Posts tagged #bully

Confessions of a Bully: The Hustle

The year was 1995, Toy Story has rocked our world and a game of skill has begun to take hold in my elementary. You could hear the faint snaps of wood on wood surrounded by a mob of people, a circle around 2 gladiators of graphite, Pencil break!

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The rules were simple, break your opponents pencil before he/she breaks yours. Fouls can occur ie: hitting a opponents fingers, missing, dropping the pencil, when these do occur you get a free strike. There are foul play though, like any sport. Some would take out the eraser and crop the metal end as to make a "ax" type end but that was frowned upon in our circle. You may ask yourself how did these rambunctious children get away with it? This was obviously illegal in school so the answer was dark corners and back alleys. It was the wild west and our guns had a branded #2 on them.

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As a wild 8 year old I was a mean striker, an angry child with something to prove. My crowning achievement was breaking a pen with my Pentech brand pencil. The most prestigious of all the brands. I had a technique that was sure fire; I would take the pencil between my thumb and pointer finger at the utmost tip and flick it up and down so I could "heat up" the wood as hot as I could. I then would grip the pencil and my pointer finger, acting as the fulcrum my thumb, would put as much pressure on the end as I could without breaking it. Now top hand placement is key. Grab it in the center and you don't get enough force upon release, grab it too high and risk critical failure. When trying to hit the opponents pencil you want to try to use the metal end so you don't damage your own pencil in the process.
Our elementary school had a pencil machine that would vend one pencil for $0.25. A random assortment of all sorts of brands and woods, Ticonderoga, Lisa Frank, Pentech and the list would go on and on. It was a grab bag. Every day I remember bringing my quarter and hoping to get a good brand so I could hear my name chanted in the halls and whispered in the corners. On one fateful day as my friends stood around me I inserted my quarter into the machine and out it came, the mother of all pencils the legendary Pentec brand pencil. My friends and I were abuzz with excitement. My lucky day. One of my friends asked me if he could buy the pencil from but honestly I wouldn't have sold that one for $5 this was my ticket to Wackwood City and I wasn't letting go. Later that day it occurred to me, what if I was to sell pencils for a premium? What if I could use the money I got to buy more and then just like that I would be school yard rich.

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What's the first thing any good business plan needs, Investors, and I knew just the guy. He lived on my street a slim kid with a hard working family that liked to see their child prosper so he always had money. I knew I had to be delicate with my approach because I had bullied this classmate before so we weren't on the best of terms. I did what any one should do when trying to ask favors, bring gifts and compliments in full. I had a Mexican candy lollipop in hand and a sweet disposition. "How would you feel about becoming a investor in my new business model? I need someone with vision and expertise the likes of which only you can provide. I see you paying attention in math class you know what money + money equals? Well let me tell you, it equals give me your money as a investor and I won't hit you any more." Just like that I had a investor and a worker all in one. The next day I brought my few quarters that I could find, but he brought a sandwich bag full of those shiny Washington domes. Off we went to the pencil machine buying pencil after pencil soon we had a pencil box filled to the brim with all sorts of models.

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I had to come up with a pricing model as well so we could move the product quickly. Off brand pencils were 25 cents, Lisa Frank (a slightly better brand) was 50 cents, and the mother of all brands Pentech was 75 whole cents. Before we knew it the pencils were flying out of the box. Anytime we would see a congregation of people around a game we would start to peddle our wares. After a while people were trying to find us. I would see them looking in our class window and trying to buy from us before school, lunch, and after school were our most profitable hours. Before long we had more money then we knew what to do with. Our cup runneth over with profit. So the day finally came for me to ask for my cut, now up to this point I had gotten sales and a few free pencils from time to time but I didn't finance much of the operation. I made a dire mistake I expected money through intimidation alone if I was smarter I would have gone into business with myself and reaped all the rewards for myself who knows maybe I would have been a pencil baron in a different life. He refused to give me any of the profits. I did everything I could, tried to reason with him, pleading with him, and even as far as inflicting bodily harm, but he wasn't budging one bit. In the end I got to see my business become someone else's and so I went back to doing what I was good at. Bullying for kicks.

Posted on June 30, 2018 .

