Bully For You? Bull $#!+

 

For an unbearably long time, my homeland’s K-12 schools… and their worldwide equivalents… have been the breeding grounds / training camp sites for bullies. Considering how the inter-generational cycle of abuse tends to kick in (pun intended), what becomes of the once-upon-a-time abused when they become… oh… say… today’s public / private school staffers? Well… in that capacity / incapacity… they oft either practically wink their approval at each new crop of bully bastards… or turn a blind eye to them.

It’s almost as if some educators’ measure of “scholastic achievement” focuses upon how effectively bullies can irreparably scar their victims (both emotionally and physically). Hmmm… instead of the failing grade bullies deserve, do they award them with an A+? Is extra credit assessed if the victims need [1] hospitalization… [2] a shrink… [3] a visit from the undertaker?

Adding insult to the victim injuries… on the rare instances where a tormented student does strike back… almost invariably… school personnel punish ONLY the retaliator (to the further delight of each bully). Hell… were school staffers’ favoritism any more blatant, the playground and hall monitors would be charging admission to the bullies’ verbal and physical attacks.

Perhaps such assessments are too cynical? Too harsh?

Let’s be fair here. Let’s look at this from the teacher’s side of the desk. Many underpaid educators are so overworked and over-stressed, it’s inevitable that they’d become nose-blind to the bully stench… to the point where the victims start falling through the cracks.

And, when victims’ only remaining options boil down to fight or flight… especially if it’s the latter… that’s when further damage kicks in (again, pun intended). Once these kids start feigning illness to avoid going to school… this all but guarantees both academic and developmental stunting / stagnation.

Let’s consider what happens once abused, stunted students eventually enter… no… strike that… DON’T enter grown-up society…

Social isolation… their learned response… to varying degrees… becomes their way of life. Such deep-down emotional stains don’t fade with time, either. And most assuredly, that’s no way to go through life! Hell… that’s not life at all!

Long Sigh….

I’m certain there are hundreds of thousands of bullying victims spanning our entire globe… each one waking up each new day wondering…

“Who might I have become… how much further ahead in life might I have gone… had insensitive school personnel heard my literal cries for help… had they come to my defense instead of enabling my tormentors’ indefensible, socially unacceptable behavior?”

How can I be so certain? Well… did you notice that above blockquote’s beginning / ending punctuation?

That’s me talking. That’s the very question I’ve been asking myself for the past 50+ years!

 

 

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‘Twas Not Rachel, Bridgette or Carman

Yesterday, I blogged about the robocalling robo-women, Rachel, Bridgette and Carmen… told how the persistence of these scammers… their flat out refusal to take my “no” for an answer… has ruined my life… has gotten me to the point where I actually dread answering my landline phone.

My true story, in this day’s post, points out why we must never permit these vile entities to sour our view of our world…

‘Twas in the waning days of December ‘15, when my phone rang. Glancing over at the clock… it was still well before 9 p.m…. so… the window of opportunity for more robocall abuse was still wide open. I had even considered letting my answering machine field the call… but…

Just before the fourth ring I picked up the handset… time seemed to freeze. Palpable was that moment of hesitation, both the caller’s and mine. Then I heard a female voice. No, not that damned robovoice… this was an actual, living, breathing person and she softly, tentatively, was asking to speak to someone.

It had been a dozen years since I had last heard my 89-year-old, late mother speak and the caller’s inflection was so close to hers that… if I hadn’t known better…

Well… suffice to say… I knew she was on in years. I hadn’t quite heard her all that well so I asked her to repeat the name of who she was trying to reach. I then informed her she had reached the wrong number.

Normally, I’d have simply hung up at that point … yet something told me not to. She went on to tell her story… how she had so wished to chat with a dear friend of hers that holiday season… and now… she’d not be able to.

Hearing that tugged at one of my heartstrings.

It hadn’t been all that long ago that I had been there for my aging and ailing parents. In keeping with that same spirit, I told her that I had a phonebook… that, together, we might be able to figure out what was wrong.

I asked her to spell out the first and last name, provide the address and city, etc. Turns out her friend now resided in my lifelong, small hometown and, oddly enough, even lived on the very same street where I had dwelled the first seven years of my life.

There went that second heartstring tug.

Leafing through to the correct page, my first try was to no avail. When I told her I was coming up blank, she sounded more dispirited than before. That’s when I spotted another, far less conventional phonebook on my shelf… this one listed residents by the streets they lived on. I told her I was not ready to give up.

Lo and behold I had located the person she had tried to call. It turns out she had transposed a couple of numbers in the street address and, as for the phone number, itself? While the last four digits were identical to mine, she had an incorrect three digit prefix.

As I read all the valid information to her, she muttered that her pen wasn’t working too well. I told her to take her time and then slowly repeated everything. She was profuse with her thanks and we wound up warmly wishing each other, “Happy Holidays!”

I had no sooner hung up than the deeper significance to what had just happened started to sink in.

I had made friends with a complete stranger…

And had her to thank for restoring my belief that… in spite of all the robocall abuse I had been experiencing (and still am experiencing)… the telephone still plays a vital role in creating a vibrant, close-knit global community.

Consider for a moment the social isolation, which Rachel, Bridgette and Carmen have caused. Undoubtedly… their harassing robocalls have forced us to view our telephones as something evil.

Personally, I cannot help but wonder how many genuine calls I may’ve missed when… in my efforts to avoid robocalls… I had totally stopped answering my phone for over one month.

The robocall has also become one of many reasons why people are cutting the cord to their landlines and relying on cellphones.

Cellphones, which are usually turned off… have unlisted numbers… cut us off and isolate us even further from our world… extinguish our, for the common good, spirit.

“Peace on Earth and goodwill to (wo)men!”

That is the spirit, which should run high… not only during the December holidays… not only in one’s hometown… but on each and every day in every corner of our world.

The robots, Rachel, Bridgette and Carmen are trying to take all of that away from us… and we cannot… MUST NOT… ever allow that to happen.