Bullying Or Just Plain Bull?
The columnist is baffled by the focus on bullying in our schools. What's so new about bullying? Is it different now than it was when you were a kid?
Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.
I graduated from Mansfield High School in the mid-60s; 1966 to be precise. Those were good times – simpler times. There were no computers, so there were no social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and the like. Email wasn’t even a word, never mind a reality. And the only thing resembling cell phones were the telephones at the police station so those arrested could make their ‘one phone call’ before being locked up in their cell – not that I would know anything about that.
Things were different all around. I only knew one kid in my class who had his own car, a rusty old Studebaker with virtually no floor boards. The exhaust leaked up into the car through the holes where the floorboards used to be so all the passengers and the driver had to hang out the open windows – even in the dead of winter. The heater was on of course, but if I remember correctly, it leaked antifreeze all over the front floor; a somewhat florescent green slime.
It was quite a sight to see, this beast of a car rolling out of the school parking lot loaded with kids with their heads popping out the windows and the driver poking his head up over the side view mirror so he could see where he was going.
This jalopy burned so much oil that my classmate had to buy four quarts of oil a day just to keep the level somewhere near normal. And judging from the huge stains in the high school parking lot, I’d say it leaked about a quart or two just during school hours.
You’re probably wondering how this kid could afford to buy all that oil. I recall that gas was about 32-cents per gallon back then, so I’m sure oil was pretty cheap too, though I honestly don’t remember what it may have cost.
Anyone who wanted a ride in this death-trap had to pitch in for gas and oil; usually whatever pocket change they had on hand. Four or five guys pitching in 25 or 30 cents each could buy three gallons of gas and a quart of oil.
Yup! Things were a lot different back then – even bullying. Bullying is nothing that’s even remotely new. It has existed since the dawn of time. But you know, I can’t help but thinking that this ancient ritual and the reaction to it have changed radically over the years.
This forum doesn’t allow the time or the space to delve too deeply into the complex sociopsychological aspects of bullying. I don’t really get it and I’ll have to admit I don’t care to devote all the time and resources necessary to research this topic. In other words – I’m lazy. Or maybe not as much lazy as not interested. That has a much better ring to it.
So, given my propensity for being repulsed by having to do research, I’ve come up with a capital idea. Yes, every once in a while I get an idea; sometimes not a particularly good one, but an idea nonetheless
So here’s the deal. I’d like to hear from you, the reader. I want to get your take on bullying – how you define it – how it has changed since you roamed the halls of the public schools in Norton, Mansfield, Easton or wherever.
Most of us have been picked on or teased at one point or another during our lives. It was no big deal then. It was more or less a rite of passage. So what is it that makes it different now? Is the whole bullying thing just much ado about nothing or is it as serious a problem as it’s being portrayed?
I honestly don’t understand this; I truly don’t! I know how it was when I was in school. I recall the climate when my children went through the school system. What’s so different today? Fill me in, please! I want to get your take on this.
And let’s be civil about it. I’ve seen some comments on this site that were unbecoming of someone claiming to be Post-Cambrian.
Oh, and that whole, Georgie Porgie thing at the beginning of this piece! I’ll fill you in on what that's all about in my June 20th column when we continue this discussion.
So what's your view on the bullying issue? I'd love to hear from you.
And be nice or I'll stuff you in your gym locker you little dweeb!
Make it a great week!