Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Bullying Too

My daughter Erin has not had anymore trouble with bullies so far but it got me thinking about some of those I came across in my school days and made me examine some of the things I did which I am not all too proud of. I’ll state at the outset that I wasn’t a bully – take a look at the photo of me on my first day of school and I hope you’ll agree I didn’t look like one.

I went to School with a kid called Clive. He was comparatively small and certainly a little eccentric when most of us were playing humpo bumpo, British bulldog or chasey, he spent the play time pretending he was driving around in a magic motorcar. The tough kids picked on him mercilessly and the others like me who wanted to fit in laughed and made fun of him just so that we wouldn’t be on the outer. I remember one year I got invited to his birthday party but I didn’t tell Mum about the invitation because I didn’t want to go. As far as I can remember nobody went. What a horrible thing to do to a kid and I am ashamed looking back that I bowed to peer pressure even though at the time I didn’t know what it was.

Eventually Clive snapped and during one art class he picked up a Stanley knife and sliced another kids calf muscle open and I remember feeling sick looking at the exposed muscle. I often wonder what happened to Clive, all I know is that he didn’t go onto Burwood High School like the rest of us.

There was another kid, Andrew Patience, who gave me a hard time for a while. One day he swung a punch at me and I saw red, chasing him around the school ground. Fortunately for him I didn’t catch him, or maybe fortunately for me because I don’t know what I would have done if I had grabbed him. Andrew went on to become a successful sculptor and stone mason and we became reasonable mates during high school, whilst not close we got on OK from that day forward. I actually caught up with him 18 months ago at a school reunion and he’s a good guy.

There was another kid who lived up the road from us in Massey Street and one day after school he came into my front yard and decided that he would practice a judo throw but tossing me over his shoulder. I remember that it hurt and I picked myself up, rushed around to the backyard, grabbed a handful of stones, jumped on my bike and pedalled as hard as I could back into the front yard taking aim and knocking his front tooth out with a stone. He went crying home to his mother who then came down and told my Mum a version of the story. I think Mum and Dad ende up having to pay for the tooth repair.

Later on in High School whilst walking home one day I was approached by a kid who was a couple of years ahead of me. He asked me what the time was and when I looked at my watch I was embarrassed to find it was on upside down. When he noticed he punched me in the nose and just walked off. I didn’t take that route home ever again.

Even on holiday at Corowa one Christmas there was a kid who was interested in my sister. He was a local and some of them thought that they had the right to continue to run the town and gave us outsiders a hard time. The fact that he liked my sister didn’t save me this day when walking on my own to the pool, he did the old bully push and shove and also punched me in the face. I took it without flinching, turning the other cheek. On that occasion I regret not taking a swing back at him.

So to Clive I apologise for not going to your birthday party. To the others who hit me, I wish I’d had the courage to hit back because it might have saved some other kids from copping the same sort of crap.

No comments: