Bullying the Bullies

Bullies have existed ever since man was first hatched. They are as much a part of life as taxes, death, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Bullies come in all colors and genders, and they exist in all areas and occupations. Just about all of us will encounter a bully or two along the way, or perhaps we will be the bully. In any event, being a very shy boy with extremely low self esteem, I was a bullied a few times growing up. The first time was in elementary school, and that ended when i finally had enough and punched the boy in the jaw who had punched me first, and that ended that. That’s one thing about bullies, if you can muster up the courage and confront them, they usually slink away and go on to pick on some other victim.

There was another occasion in junior high where I was not so bold and though it didn’t end with me having to confront the bully, or getting beat up, I nonetheless look back and realize that I wish I had confronted him as I wouldn’t have felt so intimated and embarrassed in front of my classmates for not having the courage to confront him. I should add that Robert was about three years older and a head taller than the rest of us(obviously schooling wasn’t his strong suit) and he was about as ugly as he was mean with a pockmarked face and a MOE hairstyle. I can understand my being scared of Robert back then, and many times over the years I’ve had the crazy thought of meeting up with him and settling the score. Oddly enough when getting my hair cut one day, as the hairdresser and I were talking about school I mentioned the bully Hoyle and strangely enough, she knew him, and said he was not doing very well. Ahhh, perhaps just Karma at work.

Many years later, there was a family from out of state that moved into the neighborhood. Let’s just say that they were a bunch of good old boys. One of the boys named Roger was the type that liked to pick on the younger boys in the neighborhood, and one of the victims was my brother Rick. He wasn’t the only one that Roger would take advantage of however as any boy that he would catch alone would oftentimes receive a smack or two. I couldn’t do anything about it since I was a few years older than Roger and it wouldn’t have really fixed anything other than me becoming the bully and giving him a thrashing. Besides, it would have probably gotten me in trouble with my parents, and that really wasn’t my nature.

One day when my brother, two neighbor boys who lived next door, and a boy up the street were hanging out with me, they started talking about how Roger would pick on them, and they wanted to get back at him. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I told them that the next time you encounter Roger and he starts acting up against one of you, if you could all get up your courage, stick together and take him on, you would put an end to his bullying. I told them that you might take a few hits and licks from him, but if you all work together you could put an end to his bullying as he would know that if he picks on one of you, that you would all stick together and confront him. I should also mention that the boys mentioned were all a few years younger and much smaller than Roger. As you might imagine, one day the inevitable happened.

It was up in the schoolyard alley when Roger appeared and started to pick on Georgie, one of the smallest boys, and went over and punched him for no reason. The four boys all got together and went towards Roger as he started making fists and boasting, egging them on. Roger was feeling his oats and probably thinking that one, two or four, they’re all boys that he had pummeled from time to time, so now he would just pummel them all at one time. As the boys moved in on Roger, he started backing up towards the fence, keeping all of them in front of them. He laid one on Georgie, and this seemed to incite his brother Eddie and the other boys as they all started throwing punches in all directions at Roger. I could suddenly see the look of fear on Roger’s face as he was getting hit from all directions, and most likely realized that he had bitten off more than he could handle. After a few minutes of being punched, kicked and otherwise humiliated Roger broke away and ran towards the house. One of the girls from down the street saw what was going on and told me that ‘it was terrible’. Perhaps, but you really can’t play nice with bullies, and besides, it took care of the problem.

There was never a problem with Roger after that, as we didn’t actually see him much for a while, and when he finally did show, he seemed to have a much different attitude. Of course the situation could have become a tit for tat affair as Roger had several brothers, but fortunately it didn’t, perhaps because my oldest brother Tom had a bit of a reputation. Anyway, the issue was resolved. While it may not always involve a physical response to a bully, it does seem that you have to eventually confront a bully or a group of bullies as they will only escalate their tactics until they are confronted. When you see today’s headlines, you see bullies all over the place, but there doesn’t seem to be the will to confront them as politics oftentimes gets in the way. Whether on a small scale such as dealing with our neighborhood bully, or bullies on a much grander scale, it seems that they must eventually be confronted and dealt with. The question is, who has the courage to deal with the bullies that we see all around us today?