The Face of Bullying

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is my entry essay to the Bullying Competition hosted by justme626.

The world and society has changed in some ways over my life time. I have used the old terms.

The Face of Bullying

by Ben A. Vanguarde

Bullying was something, like the rest of junior high, graciously consigned to the suppressed memories section of my mind for the last fifty-some years. Lately, it’s been brought up by a certain group for its own protection and benefit. I have observed that such social engineering may dampen, but does not remove, this malaise upon society. I offer that there will be some good results produced but the lasting and ambitious promises of elimination will never be achieved.

As an example, using another social engineered cause strikingly and effectively promoted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in the 1960’s my uncle was arrested five times for drunk driving which resulted in two crashes with injuries. His license was suspended and thousands of dollars were spent on attorneys to keep him out of jail, resulting only in overnight stays. Today the penalties are much more severe, including the loss of the driver’s license for life. However, the news media remains replete with stories about death and the destruction of lives and property caused by drunk drivers.

I submit the problem of bullying is just as insidious and just as illusive to stamp out.

As an elementary and junior high student I was the tallest. I embraced my Catholic upbringing, particularly the “turn the other cheek” part which, looking back, made me a big target. I wore glasses and really, could barely see without them. My father bought me a set of boxing gloves and a speed bag, which I used for a day or two, and still had no idea how to defend myself.

Finally, I had had enough and agreed to meet my best friend, I thought, on a Saturday morning, away from our parent’s houses, to duke it out. I knew I was bigger and slightly stronger and the first two blows landed in my favor. Then he punched me, collapsing my windpipe (throat), and I had to sit down to recover my breath. The battle was considered a draw but, most importantly, no one challenged me again in elementary school.

In junior high the taunting resumed by many more boys. I suffered bullying for two years from boys much bigger and stronger down to one skinny punk named Paul. I asked a friendly teacher what I should do and he had no answers. In ninth grade I decided this would be the end of it; now, I was one of the big and strong boys. I decided I would wait for the next provocation by Paul and kill him. Not just hurt him, but strangle him with my bare hands.

I looked about for weeks but I could not find Paul or his friends. I even mildly sought them out by they remained invisible to me. After six weeks I gave up looking for Paul, after the thought occurred to me, what would happen to me if I had actually killed him? I thanked my God for protecting both of us. I never saw Paul again. By high school, the bullies were all gone. They could drop school at 16 and most did, probably to pump gas and later be drafted.

My three kids encountered bullying and I taught them to fight back. It worked, mostly, until the bullies dropped out.

This is not the end of my essay. Growing up in the same neighborhood for ten years, second to twelfth grade, I had two wacky friends, Kenny and Tommy. Kenny was pompous and thought he was descendent from a Roman emperor. Tommy struggled with his masculinity. He liked and sang “girl music” and was a bit flamboyant. Tommy cut his wrists a few times and seemed to wear the bandages as a badge. In high school Tommy and I did theatre in some productions together. I was glad because he had a car. To us, Tommy wasn’t queer but “That’s just Tommy.” Twice, I stood with him to talk down a taunting bully in high school.

My first year of engineering college was away in Melbourne while Tommy finished twelfth grade. Just before I returned I received a letter that Tommy had finally succeeded slashing his wrists. I was numb. I knew it finally ended Tommy’s pain but it created devastation for Tommy’s adoptive parents, who I knew and liked, but never went to visit afterwards.

After nearly flunking out of engineering college, I went to our local junior college and, for some reason which escapes me now, joined a fraternity. Once, some fraternity brothers I did not know well invited me to go with them to nearby Dania Beach. They were headed to the parking lot of a queer bar to beat up some queers. “We’ve done it before. The police don’t mind.”

Despite the revulsion, my mind painted an imaginary picture of peaceful Tommy walking out of a bar into the darkened parking lot to be beaten by these thugs. That is the face of bullying.

This essay was prepared for the Bullying Contest hosted by justme626, a friend and respected author. Peruse her work when you have the time.

Please click I LIKE IT before you leave.


Submitted: November 27, 2011

© Copyright 2021 Ben A Vanguarde. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Christian W

Check out my sad short story Running Angry, it wont take long to read and if you like it, click i like it lol

Mon, November 28th, 2011 3:27am

Author
Reply

I referred you to a friend.

Sat, December 3rd, 2011 8:05am

justme626

:'( i know how it feels to lose someone like that... O lost three frineds to that b/c of bulllying, i personally think this was extreamly touching and very real. i am so sorry about your friend.

Mon, November 28th, 2011 4:44am

Author
Reply

Your comments are very kind.

Tue, November 29th, 2011 3:02am

bobthebuilder

Well done. Most definitely gets a like from me.

Thu, December 22nd, 2011 12:55am

Author
Reply

You are kind.

Wed, December 28th, 2011 9:16am

Jbortti

Very sad one. But I just have to say that you can find a way to end up bullying by having the parents' participation in the school.

Wed, December 28th, 2011 6:49pm

Author
Reply

When my oldest son was young (early 1980's) I went to the school and the dean just blew it off by saying bullying was just a random act that the administration did not know about it. I suggested that this 30 year old should go find the kid and kick the kid's ass and they did not have to know about that either. He threatened to call the cops on me and ordered me off he property. I hope attitudes have now changed.

