I got bullied in high school. Not as much as that poor girl in BC (and I am by no means trying to belittle that case), but by a few pieces of human shit in particular, and pretty much only in Grade 9. I hated nearly every minute of Grade 9. I won’t name any names because bullshit is best forgotten. Be warned: F-bombs follow.
This one guy… let’s call him Dicknose, because he needs a name. In Grade 9, he was in my English class. He was at least a year older than the rest of us, possibly more than that. He was a skinny, beady-eyed prick with long metal-guy hair. I don’t remember what I may have done to attract his baleful gaze, but he laid into me pretty much every day for that whole year and made my school experience a terrifying and awkward hell. Most of my memories of him are vague and unpleasant – just him talking shit at me for no reason other than because I was there and he happened to notice me. But there is one memory that still burns fresh: the time he gripped me by the adam’s apple and held me against the book cupboards at the back of the room, choking me for what felt like a goddamn hour. I don’t remember what I might have done that triggered that particular event. Possibly nothing. The guy was an asshole. The choking thing wasn’t an isolated incident, but it does stand out particularly clearly.
Gym class was bad. I was, and still am, very shy, and refused to change my clothes in front of all those strange dudes who already didn’t like me. I wore my gym clothes under my normal clothes like Superman – not a smart move on my part. When I had my gym clothes, anyway. The teacher gave me a bottom-row locker – three times, someone kicked the lock off and stole my uniform. Or threw all my books in the shower. It was a team of merciless dicks doing this, a clique of the “social elite” – let’s call them the Junior Bees – who were each and every one bastards, and I hated them all. My best friend, who was in that class with me, says it all stopped the day I snapped and threw one of the pricks against a locker and threatened to kill every last one of the bastards. I don’t remember doing that, but they did indeed stop fucking with me at some point. I ended up flunking that class and had to take it again the next year, and almost failed it again that year.
In History class, I sat in front of this mean little female person who nicknamed me “Bonehead” and hissed rude, insulting invectives at me every opportunity she got. She called me “Bonehead,” so I called her “Bitchy Bitch.” That went on for some time, until I gave her a Steven Tyler full-page picture from a metal magazine I was reading at the time. I didn’t give a shit about Steven Tyler. There were interviews in those magazines with Anthrax and Metallica and Megadeth, and that’s why I bought them. The photos of Aerosmith and Whitesnake and Stryper and Cinderella and Poison, I didn’t give a tin shit about those. But the mean little female person seemed to like them, and those pictures bought me reprieve from the torture.
There was a girl on my bus – let’s call her, um… Lady Wallflower – who was needlessly cruel and nasty. I don’t know what her deal was, but she was a total jerk who never failed to let me know that she was rejecting me, regardless of the fact that I had no fucking interest in her. My only interest was in trying to determine what it was that she found so loathsome about me. I don’t know how I initially offended her, but she took it way personally and went out of her way to be rude to me. To this day, I don’t know why. I had a lousy haircut, teenage acne and maybe didn’t always smell the greatest, but I wasn’t really any different from anyone else. And neither was she. She wasn’t like the hottest girl you ever saw who had to develop a nasty personality as a self-defense mechanism. She was an ordinary-looking girl with poofy bangs, the same as everyone else at the time.
She had almost the exact same shitty attitude as another guy in my English class. Not the skinny metal asshole – this guy wore nice shirts and had a “cool” hairdo with frosted spikes. And he would ask me questions like “When is the last time a girl said anything to you besides, ‘eeww’?” Real charming guy. My best friend, who went to school with the guy since like kindergarten, thought that Mr. Spiky-hair was an alright guy, mostly, but that he had a weird sense of humour. I never got that from him. All I got was that he was a rude dickhole.
Again, I hated nearly every fuckin’ minute of Grade 9. Except the best-friend parts. Those were great. That guy is still my best friend to this day.
I’m not completely innocent here myself. Kinda shames me to admit it, but I’ve bullied a few people. I pushed a guy off a front porch at a party once because I thought I was being funny. It wasn’t funny. Nobody laughed. The guy had just had some kind of surgery on his chest. I think he had been in a car accident and was lucky to be alive.
I apologized to him years later, and he appreciated the gesture I guess, but it was still a dick move on my part and I still feel bad about it. I felt bad enough about that one particular incident that it made me look up a few other people I had wronged and apologize to them also. That doesn’t make me any less of an asshole. Just makes me a repentant asshole.
As for the other assholes… well, the Junior Bees grew up to do exactly what all Junior Bees grow up to do. They became modestly successful at whatever and continue to do exactly as their parents did before them.
Lady Wallflower, I imagine, came to a similar fate. She’s probably married with kids and lives in some suburb somewhere and has a job at a bank or something.
Bitchy Bitch only lasted one or maybe two years of high school before she got knocked up and dropped out. She may have never finished high school.
Mr. Spiky-hair may have made something of himself for all I know. Of all the dicks that tormented me in Grade 9, he was at least somewhat interesting.
Dicknose was my biggest tormentor, and I saved him for last for a good reason. Dicknose is proof, to me, that the whole “karma” thing is kind of bullshit. I’m not saying people shouldn’t behave as though karma was real – I firmly believe that people should be decent to one another, not because they expect rewards for doing so, but because they know that it’s the right way to live. But Dicknose proves to me that karma belongs in the same sack as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
Dicknose stayed in the same small town. Dicknose got a job somewhere doing blue-collar work for a living wage. I used to see Dicknose at the bar all the time, back when the good “party bar” was still running. Dicknose probably still goes to one of the small crap ones that are operating now. Dicknose probably got married to some vile woman who squirted out a litter of unfortunate children.
The week before last, I saw on the front page of the local paper that Dicknose had won $100,000 in a lottery. If you could name one thing that best represented a “good karma” reward, for a lifetime of being nice and doing good and helping old ladies across the street, it would be winning the lottery. The guy that once tried to choke me out with his steely, cigarette-scented fingers, for no fuckin’ reason other than he was pissed off that day and I was available as his personal punching bag, won the lottery.
Either Dicknose atoned for his many, many transgressions and made up for atoning to me, personally, by extra suffering and self-sacrifice, and then added some philanthropy and general good-guy-ness to his repertoire on top of all that in order to build up enough karma to win the lottery (or will do so in the future or risk losing it all and more besides)… or karma doesn’t fuckin’ exist. Of those two explanations, which seems more likely?
Lessons to be gleaned from all of this:
- Bullying sucks. My heart goes out to the family of that poor girl in BC, and I hope that the people who drove things that far lead miserable, shitty lives of regret and guilt that poisons their every thought, and that they elect not to sire any children who would be raised in that kind of toxic environment and thus continue the cycle.
- Except in rare cases, high school shit doesn’t last. By Grade 10, most of my Grade 9 bullies had moved on.
- Karma is bullshit. Asshole bullies win lotteries. But we should still try to live as though karma was real, because being the person that treats other people decently is reward enough.