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Why did so many kids pick on me back in my school days?



   Why did so many kids pick on me back in my school days?  It 
   happened when I was first starting out in school, in the first 
   grade.  It happened in my first year of high school and it 
   happened during my first year of college.  Why was I a target 
   for so much attention, so much harassment?  Why did they single 
   me out?  It happened so much that it couldn't be attributed to 
   simple accident or isolated incident.  What was there about me 
   that caused so much dislike and animosity?  The strange thing 
   is that in almost all cases they were complete strangers, or 
   almost complete strangers, who would do it.  Strangers would 
   just come out of the woodwork and do it; people I was hardly 
   aware of would start harassing me, attempting to initiate a 
   fight with me.  Why?  I didn't know the answer then and I don't 
   now.  Was it because I was sort of a loner with no friends?  
   Was it just because I was an outsider and not part of their 
   group?  I was a serious, polite, religious, clean-cut kid who 
   didn't use bad language, etc..  Did it have something to do 
   with that?  Was there something different about me, about my 
   personality or ways, that called attention to me and made kids 
   dislike me?  There had to be some reason.  In some cases it was 
   fellows that I would describe as bullies.  In most cases, 
   however, they didn't strike me as bullies.  They just didn't 
   like me. 

   Note.  Because of this I had a number of fights in my high school 
   days.  I never wanted to fight.  I would tell the harasser to 
   leave me alone, that I didn't wish to fight him.  Sometimes he 
   was a lot bigger, heavier and probably stronger than I and I 
   dreaded the idea of fighting him.  But he would continue after 
   me and, in the end, I would decide I just had no choice.  I 
   would give him a time and place.  Luckily, I had, at one time,  
   purchased by mail-order a little paperback book on jujitsu and 
   had studied the tricks carefully.  I used these tricks to good 
   advantage and almost invariably came out a clear winner.

   In one incident a group of eight or ten fellows grabbed me in 
   the high school hallway and, while some held me, others punched me 
   - and the rest stood around watching.  They were fellows I only 
   knew by face.  I had seen them in classes.  How did I handle 
   this?  One of those who had punched me rode on my bus and I 
   knew where he lived (a couple of miles from me).  That night I 
   rode my bicycle up to his place, knocked at the door, and asked 
   him to come out.  Perhaps a week later one of my teachers 
   motioned to me that he wanted a word with me in private.  He 
   told me he had heard about the entire incident and that this 
   fellow that I had visited had been in the hospital.  He said it 
   with a half smile and in such a way that gave me to understand 
   that he felt the fellow got what he deserved.

   I never mentioned any of these incidents to my parents.  I 
   doubt that they ever knew about them. 


   June 1983



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