Much like a Shakespearean tragedy, our much contented society takes pleasure in pretending that the deepest scars and the most scowling of burns it inflicts on those most unsuspecting and least able to defend themselves are simply "character builders." This is a crime even the greatest poets of our age could not fathom. It took two angry men one morning in Colorado to demand an end, in their own way, to the "bullying" of others. However, as another article so poignantly asserts, the term "mobbing" rather than "bullying" is a more accurate description. Unfortunately, this event brought out the self-contented "blame the victim"--"My life is OK. S/he must be contributing to his/her own problems"--"isn't everything and everyone just great" (tor)mentality endorsed by our U.S. culture.

It made me literally sick to listen to people (who never cared about anybody but themselves and their "friends") give their insipid laments about "how sad it all was" on television and radio for twenty-five children to be brutally murdered in a mini war zone. WE ALL KNOW WHY IT HAPPENED!!! AND, WE ALL KNOW WHY IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN!!! These are time bombs that will continue sporadically and randomly until our well contented, pretentious, sleeping elephants get the message. Physical and emotional assault of children by children in an advanced society (HARDY HAR HAR) is not acceptable (THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE NEW CENTURY).

If you look at this phenomenon from a few other perspectives, it becomes more and more ludicrous. For example, an animal will not let you torment him/her for very long. A dog will take a piece of your flesh. A horse will kick you and possibly break your ribs. One cannot simply assault a man/woman on a street corner without possibly having to explain his/her actions to a judge. Of course, I know you folks understand what I am saying. Unfortunately, there are MANY individuals in our society that would not see my point. Anyway, I'm sorry to be so polemic in my delivery. But, this endorsement by our society of public assault and humiliation of others has been a problem in the back of my mind for almost my entire forty years.

My earliest memory of social abuse began when that instrument of torture called "Jr. High" was hoisted upon my psyche. Elementary school had gone OK for me. However, things were about to change. I once heard a commentator refer to the "Jr. High experience" as the "devil's kitchen." And, when Jr. High invaded my world, I was certainly in agreement. It was as if I had been exported to a death camp. And, not unlike those prisoners of Eastern Europe so many years ago, I knew not why these things were happening. Many of my friends from elementary school abandoned me. I can remember taking an excursion (sponsored by my town's recreation department) to Disneyland (in the eight grade). I remember being left to wander around Disneyland alone for an entire day when my "friends" decided I wasn't worth hanging with. An acquaintance of mine at the time met up with me, saw that I was alone and invited me to join him (who was also alone). Although I have not seen this man in more than twenty years, I will always feel indebted to him for that afternoon long at Disneyland.

The physical and emotional abuse continued steadily throughout Jr. High and most of High School. In the eighth grade, I had chemicals poured on me in a science lab. I was usually bombarded by less toxic materials on a regular basis. Like many of you, I managed to bond with a few close friends. In time, we watched out for each other. In High School, we took long walks home (from the school) on foot together to avoid taking the dreaded bus ride home. We would also meet early in the morning to take the city buses to the proximity of the High School (again avoiding the bus ride to school). This special group of guys, I'm sorry to say, I haven't seen for the same 20+ years.

By my junior year, I was starting to clean up the wounds (despite a few scraps) of the previous three years. However, an event occurred on the first day of school my senior year that made me physically sick for the weeks to come. I was involved in a car accident. OK, you're saying so what. Those kinds of things happen to a lot of people. The problem was that the other party involved was an alumni (tormentor) of my High School. Unfortunately, his brother (tormentor) still went to my High School. And, as you might guess, when word hit my High School as to what had happened (strangely enough it took seven months), the heat was TURNED UP!!!! To make this Shakespearean tragedy more interesting, I was being sued by, our friend, the "other party." I remember, as a young man (scarred to death) being driven by my angry parents to my (insurance company's) lawyer's office for meetings that come with being sued. By this time, I was being harassed BIG TIME at school about it. It was like the old days of Jr. High. I remember trying to speak to my Mom about the incidents. Her only response was, "that's the least of my problems." (I would remember that comment for years to come). I remember thinking to myself if I should report these incidents to my lawyer. Needless to say, I was much too timid to do so. Eventually, the whole bloody mess got settled out of court. My insurance company paid the guy off. And, I (HOT DIGGY DOG) was of to college.

I haven't been back to my home town in sixteen years. Some say I've lived a very isolated existence despite my successes. And, it's probably true. It's that very unhealed part of myself that seeks to protect me at all costs. Thus, through it all, my spirit struggles to find what is good in the world despite the poison it still chokes on far too often.

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