A Bully’s Memory …

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

How good is a bully’s memory? Do they remember the times they’ve hurt, threatened, and humiliated someone? Do they even think about it?

We’re about to find out!

I’ve had many a bully in my past, suffering their attacks in silence. These days, I’m confronting my demons, some of which I’ve written about on this blog. This entry looks at four people who bullied me during my pre-teen and teenage years. What makes these fellas unique is that each of them has sent me friend requests on Facebook … friend requests that I’ve accepted without discussing these incidents with them. I’ve decided to broach the subject of what had happened here, but I’m not naming names nor will I tag the offending parties. I’m happy to allow them to have their dignity … even though they’re the same ones who tried taking it from me a long time ago.

Fifth-grade and I had just transferred to St. John Vianney/Donovan Mayotte. I managed to make one friend in class, and one day we traded musical instruments – my mouth harp for his piccolo harmonica. At recess, I was playing this instrument until I happened to walk past Bully No. 1, whom I’ll call “Mr. Slick,” due to his smooth, fast-talking, and charismatic hustle and flow. “Lemme see that,” he said, referring to the harmonica. I told him I couldn’t because it wasn’t mine to give, then he said, “Lemme see you play it then.” As soon as I placed the harmonica to my lips, WHAM! he drove his knee into my groin. As I doubled over, he took the harmonica and said, “When I ask, you give. Understand!” It wasn’t a question. “Now get the fuck outta here!” he said, before shoving me across the playground.

I transferred to Hamady in eighth-grade and became the “new guy” all over again. Flash-forward to gym class, where I’m playing basketball against Bully No. 2, whom we’ll call “Napoleon” due to his short stature and obvious insecurities. Napoleon went up for a hook shot only to have me stuff the ball. He quickly got in my face, insisting that I “fouled” him, and threatened to kick my ass if I did it again. I stuffed his weak-ass shot cleanly and he knew it; but to avoid trouble, I and the other players quit guarding his royal highness so he could make every shot he took. I hope that was enough to soothe his fractured ego.

My last instance involved two bullies for the price of one. Shit jumped off in woodshop with Bully No. 3, aka “Sleazy Rider, due to his penchant for seducing young women in his 1976 Plymouth Duster. Sleazy and I used to get along; but on that day, something inside him just snapped. Out of nowhere, he started threatening me and he started advancing toward me. He followed me out of woodshop and continued his threats, all in front of Bully No. 4, aka “Senor Caliente,” the hottest temper in school. Caliente asked me, “You gonna let him talk to you like that?” and I said something like, “I don’t want any problems.” This was enough to get Caliente’s Latin blood a’boiling, and the next thing I know, he’s chasing me down the hall. “I won’t fuckin’ hesitate to fuck you up,” he shouted, among other threats. Due to this bizarre and unfortunate series of events, I ducked out a side door and took the day off.

So … four bullies have now become four Facebook friends. Honestly, I feel like I’m not being true to myself for accepting them without discussing these issues. Doing that could be difficult, though, because most guys can’t handle being called out on their bullshit. They could say, “Get over it!” but I know they wouldn’t be so quick to forget if the situations had been reversed. Or they could be hoping I’ve forgotten about their transgressions. Or maybe they don’t remember doing these things at all. Thinking that’s the most likely scenario, I’ve put their stories up to give them the chance to show me what they’re made of. So, Mr. Slick, Napoleon, Sleazy Rider and Senor Caliente … will you be men of honor and step up and apologize?

It all depends upon one thing: how good is a bully’s memory?

  1. I think it’s brave to put yourself out there as you have. Very big of you to give people the opportunity to make an amends, if they changed from the sociopathic tendencies they displayed in their youth. I personally try to see the good in people but I’m often disappointed since most people are just assholes.

  2. Sean Hoydic says:

    I too agree. Though, I wouldn’t have accepted a friend request from a bully. Time, in my opinion only distills these ‘qualities’ in people. An asshole kid becomes an unbearable asshole as an adult. I think the only cure for a bully is someone beating said bully unconscious, waiting around for him to wake up, and then explaining to them that they are only alive because you chose to stop beating them. It usually works. Though, sometimes two ‘explanations’ are needed. Dark, I know. But I’ve seen it work.

  3. Having sat on both sides of the bullying aisle, your post carries a lot of meaning for me. With the advent of social media, I was able to seek out some of the people I had bullied or otherwise treated poorly and apologize to them. I was sorry for having shattered their confidence at such a crucial time in their lives and I didn’t want them continuing on carrying this resentment, either of me or of themselves. And this was before I even became a father so the disappointment I feel for having been that way at one point is even stronger now.

    Then there are the bullies. I was bullied before I became a bully and I think it’s safe to say that one evolved from the other. Once again, thanks to the power and convenience of social media, I’ve been able to peek behind the stage curtains of the lives of some of my youthful tormenters to see that they’d become the doughy, miserable, mouth-breathers whose plumage had been shorn long ago. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel slightly satisfied.

    • johnribner13 says:

      Well said, John Kingston. And for everyone reading this, John is NOT Mr. Slick, Napoleon, Sleazy Rider nor Senor Caliente.

    • They say that hurt people…hurt people. I think that most bullies fall into one of two categories: sociopaths/psychopaths or those who were bullied themselves trying to regain their power.

      Many people who were victims of bullies ended up going the route of being callous and uncaring for a while. Not sure that makes them bullies themselves but it definitely makes them temporary assholes. I was one like John Kingston….I had a short stint as a shitty person who cared only for herself and her own needs. I was so jaded and skilled with using words to cut people, I often did it without even realizing it. They were couched as “jokes”. That was my shield. Needless to say, I’ve issued more than my fair share of genuine and heartfelt apologies.

      • johnribner13 says:

        It’s good to see you’ve gone the route you did, Queen. I have a feeling your former victims appreciated the heartfelt apologies … I hope so, anyway, for both your sakes.

  4. DisFUNctionalONE says:

    Mr. T. Central, I try not to waste any of my pre-determined time on this mud ball, worrying about to much; my motto is to live, laugh and love as much as I can. But it amazes me that I continue to carry certain WMD’s for that occasional moment where I run into these few pre-discussed type perps, why??? So I can rain HELL down upon their thick dumb skulls. Now, I’m trying to be more Christian minded these days, but I could quickly join the Society of Retribution and discuss the facts of mental/physical abuse with you, the four tormentors, a few I know and one step father.
    PS; I won’t be loving when this day comes, but I will be laughing and some will be lucky to be living. As my hero once said, “Speak softly and carry a BIG STICK”. And I do, aka, Mr. Thumper…

  5. Robert Stiles says:

    I had trouble myself with bullying. It made me afraid to go to school when I was a kid. Bullying isn’t just some harmless ritual.

    • johnribner13 says:

      Robert: in retrospect, many bullies would have us believe that their actions were “no big deal,” or that they were “doing us a favor by making us stronger.” Truth be told, I think more parents should empower their kids to smack down these bullies … there’d be far less of it in the world if they did.

  6. […] in contact with your past bully, you can call them out. My writing buddy J.P. Ribner did this in A Bully’s Memory. As you read it, notice how revealing the comments are. When you write about bullies, you do start […]

  7. […] week, I posted “A Bully’s Memory,” my first of what will be many entries about bullying. In it, I called out four bullies from my […]

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