Friday, July 26, 2013

The Hillbilly's Thoughts on Bullying

My Hillbilly has a few things to say on the subject of bullying.  He takes it pretty seriously, as we all do:

There is a subject that I have considered discussing that kind of comes and goes depending upon our news cycles.  That subject is bullying.  I like most all people have been affected by it, but probably less than most because I was always large for my age, stronger than average, quicker than average, and athletic.  I just wasn’t the type that the average bully chose to pick on.  As a young kid, if I was going to be picked on, it was generally by someone quite a lot older and bigger than I.  And really, they didn’t gain much from it because what does a bully gain by picking on a small kid?  Let’s face it, that doesn’t do much to grow some one’s reputation.


The first occasion I remember of being bullied was at a small country church that was having a revival.  My family and I went to an evening meeting.  I was about nine years old.   After church, we small children were running around the building chasing one another and playing.  Back then, there were some of the older boys (young men) who would stand behind the building and smoke.  One of the times as I circled the building, one of the boys, probably about 18 years old, grabbed me and bent me over a wooden frame (I actually thought he was going to break my back) and basically began threatening me and told me to quit coming back there.  Surprisingly, I never told anyone about it.

The second occasion, was on a school bus.  I was twelve, the bully was a senior in high school.  I am sure he felt very tough!   And really, what bullying I was affected by was almost always by kids who were three or four years older and already physically matured.

Other children around me who were perhaps considered to be smaller, fatter, skinnier, clumsier, or more nerdy, were not always as lucky.  Whether watching some of them being bullied or being bullied myself, I acquired a major dislike for bullies.  In fact, if I hadn’t been brought up being taught against violence, it would have been easy for me to become a hillbilly who went around laying some serious head thumping on those who practiced it.  Of course that would have made me no better than they!  Even knowing that, if I got angry, I still sometimes reacted.  

In my freshman year, during the lunch hour, I came into a classroom to drop off my books.  When I walked in, two bullies had a tiny little kid cornered and were threatening him.  The little kid might have been 5’2” and weighed ninety pounds.  The bullies were both 6’ with one weighing about two hundred pounds and the other one weighing about one hundred forty five pounds.  They were really brave!   I was 6’ tall and weighed about one hundred fifty five pounds.  Without thinking very much, (Hmm! that might be a hillbilly failing) I got in their face and told them that they should try picking on someone their own size!  I then finished by saying that I probably fit the bill.  That backed them both down and they never even offered to try to give me any trouble.  Being a bully doesn’t necessarily mean they are brave!  The thing was, I probably did them a favor.  The little kid had older twin brothers that were bigger than us and various other brothers who were older and even larger than they.  

Also, still during my freshman year, and during the lunch hour, two large senior football players, put on a show of of roughing up and taking a small awkward freshman and pushing him back and forth like a ping pong ball.  I always remember the look on his face and have regretted not trying to do something about that.  I would probably have gotten thumped but maybe if I had told them to stop, everyone else that hated it might have spoken up also.  I don’t know, but I do know that it wasn’t right.

By my senior year, there just wasn’t much of anyone who would risk their tough reputation by bothering me.  However, on the second day of school, I was sitting at a desk waiting for class to start, when a bully with the tough boy reputation entered the room.  He had his little group of toady followers, you know the group, the ones that go yeah, yeah Butch, yeah Butch, you are really cool and tough, Butch!  So nice of you to let us be your toady followers Butch!  Yeah Butch, I think he looked at you wrong and disrespected you!  Are you going to whip him now Butch?  Huh?  Huh Butch?  

Anyway he sent one of his followers over to tell me that I was in his chair, (none had been assigned).  I shouldn’t have, but the flesh was weak, I looked at this toad, smiled politely and said, “Well you know what, I don’t particularly care where I sit, but I have this big pile of books sitting here.  I tell you what, tell your big bully friend that if he wants to come over and move my books to another desk, I’ll let him have this one."  The look on the toad’s face was priceless!  He just couldn’t believe that I had dishonored and shown no fear of his cool, bully, hero!  By the way, his cool, bully hero never said a word to me and I continued to sit there. 

 I think we have all heard some of the psycho babble about people becoming bullies because of their home life, being bullied at home, etc.   Perhaps that is partially true but I have known some who came from great families where none of the rest of them were that way.  From what I have seen, most of the bullying has come from people whose IQ was surpassed by ----- almost everything!  Yup, ignorance again!

