I enjoy memes, because they are a way to find out about others – and sometimes yourself – in an interesting way, without having to write or read a boring autobiography. I also think answers to questions are more revealing than prose, because they elicit specific information rather than whatever the writer consciously or subconsciously wants to present. Having now mounted my defense of memes, let’s get to the business at hand.
Am I a bad person, if I’m happy to know that the bully did not live a full life?
I believe people are generally good or bad based on what they do, not what they think. Having said that, it depends on the level of bullying and what is meant by “live a full life.” There are certainly some things that a bully could do that would lead me to be happy if he shuffled off this mortal coil, but outside of murder, rape, etc., I would not wish death on someone. I would, however, be happy to learn that karma or the law acted to cause a serious bully to have a bad job, go to jail, become homeless, etc. I might want to forgive and forget, but I am an imperfect person and would be perfectly happy to hear of a little cosmic payback.
Were you bullied as a kid?
Not generally. There were a few times I was treated badly by some older kids, but it was more of a stop following us around thing than a bullying thing. My dad told me to avoid a fight when possible, but that there are times when there is no other way to resolve something. I tell my kids, in cases of physical aggression only, to ask the person (be that a sibling or third party) to stop twice, and only if that doesn’t work to respond in kind (or “do what you gotta do”). It is a hard line to draw and to walk, but I simply do not believe anyone has to accept physical abuse without defending themselves. Of course most of my wife’s friends think I am a caveman (and not the Geico kind) in this regard.
Was bullying as rampant in your schools, as they were in mine?
Probably, although I was largely oblivious to it at the time. If I bullied people in any way, it was by being unaware of their suffering at the hands of bullies that I may have been hanging out with.
What happened to the bullies in your school?
A couple of them are in jail, actually. None of my close friends were bullies, so I don’t know about the rest of them.
Was it just the boys, or did the girls bully too?
I don’t know about at my school, but as a parent of girls, I am convinced that bullying by girls against other girls is much, much worse than between boys. It’s verbal, as opposed to physical, and much harder to detect. If two little boys are fighting on the playground, it’s obvious, and they generally forget about it by the time school’s out. If you see one little girl whisper something to another, you have no idea what she said. And the adverse effects seem to linger longer. I think schools need to be much more proactive where girl to girl bullying is concerned.
Were you the bully?
Not to my knowledge. I have generally taken up for people when I feel they are being taken advantage of. When I was younger, I was less aware of that sort of thing, but the older I get the better my bully radar seems to be.
Bonus: Great country song.
Now to tag some bloggers. I’m going to dive into my new reading list, along with a few long time pals. Bob Meets World, Nick O’Neill, D’Arcy Norman, Nancy White, Blonde 2.0, Dave Wallace, Steven Streight and Thomas Hawk (who I think got beat up unfairly in the comments to a recent Scoble post).