I heard a commotion at the bus stop behind our house and drove around the block because our daughter had been having trouble with another girl; they were in 8th grade. The two girls were squared off to fight and I noticed the other girl's father just sitting in his car. I approached the two girls and stood between them, telling my daughter to get in the car and the other to leave. Her dad squared off before me as if to fight!

As he clenched his fists I relaxed because I remembered he was a fireman and I knew he would lose his job if he was convicted of assaulting me. Getting the parents involved does not always work.

Fri, December 30th, 2011 2:55pm

Obdulia

sad and very touching :( i like it though :) i would apprecate it if you would check out my story ^_^

Fri, June 1st, 2012 5:46pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for the kind comments.

Sat, June 2nd, 2012 6:25am

PokePal

Niiiiice!XD
Good job on this!*Clicks like it*...peace.
^_^ V

Fri, June 1st, 2012 10:01pm

Author
Reply

You are very kind. Thanks.

Sat, June 2nd, 2012 6:26am

EdwardJBradleySr

Ben A Vangarde:

Just finished reading all of your postings. Decided to comment on this one.

Interesting, thoughtful, meaningful, filled with unusual insight, well written and presented.

Gave it an "I Like It" vote. As with your other postings. All well deserved.

Yes! Bullying is a serious problem. A form of psychological and emotional terrorism. It never really ends. As bullies are everywhere, take all forms and can be found in any age group. The most destructive and abusively sadistic, among them, are older, more successful and misplaced in positions of authority.

There is an effective and non-verbal way to deal with them. Especially for young people who are healthy enough. Martial arts training (karate, judo, tae kwan do, etc.) can make a previously easy victim seem more intimidating to a prospective bully, victimizer and/or predator.

This speaks to the complimentary aspects of predatory personalities and the personalities upon whom they prey. In other words, every predator needs their prey and vice versa.

Predators never seem to want to marry or associate with one another unless they may partner-up to form a predatory pack of 2 or more. Like lions, jackals, hyenas, bureaucrats, party politicians, organized crime figures, etc.

Martial arts training imparts to someone the inherent qualit(y/ies) associated with personal strength, fearlessness and the ability to fight back. Most especially, for the person who is young(er), smaller/shorter and/or not phyically fit or imposing. Of course, to avail oneself of this, a person has to be healthy enough for this kind of physical regimen.

Yoga would be a less rigorous alternative. Focusing the mind and providing other healthful benefits.

It does not mean the martial arts student/practitioner becomes a predator or sadistic themselves. Can be quite to the contrary. Bullies, much of the time and instinctively, can sense when someone is strong enough to not be intimidated and can fight back. In other words, those who can "dish it out" can't "take it".

Thank you for being a fan and your supportive comments. Appreciative and grateful. You are most considerate and kind.

Happy trails,

Ed Bradley.

Wed, August 15th, 2012 4:24pm

Author
Reply

Well said, sir. Beyond playground bullies, as the reader who brought us back into contact, there is the personality disorder called Narcissism. Martial Arts won't intimidate the Narcissist. To be effective, the Narcissist must find the weakness or dependency of the victim. Often Narcissists will work very hard to become "the boss" so a steady stable of victims is available.

Narcissists are never wrong and are the top of the food chain. Sadly, I believe our president is such a narcissist because he can never sincerely admit a mistake.

Thu, August 16th, 2012 12:57am

Aliene

This is really powerful and speaks across generations. Thanks for sharing your essay!

Thu, September 20th, 2012 10:08pm

Author
Reply

Thank you Aliene. I hope you enjoyed it.

Fri, September 21st, 2012 2:39pm

DeadLuck

You have alot of fans and friends I am also Glade that you do ,and yes you are very talented but remember don't starts a story and then ending it with a being ,that way that your readers can be thrills what coming next .And That I am writing a new story now call *Romance From the unDead *And that I hope you really like it.. !

Sat, November 10th, 2012 6:56pm

Author
Reply

Thank you Combussed. I am glad you enjoyed this story.

Sat, November 10th, 2012 1:22pm

Teach

You gave such a good account of bullying. It is a Demon! From Elementary School to College. My personal experience with this demon was @ elementary school where there were many. One guy who was like a nightmare ... He bullied me thought out elementary school. I went to High School and escaped it all. The 'nightmare' died, caught stealing. I wasn't happy that he died like that because I was planning a revenge for years, wanted to fight him and hurt him; ... Dying is the easy way out!!!!!!

Sat, December 15th, 2012 9:04pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for sharing, Teach. It was a painful time for most of us. I am glad life "culled" the misfits.

