The other day at work we were talking about being bullied as a kid and I had 3 very distinct, very clearly remembered stories to contribute to the conversation. My memory is very fuzzy on when these happened, but I do know they were all in elementary school. I do know the last one was towards the end of elementary school. It was around the time we were playing Truth or Dare during recess and getting in trouble for daring each other to hug someone of the opposite sex.
I have brown hair and I have hairy arms. They’re not the kind of hairy that you notice from a distance. It is light brown hair. But when you get up close, they are hairy. Girls in my school used to shave their arms, which I find revolting (sorry if you do!). I’d rather get comfortable with my Yeti limbs than have stubble and razor burn on my forearms every day. Eww.
ANYWAY, some boys on the playground during recess noticed. First they started calling me a Gorilla. Then they got more creative:
I would NEVER let you babysit MY little sister. Your arm hair would grow out and strangle her and she’d be dead!
Well I wouldn’t want to babysit your shit-eating brat of sister anyway. What an asshole.
You should be Bugs Bunny for Halloween.
I had buck teeth. There’s no denying that. So, this insult at least made sense, even if it was completely lacking in creativity. This kid probably grew up to be the person on the other end of a call to Comcast. Blech.
My last name is Campbell, like the soup. That’s what I say when I give my name. All the time. Somehow, everyone in America knows how to spell Campbell’s Soup. I don’t think I would know how to spell it if it weren’t my name. Regardless (grown up way to say …anyway…), enter a 6th grade boy, heading back into school after an outdoor gym class. I must have been saying something about Campbell and Campbell’s Soup.
Your name shouldn’t be on a can of soup. It should be on a TOILET BOWL!!
Cue everyone laughing at me. I can’t decide of this one’s my favorite because it’s creative or the worst because it barely makes any fucking sense. Where do kids come up with this shit?
The remarkable thing to me is that I still remember this. It doesn’t faze me, now. Kids are stupid little assholes. But I still remember it.
And that brings to the time I remember being the bully. This was in junior high. 8th grade, to be exact. We had a substitute teacher, so we could sit anywhere in the class. My friend and I were entering last. There was 1 seat left with our group of friends, the cool kids (the druggies) and one seat all the way on the other side of the room. Sitting in that chair meant being ostracized for the rest of the day. Not knowing all the inside jokes that came out of this one class. It would be horrible.
My friend and I bee-lined for the last chair in our group and both landed on it at the same time. We proceeded to physically shove each other off the chair, but neither one of us was giving up ground. So, we sat in this evenly matched battle for awhile, interjecting mean things about the other and how we can’t share a chair. I made some crack about how she was so fat that I definitely couldn’t fit on the chair with her.
She fell off in shock and went to sit in the other chair.
The worst part about this is that I didn’t actually think she was fat. I knew that she thought she was fat. And I knew that saying would particularly hurt her.
I wonder if she still remembers that.