simply put the bully pulpit in the hands of our illustrious elected leaders, teachers, administrators, and other adults who make decisions to protect everyone, even when those decisions affect everyone negatively.
“We must protect our children from bullies” has become the rallying cry for parents who refuse to teach and parent their kids about the importance of the reaction to bullies being an important part of mitigating them.
I believe fathers have truly dropped the ball in teaching their kids about focusing anger towards positive activities.
As we moved through the past three decades, I have seen on alarming issue that continues to come up and that is that parents have willingly given up the raising of their kids to the State. With all of these cultural movements throughout the 60’s to the 90’s, the State has subverted the family structure, becoming the de facto bully in all of this.
In short, the bullies have become the bullied. And the new bullies have men with guns.
When I was bullied, as many children were, my mother tried to reason with school administrators and teachers that her son was being bullied. All this did was make the bullying increase, for I was the kid who’s mom tattled on the offenders. My father gave better advice. “Punch them in the mouth.”
So I did. Even if it wasn’t literal. I stopped taking shit from the bullies. I stepped up and either physically or verbally jabbed them when they came close. I wasn’t going to fuck around anymore.
Why Columbine was important was it showed that how kids were dealing with bullies, and how parents weren’t helping their kids, in a violent manner was not the answer that these kids were looking for. But without guidance for anger and frustration, all it did was boil over into violence on a large scale.
Killing the bully does nothing and has tragic consequences. Beating up the bully, gaining psychological advantage over him, is where the kids need to be directed. The bully provides a challenge to the child. A challenge of either beating them physically, or like I did, beat them out verbally and mentally. And when a child is challenged and they overcome the challenge, it’s a lesson well learned.
Taking the Power Back
Some of the best lessons I’ve learned are when I was getting my ass kicked.
I know of no person who didn’t have these sentiments that didn’t turn out to be a stronger individual after they got bullied.
It is empowerment to fight back and beat up the bully.
When we give kids real world challenges to overcome, as in life when they become an adult, something clicks. They understand through the harsh lessons that this is how to overcome and grow in life.
The problems with this is that parents stopped caring, and gave overreaching authority to teachers to try and be surrogate parents. I saw it in my days in my child’s PTA, when parents don’t care, kids have no where to turn but to teachers, who have no time for the kids because there are so many. So it’s left to school counselors, administrators, and other authority figures to try and reign in all of this, and they’re overwhelmed.
All because parents dropped the ball. As with the teacher who finally stopped the beating, they can’t expect to be parents at school with no parents working for the kids at home.
But it starts with the parents teaching their kids about overcoming challenges on their own with help from those that love them.
I didn’t start learning to ride my bike until my parents made me get on a bike and start peddling. I hit a mailbox and was broken and bruised, but I learned to ride a bike and I was off to the races for most of my childhood.
I didn’t learn to fight back until I fought back, with my parents watching me do it, and empowered myself to take control of a situation with an assertive move.
The world needs bullies. But more importantly, the world needs men and women to teach people that being bullied is not an excuse to act the victim, but a reason for action against an oppressive force.
If a child can’t stand up for themselves as a kid, they won’t stand up for themselves as an adult.
The pain of being bullied is gone when you fight back. I don’t feel sorry for myself for being bullied. In fact, it was a necessary evolution in the man I’ve become today. And I fought back against the very forces that we are trying to destroy.
We don’t want to remove a challenge from someone’s life just because it’s hard to overcome. We have to stop trying to save everyone and instead, give them a reason to FIGHT in life.
I see many people who’ve lost limbs in war, who’ve had diseases or defects overcome incredible odds to do amazing things. And that’s what puts the human in humanity. Overcoming difficulties, punching them in the face, and not wrapping the world in bubble wrap to protect.
People all need these challenges, but more importantly, they need parents who show them these lessons and let them fail.
It’s the only way to get stronger.
The bullies stopped as soon as I fought back. And fought back I did. I wasn’t bullied again.
The magic recipe? A commitment to yourself and to not being a victim.
It’s the way you grow to become a person who doesn’t take any shit.
And I think we need a society with more of those types of people.
Adversity is a necessity in life. And nothing is more adverse than a bully who you need to punch in the mouth.
Overcome and adapt.