When I was in high school I was picked on quite a bit. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. There were usually three or so ‘regular’ bullies who did not-so-nice things to me. That line from Big Robot Dinosaur “hit in the head with a half-eaten orange” is based on true events. I don’t remember the names of all of the bullies but I do remember Ernie. How pathetic is it that I was on the bullied side of a pair with an Ernie in it? The answer is: pretty. Years later, I bumped into him at a party. This was in the heyday of the Thickets and I don’t really know what his deal was but I got the impression that he thought I was now ‘cool’ and so he came up to talk to me. He said something to the effect of “hey you remember me?” to which I replied “Yes. I remember you used to throw rocks at me while I waited for the bus after school.” Now the best part of this very short conversation was what he said next “No, that wasn’t me, man.” Needless to say I brushed him off, and that was satisfying to me, if petty.
There was another guy who used to shove me around in the halls because well…I don’t know. Because he could. Because his mean old man burned cigars into his forehead. Because I never made any attempt to stop him from doing it. Except for one time when he was leaning on a locker with his buddy and as I walked by he stuck his foot out to trip me. I saw it coming from a mile away (that’s a dog mile, mind) but instead of just walking over top I hooked his foot with mine and pulled. He fell on his ass. I smirked to myself and kept walking without a word or a look. I heard him get up behind me and start running toward me. Now let me tell you about a little schoolyard judo I learned back in elementary school (where I was quite the hellraiser and was chased around quite a bit – and rightly so): if someone is chasing you, all you have to is drop down and curl into a little ball just before they reach you and they will likely trip over you. As I heard this bully (let’s call him Pattie because I can) coming up behind me I thought wouldn’t that just be the icing on the cake to do that, but I decided to err on the side of caution and just let him get his shove in so the whole incident would be over and done with and I could get to fourth period Socials or whereever the hell I was going. I was not into confrontation. I would never defend/stick up for myself against bullies in high school. I called it pacifism. I guess I kind of learned that from my dad – not because he was a pacifist, but rather because even if I was right and he was wrong, I simply could not win an argument with him, so there was no point in trying. Just take your lumps and get on with whatever you were getting on to. I think that coupled with my burgeoning hippie philosophies made me an easily and readily available target for bullies in high school. Luckily, Chris Woods didn’t have the same restraint. One day he was with me when Pattie struck, and as I recall Chris grabbed Pattie and slammed him against a locker and said something to the effect of “if you touch him again I’ll kick your ass.” I don’t remember the exact words. But Pattie never bothered me again and so Chris became my hero. He remains my hero to this day, but more so now because of his strong and public advocacy for furry porn. Shine on, you crazy diamond.