Sat, December 15th, 2012 7:35pm

ben hardstaff

Small mistake in 11th line, "which" rather than "with, and in verse 7, "but they remained invisible to me" it should read. Also in the last line "that is the face of bulling" it should read. Only small typo's though. Thanks for sharing this interesting piece on a subject that's very evocative to me as i suffered continual bullying in various forms as a child. It's a dark side to human nature that's abhorrent in my view. I just pray that my little nephews never get bullied at chool to the degree that i did. It has changed me in the respect that i'm now a fearless warrior when it comes to violent situations. I'd rather not fight at all but find it so difficult to walk away whenever i percieve i'm being bullied. There's an element of "i'm never ever taking shit from anybody else" i guess. It's difficult to deal with i guess. Thanks for your comment about me using capital letters. I may re type all my work with caps off. I don't know why i do it??? Bad habit i guess.

Thu, December 20th, 2012 7:35am

Author
Reply

Thanks Ben. I have just made the corrections.

It is a shame that we have to pass through such an ordeal in our younger days. Some events shape our lives in ways we never asked for and sometimes work to our detriment. You have learned to confront perceived bullies. I always psychoanalyze them and don't play their game.

Another useless element for me is my lack of mortal fear. Back in 1971 a drunk security guard fired all six rounds at me from 25 yards and missed. My active brain now must determine when I encounter a potentially fatal situation instead of just my instincts working.

I own a semi-automatic pistol and can always at least hit the target paper at 25 yards (no guarantee of the bulls eye). I guess I was fated for a long life.

Thu, December 20th, 2012 6:40pm

thumblina Aka vandana

Hey nice piece of work........surprisingly or rather i should say i was not a victm of bulling in school......

Loved the article

Waiting for your email.......

Please do read my new work "the Witch's Bracelet'

Happy new Year in advance Ben

Fri, December 28th, 2012 8:14pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for commenting, thumblina. I had trouble getting it to format to WORD 2003, so I finally emailed it to work, converted it remotely, and emailed it back this morning. It has been a busy day today and I am just now (9 PM) sitting down to serious work,

Fri, December 28th, 2012 5:54pm

HiKitty

This cuts deep, I am very sorry to hear about your friend. May he Rest In Peace.
You have a strong way with word, which was what made this story very gripping. I thought it was amazing, even though sad.
I want to point to you that I have made the prize for PERSUADE ME!! better, so that more people would want to enter(not steak knives, but still..). If you don't mind would you go about considering to enter, or if not, telling others???? Much appreciated.

Sun, December 30th, 2012 1:27pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your kind comments about this story, HiKitty. I really appreciate it and hope you enjoyed this story.

Sun, December 30th, 2012 2:50pm

Mawr Gorshin

So sorry about what happened to Tommy. Bullying takes many shapes and forms, including family abuse. If you have the time, check out my semi-autobiographical novel, 'Convalescence'. It deals with bullying, among other themes.

Sun, January 6th, 2013 5:17pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for commenting Mawr Gorshin. I shall take a look.

Sun, January 6th, 2013 9:35am

Buffershaker

Great piece of writing and written with depth and sincerity.I myself was a victim of bullying at school.The less said the better there.

Thu, February 7th, 2013 2:28pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for your kind comments, Eileen.

I hope you have grown past the scars. At my 20th high school reunion I met two men who had bullied me in elementary and junior high. They did not remember but sincerely apologized.

I hope you're able to resolve it.

Thu, February 7th, 2013 4:35pm

LyraHydraComa

Enjoyed the Essay!

Mon, February 25th, 2013 1:52am

Author
Reply

Thank you for commenting, LyraHydraComa. I am glad that you enjoyed this article.

Mon, February 25th, 2013 12:46am

Victor Darnell Hadnot

I can so relate to this writing. I was a victim of bullying too. Nice work!

Wed, February 27th, 2013 3:42pm

Author
Reply

Sorry to read about your experiences. I hope your life is better, from now on. Thanks for commenting, fearnotbooks.

I would not have written this article but I was challenged by my friend Julia. I would have preferred that it have stayed forgotten.

I am glad that you enjoyed this story.

Wed, February 27th, 2013 3:09pm

Gaz 1976

shining example of raw talent

Fri, March 8th, 2013 11:18pm

Author
Reply

I'm blushing, Gaz 1976, thanks for the kind comment. I am glad you enjoyed this article.

Sat, March 9th, 2013 5:20am

simon arthur

That was so sad that your friend died from bullying. I myself was bullied at school and it affected my self esteem and the way I see the world. It had a detrimental affect on my mind. However I got my self esteem back and put it behind me. A like from me. It was well written. Bullying is a serious problem.

Sat, October 25th, 2014 11:22am

Author
Reply

I was bullied as I guess everyone was. When I went to my 20th high school reunion, (most of the bullies had dropped out of school before graduating) I avoided these guys and I watched one girl I had been mean to, avoid me. We were all different at 38 than we were as teenagers. Thanks for commenting, Simon.

Sat, October 25th, 2014 7:20am

Comgree

I have been bullied and called horrible things all my life usually by those closest to me. I felt like this was a wonderful piece and it seems like a cause very close to your heart, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, though it was a bit long for my reading preference. It really was thought provoking and sad. Also I sent you a fan request because your stuff is so awesome and I don't know if you saw it or not.

Thu, November 13th, 2014 8:21pm

Author
Reply

I thought I answered it already. If not send it again, Comgree. Thanks for the positive comment.

Thu, November 13th, 2014 5:44pm

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