So the wife and I went to Sears the other night. Before checking out I noticed a sign in the middle of the aisle. I wasn’t clever enough to take a picture of it (I wish I had). I went to Sears website today and did a screen shot of basically what the sign in the aisle said:
Sears is just the latest company, I’ve noticed, jumping one the Anti-Bullying theme. Generally speaking, I’m an Anti-Anti. I’m against any movement which is against anything. But I’ve had a hard time being Anti-the-anti-bully-movement. Why? I HATE bullies.
Let me give you a quick self-pity story.
When I was a young lad of 13/14 two things happened nearly in conjunction with each other. The first: I was TERRORIZED by this kid at my school. He made it his mission in life to be the bane of my existence. Every time he saw me he would give me a “Dead leg.” That’s where you knee someone, really hard, in the side of the thigh between front and back muscles. If you knee them correctly their leg will go numb. It hurts.
I hated this kid with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. HATED HIM. This guy wasn’t an asshole, he was an assCANYON. If we ever made eye contact, and he wasn’t able to give me a dead leg, he would menacingly smile and point at me. He always wore the same 80’s Powder Jacket. I loathed him.
The second thing that happened is the original “Karate Kid” movie was released. Ohhhhh…how this young “Daniel-son” used to stay up at night fantasying about getting a dead leg and then using the Mr. Miyagi taught “Crane Technique” and kicking my terrorizer in the face, thus securing the love and respect from my peers and, of course, the affections of the (non-existent) hot cheerleader who had befriended me. Then, while basking in the joy of being surrounded by my adoring fans I would stretch out my arm and use the force to help my foe up off the ground.
It was a brilliant plan.
So one day I was in the bathroom alone. And HE came in. I didn’t know it was he who had entered the restroom because I was using the urinal. You learn early on as a boy to not overt your eyes away from the spot on the wall right in front of you. Standing there, with my unit in my hand, this guy snuck up behind me and gave me the biggest dead leg I have ever had. I literally saw a flash of light. As his laughter reverberated off the walls of the restroom, I put “little Danny” back in my pants and decided this was my chance. I was going to Mr. Miyagi all over this guy. But instead of employing the floppy-wrist, tippy-toed, crotch exposing maneuver which is “The Crane Technique” I went a different route. I feigned a demonic possession and went after him like a spider monkey.
I distinctly remember how his face looked as I spastically flailed my arms toward him. It was not the look of fear, not even close. It was the look of confusion. He easily swatted off my attempts of hitting him. Hit me once in the stomach, knocking the wind out of me, and walked out of the bathroom.
But… he never gave me a dead leg again.
There’s a lesson there children. I’m not really sure what it is, but I’m sure there is one.
So…back to Sears. When I saw this sign that claimed that 160,000 students miss school everyday because of bullying my first thought was “who pulled that statistic out of their butt?” and then my brain said, “…Annnnnnnd I’m done” I am now officially finished being bullied about being anti-bully.
In my little, right-leaning brain, I think all we are doing to teaching kids that it’s okay to be victims. We are also redefining what a bully is. My fourteen year old arch nemesis was a bully. A few years later, the guy who made it his mission to make fun of me everyday of my Junior year was (and probably still is) a jackass. There’s a difference. How I dealt with that guy is another story for another day.
When I was a kid the purveying wisdom was “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Now it’s:
Now, to be clear, I hate bullies. I don’t have a problem teaching kids that it’s appropriate to stand together against them. But this whole “movement” has gone a little too far.
I’m anti-bully. But I’m more anti-teaching-our-kids-to-be-pansies.
LIFEZILLA: I’m not fat. My stomach is 3D.