Help! I’m Being Bullied!

Dear Crabby,

I’ve been getting bullied at school by some mean kids.  They keep knocking my books on the floor, tripping me, and pushing me.  I know I’m not supposed to fight back, but what can I do about it?

Sincerely, Fragile Frankie

Dear Fragile Frankie,

I have to wonder about the way we teach kids in school these days.  To be told not to fight back is really incorrect, and it’s against nature.  Now, I might get into trouble here with some parents and school administrators, but true to nature, I’m going to speak my mind on this one.  If you are getting pushed around and mistreated, then by golly man, fight back!  Haven’t you ever watched any of those animal shows on the television and seen one of them stupid gazelles running from the lions?  Sure, they usually get caught and eaten, but they at least run from the predators.  Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best example.  How about cats and dogs?  Typically, the cats run from the dogs for a while, but then one will pull out a claw and swipe the mutt’s nose and the chasing stops.  All I’m saying is that you can do something; you don’t have to do nothing!  I suggest that you first go to the person in charge.  Yes, I know, the other kids will call you a tattletale.  So what?  At least they will leave you alone.  However, if the person in charge is a moron, and I’ve seen that scenario many times too, go to the bully and try to reason it out.  I personally think this second step is the most productive.  I have found that talking intelligently to these types of people is not very effective though.  So I recommend saying something like, “Okay, so I may be smaller and weaker, but do you know that Johnny Miller over there said you were ugly and dumb?”  This typically sends them off in another direction, although it isn’t usually good for poor Johnny.  The third and final option is to face the bully head on.  This is where I usually get into trouble with my advice-giving practices.  After you have tried to alert the person in charge, and they have done nothing, and after you have tried to reason out the issue to no avail, then you must face the music.  When I was cornered once on my own front porch by some bullies, I knocked on the door for some help.  My older brother came out and asked what I needed.  I told him these bullies were here to beat me up, and he replied “Handle your own issues bud.”  And there I was, me and the bullies.  So I walked up and with all my might swung for the fences at the first one.  I’ll tell you right now, the sheer feeling of strength and courage I felt was so empowering!  Unfortunately, the outcome was not so impressive at first.  I completely missed that guy and flew flat on my face.  The biggest bully laughed and then pulled my underpants up over my head, which he lovingly referred to as a “wedge-head.”  He signaled to the other kids to head out.  Then the best thing happened.  As I sat there watching with my tighty-whiteys over my head, I saw the third kid in the group stop and say to the leader, “This isn’t right man!”  He walked back over to me and helped me up.  He said he was sorry for not sticking up for me sooner.  Then he looked at the biggest kid and said, “If the best you can do is pick on kids smaller and younger then you, then I don’t need to be your friend.”  Then the second kid jumped in and agreed.  The big kid started to say something, but the other two held their hands up and said, “Get out of here.  We’re staying with Crabby.  He’s our friend now.”  Wouldn’t you know it?  Those two guys were serious.  Turns out they were impressed with my courage and realized that I had more character then their former friend.  Fifteen years later, they both became groomsmen in my wedding, and a few years after that, I named each of them a godparent over one of my kids!   I guess the lesson I’m teaching here kid is this:  Stand up for yourself and do what’s right.  In the end, you will be glad you did.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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