A wise man, in having a talk with his son, after his being bullied, told him that one day he would be bigger than the bully.  That came true and this is not an unusual occurrence!   I became larger than almost all the people who ever tried to bully me.  The little 5’2” kid that I rescued grew to be 6’6”. He became much larger and meaner than the two boys who were trying to bully him.   Due to these types of occurrences, bullies, even with their low IQs, come to realize that their bullying days are over.  When they don’t, bad things usually come --- things such as bad beatings, death, prison, etc.  I wouldn’t have to try very hard to give you examples.  Of course one of the best ones would be of the bully that wanted my desk.  He wound up shooting his toe off, on purpose, to keep from being drafted by the military.  Yep!  High IQs and bravery,  I tell ya!  By the way, that sounds better if you put a southern drawl to it.  -----  Just sayin'!

From the Hillbilly’s Corner!

As a junior high school teacher, I see a lot of bullying get started. I also see a lot of kids step in to help stop it. Those are the kids who give me hope. Have you taught your kids what to do when they see bullying happen?


Monday, July 22, 2013

Waxing Poetic on a Summer Evening

photo by Cynthia

I love spending summer evenings
floating on the river 
basking in the quiet
feeling the warm breeze on my skin like cotton.

photo by Cynthia
When the sun sets

photo by Cynthia
When nature becomes still

Peace flows like a river.

I wish I could bottle this evening and keep it forever.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is This the Feminism You Signed Up For?

I was born in 1959, the tail end of the Baby Boom. I was a child in the sixties. When I was in elementary school the evening news was full of the Viet Nam War, college protesters, and women's lib. 

Women were demanding equal pay for equal work. They wanted the same opportunities as men. They wanted to be taken seriously. Women should be seen as equal adult human beings, not as sex objects for men to play with. All very reasonable proposals.

By Leffler, Warren K. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today, women hold some of the most powerful positions in the country. They are doctors and lawyers, CEOs and senators. A woman can be taken just as seriously as a man. But what happened to not being a sex object? How do we expect not to be seen as sex object when we present ourselves like this?

And what are we doing toward teaching our daughters and granddaughters to respect themselves, to focus on their skills and abilities rather than their sexuality? We're marketing outfits like these to our teenagers:

From the web site of a well-known main stream department store Juniors Dept.
I teach 8th grade. I've seen what our young women are wearing. Is this really what we want to teach them about their self-worth? The one with the cutest figure and the skimpiest outfit wins?

I know the idea of modesty makes some women angry. Of course you have the right to wear whatever you want. All of this is just my opinion. You can dress any way you want, and I'll never tell you that you can't or even that you shouldn't. I will tell you that with rights come responsibilities. The decisions that we make will have results. They way we present ourselves determines in part how people perceive us. That's just common sense, y'all.

How did we get here? Maybe it's like the kid in school who makes fun of his clumsiness before anyone else can. They're going to laugh anyway. He's still clumsy, but at least the laughter is his idea. Maybe women realized that men are just hard-wired to be attracted to women. Men are going to be lustful anyway, but if I dress provocatively, then the lust is my idea. Some women somehow find that empowering.

As for myself, I choose to dress modestly. I'm not ashamed of my body or my sexuality. I just don't think it's anyone else's business. I don't hate my body; I just choose to present myself as an intelligent, dignified adult human being. Not as an object of desire. My husband desires me; that's enough.

Modest doesn't mean unattractive.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Funny About Words

So as I was exercising this morning -- okay, I was thinking about exercising. Shut up! I don't go to your house and call you a lazy liar. What nerve!
Calesthenics class
By Cbl62 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Okay, so I was thinking about exercising, and it occurred to me what an ugly word squat is. I mean, aside from the actual meaning, which is not all that pleasant, just the sound of the word is ugly. Say it with me. "Squat." Just...ick!
Girl squatting
By Crossfit girl (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I read once that somehow researchers determined that the most beautiful, melodic word in English is "diarrhea." First off, I have no idea how that was determined. Was it a poll? Did they have to ask non-English speakers so they wouldn't be biased because of the words' meanings? I also have no idea where I read that and have no way of knowing if it's true. So we've already settled that I can't be trusted with the truth. The truth is irrelevant to this discussion anyway. Quit harping on the truth all the time!

In lieu of actual diarrhea, I offer this dirty little grandson, The Monster
I also read a report that said a large number of people chose cellar door as the prettiest word in English. What do you think? Frankly, I just can't decide between diarrhea and cellar door.

Anyway, I definitely think that some words have nicer sounds than others. Some words are just fun to say. My favorite word to say is gastroenterologist. Gas-tro-en-ter-ol-o-gist. It's beautiful! It's like  music! Say it! GASTROENTEROLOGIST!! Now that is a beautiful word.

Serendipitous is another pretty word, don't you think? Before I knew what it actually meant, I thought of it as describing something exotic and beautiful. It doesn't, but the word still carries that mood for me.

Do you have a favorite word that just sounds nice to you? A word that you enjoy saying with no mind paid to its meaning? Share in the comments!