Wednesday, October 13, 2010

...You are Definitely a Jackass...

“Jackass” is not a word I throw around a lot. 

Mostly because I’m a fan of Abraham Maslow, so I’d like to think that even the biggest jerk in the vicinity is really just heartsick and unfulfilled. But sometimes, some people are just losers.

In the second grade, I was terrorized by a trio of bullies.

The boy bullied me because, I would imagine, he was angry about being 30, looking 50, and being in the third grade. Well, okay he was only about 12 but he did look like a hardened old man. He had giant hands and muscles. And probably some tattoos, though I can’t be sure about those. But trust me, he was big and mean and old. This was back when they would actually make you repeat a grade for not doing well. And since all he ever did in class was sleep, punch the nearest kid, or throw books at the teacher’s head, I don’t imagine he had much time to focus on his studies.

The girl bullied me because she liked the boy. I guess she thought he would like her, too if she kicked around his favorite target: me. You would have thought that they would have liked each other anyway just because they had so much in common. She was old and mean, too. She started the school year in the fifth grade and within two months was dropped back two grades to the third. And since I think some teachers secretly like to humiliate kids, this fact was made public to us on her first day in class.

Now there I was: six years old, small for my age and in a classroom split with second and third graders, and regularly pointed out as the smartest kid in the class.

Bully meet your victim for the year.

The second girl that bullied me was friends with the first girl. I think jumping me on the playground was a bonding activity for them.

Second girl’s mom came up to the school one day and it was like an episode of Good Times. Her mom put it all out there in front of everyone: they were poor, very poor. She worked two sometimes three jobs to take care of them since her husband (Second girl’s dad) had died. She had six kids and she was tired. Second girl was the worst of the lot, always giving her trouble and causing her grief. Why was she always starting trouble?

I tried to have a little sympathy for Second Girl. After some conversations with my dad, I recognized her as a victim of her circumstances but also a willing participant in her eventual downfall.

I approached her one day on the playground to discuss my theory and offer my help in developing a strategy to overcome her situation.

She was less than receptive.

And by “less than receptive” I mean, she started beating me like I owed her money.

You ever see one of those cartoons where a person takes a right hook and their whole body whirls a complete 360 to the right, then they take a left hook and whirl a complete 360 to the left? Okay, well that was me. If my toes had been pointed down she could have screwed me into the sidewalk.

I was confused, disoriented, and disappointed. My attempt to empathize had been met with a resistance I hadn’t planned for. I considered my options for an exit plan and decided to surprise her with one good swing and then run off.

Thankfully I had my lunchbox. And thankfully lunchboxes were made out of metal then. Oh, and thankfully my mom had a bought a really cute metal lunchbox with molded Disney designs on it.

I landed that lunchbox square on the side of her face. I was pretty banged up but at least I didn’t spend the next few days with the shape of Cinderella embedded on my cheek.

Surprisingly there was never any retaliation. The boy moved on to bullying other kids and his groupies followed him.

Maybe I wasn’t a fun target anymore, or maybe they wanted to expand their horizons. Maybe they were afraid of my lunchbox or hated Disney movies and decided if they were going to risk being branded again, it would be with something cooler like Jem, Voltron, or Transformers.

In the end, I think I learned that some people do mean things just because they are mean people, and they believe that being different justifies their mean actions.

These people are wrong.

I mean, really, how hard is it to do the right thing?

I don’t care that you were poor, or your mom was tired, or you got held back in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades.

If you “think,” speak and act with the intention to physically hurt or emotionally harm another person, then you are simply a jackass.

There is never a reason to do mean things to people because of who they are- not color, gender, what they look like, who they love, or where they come from.

And there is never a reason to do mean things because of who you are, or who you believe you are- based on color, gender, what you look like, who you love or where you come from.

You don’t deserve sympathy or compassion or consideration. You cannot be justified. You are a putz.

Years later in high school, I ran into Second Girl and she was carrying a toddler and had one in the oven.

I heard the boy had been killed after being struck by a car but I find it hard to believe that any car out there could do damage to him because, I’m telling you, this kid was built like a tank.

The whereabouts of (first) Girl remain unknown. When I was much younger and the subject came up my immediate reaction was, “I hope she’s dead.” But I’ve matured. These days, I’m more likely to just hope that she didn’t reproduce.

The world is already too full of losers, jerks, and jackasses.

Another weird story for this week's song~
 I guess he meant it when he said "Hypnotize U" because this song ended up being stuck in my head against my will. Honestly, that weird Letterman performance was added to my list of reasons to be a little nervous about the upcoming CD release, but I've since heard a better quality version and it's not so bad. And the lyrics (posted on the BBC blog) are actually kind of nice.

The problem is I mostly hear this song in pieces. I either keep hearing that weird "oogh-oogh-oooogh" thing in the background, or "20's, 50's, 5's, 10's" which is signature Daft Punk for sure, or I just keep hearing  "touch it girl, touch it girl, touch it girl, ahhh" (and if "it" is what I think it is, based on a picture I came across not too long ago*, well alright you convinced me!)

Or if you're feeling brave, watch the scary Letterman performance

*Well the mic is in his hand, so what's that in his pocket?

Maybe, he's just happy to see me :-)

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