I don't have my grade school yearbooks in the UK and it's quite possible that my mother has since thrown them out or sold them in a garage sale since I left. But I remembered her name.
I guess one could say that she was "bullied" to use the phrase so common these days. I don't mind using it in this context because I'm talking about children but when adults started talking about getting "bullied" that was going too far for me.
Anyway, the only concrete example I can think of was when we were reading stories that we wrote to the class as part of some assignment. And this dirty little rat-like kid who talked about penises and probably got molested at home went to the front of the class to read his story.
He was really hyping this story all day. So we were excited.
So he gets up there:
Ratboy: I'm throwing a huge party...
Class: Oh yeah!
Ratboy: And EVERYONE'S invited...
Class: This is awesome!
Ratboy: Except (name of unpopular girl).
(Unpopular girl opens her desk and puts her head inside of it)
Teacher: That's enough, Ratboy.
Ratboy: Because she was sick!
Teacher: No, that's enough. Take your seat.
Why was she so unpopular? She was quiet and I guess that she wasn't particularly attractive. It's hard to say. I'd have to see some yearbook photos to jog my memory but I don't remember her being particularly unattractive. Maybe it was just because she was quiet. Although, there was another very quiet girl and she wasn't popular either but she wasn't picked on.
Being quiet seems to have a real effect on popularity. I never thought of this before. I can think of some other quiet girls in high school and they weren't popular either. I can't think of any particularly quiet boys, though. I know that they existed but I can't think of any.
I was by far the worst in this regard, boy or girl, but I wouldn't say that I was unpopular. Maybe I'm delusional. I mean, there weren't any serious incidents of "bullying". There was a jerk once in a while but these were isolated cases that probably most everyone experiences. There wasn't a school-wide campaign against me.
Even the times I can think of where somebody was being unpleasant to me, the other kids didn't join in. They were clearly not condoning the behaviour. They didn't say, "Leave him alone" or anything like this but they didn't join in and they were clearly uncomfortable with it.
By high school, I'd say that I was something of a badass renegade who played by his own rules. I had long hair. I defied authority. I wasn't a good student. There weren't even isolated incidents of abuse.
The only minor incident I can think of was when I was in the 12th grade and a 10th grader across the classroom from me was talking crap about me. And I heard a fellow 12th grader say to him, "Dude, that's the Baron of Culture. He's cool." And that was the end of it.
I was looking at these school reviews yesterday and one of them talked about "bullying" and how this person would sometimes stay home from school because of it.
I only saw serious bullying against two guys. One was a huge nerd who I'm quite sure enjoyed the abuse because at least he was the centre of attention for a while. It just got pathetic and nobody really picked on him after a while because he was just a sad case. He was a weird kid and he grew up to be a weird adult. He must have had autism or something, although he was rather talkative.
The other person who was the subject of class-wide bullying was a new kid to school. He came to our school in the 5th or 6th grade. I found out decades later that he came to our school because he was in a serious incident at his previous school where somebody threw a rock at his face, it shattered his glasses, and caused serious eye injuries.
From day one, he was made the subject of fun. I don't know why. He was one of the biggest kids in our class. He was reasonably smart. He was reasonably athletic. There was nothing weird about him. He was an average looking kid.
We had other new kids come to our school and they weren't treated like this. They fared between average and good. But there was something about this guy that people didn't like. I don't have any idea what it could have been.
People would try to start fights with him. And just daily small abuses. He was voted to be our class president as a joke ala Carrie and when he finally realised that it was a joke he removed himself from the running.
Even I took part. There was a long-running joke that he had a "black hole" between his legs. It's a reference to a vagina but I only had a vague idea of this, as I suspect most of my classmates did.
So the joke would be that you're getting sucked into his "black hole". So you'd hop on one foot and pretend that your other foot was getting sucked into his "black hole" and slowly hop towards him. I remember doing this and he got angry.
One day, he wore his grandfather's monogrammed jacket to school. His grandfather had a different first and last name and this was reflected on the monogram. So for the rest of his school days, we called him by his grandfather's name in a mocking way. Again, I remember doing this myself many times.
He would stand up for himself. As I said, he was a big kid and he was pretty intelligent, knew how to talk. But it still happened.
He was there from 5th grade to when we graduated in 8th grade. It must have been really unpleasant but he stuck with it. Then he went to the Catholic high school and the "bullying" just stopped. I remember one time, he stood up for me in high school when some kid was picking on me.
I suspect that he wasn't "bullied" in high school because there was just no reason to do it. There was nothing that he was doing to cause it. It's not like this nerdy kid who reveled in being a weird nerd. This was a perfectly normal guy.
So it's interesting how these things happen. He was arrested for having sex with a girl aged 13-16 about 15 years ago. So how old was he...23 or 24. Has to register for the rest of his life for this. He works as a surveyor now. Self-employed, of course. Who's going to hire somebody on the sex offender database?
He didn't spend a day in prison, though. He just got probation. So that makes me think that it wasn't actual sex. Maybe just touching or something.
So back to this unpopular girl. She doesn't have a Facebook. The only mention of her is mylife dot com, which is a scam site trying to blackmail people into paying them not to publish your personal details. But according to this, she lives in a small town in Michigan. Also says that she's married so good for her, if that's true.
Wow, this is a crazy small town. Doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. There's literally about six streets. How did she wind up here?
Population: 4,000. It's about as many as the town we grew up in but this place is in the middle of nowhere. My town was surrounded by other cities so it's a different experience.
According to this site, her mother also lives in this small town. So maybe they moved there after this bad school experience. Tried to find a better school. Smaller town.
The fact that they both still live in this small town suggests that she's not in fact married and probably lives with her elderly mother. Although, who knows, maybe not.
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