I’ve had to deal with my fair share this past week of my LEAST favorite type of person: the common bully. I don’t know why I tend to attract these people… in part it must be my gullible nature and how easily I am duped… and perhaps I maybe just need to hang out with better people. I digress. I handle bullies much differently now than I did in the 3rd grade, and fortunately for me, my current methods prove very effective.
A popular definition on urban states that a bully is: “a young hoodlum who revels in making people’s lives a misery during school years.” This description seems fitting, although, I must admit, if I had to write a definition of bully when I was a 3rd grader, it would have probably read: “a handsome young hoodlum who revels in making people’s lives miserable during school years.” Yep. I had a fleeting crush on a bully.
Picture it. Mrs. Bonfanti’s third grade class on the first day of school. Pleaded blue plaid and buster browns flood the room with a dozen and a half anxious 8 and 9 year olds with fresh compasses (those things are deadly) and neon pencil cases and monogrammed backpacks. Mrs. Bonfanti announces our alphabetical semester desk arrangements. Our desks are arranged in pairs, in a U-shape around the room. She reads off our names, and one by one, the A’s shuffle to their seats. Then, the B’s. She reads off the last B. A new kid with a beautifully clever smile and instant popular bravado appears in the crowd… who I’m assuming if he’s still alive now looks a bit like Channing Tatum. His name? Mark Boyd. And I, Brooke Cartus, am assigned to be his desk partner. Every partner project, walk to the lunchroom, and joint art assignment… I AM THRILLED. Maybe we will get married and the whole class will be invited. I lumber to my seat, hairy knees poking out from my adorably wrinkled plaid jumper, and smile. “Hi, Mark. I’m Brooke.” Just staring at him with a big ol’ smile.
Without saying a word, Mark unzips his pencil case, removes the blue plastic scissors, and leans over to me in a whisper and says, “I’m going to cut all of your hair off.”
My face flushed and I turned away and starting organizing my miniature sports erasers. What else could I do? The cool, new popular kid just threatened to cut off my hair. I asked for a bathroom pass so many times that first week the teacher probably thought I had a digestive problem. And readers… let’s face it… my hair was kind of all I had going for me. Between the braces and the copious amounts of forearm hair (thanks to my Italian roots), I wasn’t exactly a looker. But my long, brown hair made me feel just like the popular girls when I styled it like they did.
Every day, he would take the scissors out on his desk. Sometimes he would pretend to cut my hair in the lunchline, and whisper, “Snip, snip!” in my ear. For those four months until we switched the seating arrangement, I can guarantee you I learned almost nothing from Mrs. Bonfanti. I knew shit about fractions, and couldn’t tell you one thing about the first Thanksgiving. Something about the Nina and the Pinta? Fuck if I retained anything. I was petrified of Mark Boyd’s blue scissors.
I never told anyone about the torment Mark put me through. Not my teacher, or my mom, or my sister, or my friends. I didn’t want to seem uncool. Now? I think I kind of love being uncool. Besides, I’m the one in law school, and Mark is hopefully reaping his karma somewhere in the world. I tried once to find Mark on Facebook, but his name is too common and I’m sure they don’t use Facebook in the New York State Penitentiary system.
Lately, I’ve been dealing with other kinds of “Mark Boyd”s… and let me tell you, because its 2012 there are a million ways to bully someone. Facebook, Gmail, mail chat, instagram, texting, voicemails. People get so damn shitty… and to me, it just seems exhausting. If you have the time to bully someone for their choices in their life, you have too much spare time on your hands. Get a part time job, go back to school, or just get a life.
Over lunch yesterday, a good friend told me, “I am so happy for you that you are living your life the way you want.” It seems so simple, but that is a cherished compliment. Now, I’m going to pour myself a bourbon, do some Criminal Law reading, and maybe have an omelette for dinner. Because breakfast for dinner is as bad ass as I get on weekdays. Enjoy your week, readers. And remember…when life hands you Mark Boyd and a pair of scissors, do what I do… shave your head.