Confession of a Childhood Bully

As a angry child and a eventual pubescent teenager I did a lot of things I'm not proud of as I'm sure we all have. In my, maybe not so unique, case I was a bully. I would pick my targets at random like a evil Plinko board. Sometimes they were big, sometimes they were small and easy targets but almost always they were different. Now, it's not in the way you were thinking; I didn't punch, hustle, or steal from the handicapable or the slow, in fact it was often times the reverse. I would try to bully the bullies when I had a chance, but in this especially malevolent case it was just plain evil.

*DISCLAIMER*
Bullying is never okay!
If you ever find yourself in my position find out what's going on with yourself.
You are angry or misunderstood and making someone else feel shitty won't help.
I changed the names for obvious reasons. 

It was my first year in middle school, the big 5th grade, I was always pushed through school. I pieced together later that it was because I was such a pain in the ass. It made me a cocky little punk I didn't think I had to try, I never did any class work or participate in class. Somehow I was still in the same grade as my original classmates. I went to this same school for my whole life up to this point. I was well aware of the system (they had to create punishments for me) and had a adversarial relationship with the principal of all of my schools. Middle school sounded daunting. The teachers and principals filled my mind with the idea that I wouldn't be able to skate by and I was quick to prove them all wrong. So as usual I did absolutely nothing. I would spend my time devising plans on how to cheat or making contraband; i.e rubber band launchers, spit ball cannons, paper clappers. You know hoodlum shit. I can't remember for the life of me why this kid (who I'll call Jim) did to piss me off. Maybe it was his at times whinny demeanor or his shrill voice but he really cheesed me off. I wanted him to know loud and clear that he was different and I didn't like him. The thing is, he stuck out so much that no one liked him, not even the teacher. Looking back I can't imagine how much it must have sucked for him at the time but, what did I care, I was a snot nosed punk looking for a target. On one occasion I distinctly remember whizzing a nickel side arm at him as hard and as fast as I could like a major league pitcher as he was sitting by the teacher. It was a study time so the room was dead silent. I took aim and you could hear the damn thing cut the air so fast it had a harmonic resonance. FING! As soon as it left my hand I know my aim was true, so I turned around like I was writing and waited. It sounded like the coin hit another metal object as it resounded off of his head. Immediately this earsplitting shriek of agony came out of Jim. The teacher looks over at Jim and is furious, she proceeds to yell him "Jim to shut the heck up! We are trying to have a quiet study time"! 

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If you have ever gone to school in Texas maybe in other states too there is a standardized test that school was graded on and is often times it was the way the schools earned federal grant money. "Good grades = mo muny", so they would push for all of us to study hard. As an incentive the school offered to take all the children who passed the test on a field trip, I believe that year it was a trip to the zoo. I just knew I was gonna go because I was a bad ass. Well weeks before the trip the grades came in and guess what? I wasn't gonna go. I was furious. I thought to myself what a damn injustice. How the heck can they just leave me out? Cut to the day of the field trip, everyone was so giddy and excited to go to the zoo and here I was stuck like a chump; I set my eyes on Jim. He was so happy that he was gonna go and that I couldn't. He had the audacity to flaunt it in my face and I was not having it. As I'm sure it's still the case; all students had to have their parents sign a permission slip, so I devised a devious plan. I would get rid of it before his precious trip.
I asked him if I could look at the permission slip and it was the wrong move for him to trust my wicked ass. I snatched it out of his grubby little hands and got in close so he and only he could hear me. I whispered "if I can't go you cant go either". I bolted to the restroom he and, in a futile attempt, chased me to save his permission slip. I shoved him to the side and flushed his only ticket to the zoo down the toilet. As I cackled and rubbed my hands together like a cartoon villain he ran off bawling after he had seen what I had done. "I won", I thought to myself, "he is gonna be just as miserable as I am. Stuck in a room at school with all the dumb/lazy kids like me." I was wrong. The principal called his parents and he got to go anyway. I, on the other hand, faced no repercussions that I could remember and proceed to spend the rest of my day drawing.
Life is tough for everyone in their own way. Don't be like I was. When it gets hard for yourself, don't take your anger out on others. Sow seeds of joy and you may in turn allow your own to blossom.

Posted on June 2, 2018 .