Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When Your Childhood Bully Resurfaces

The other night while I was finishing up some food prep, my bestie that I've known since 7th grade sent me a message.  In it was an article detailing how a mutual childhood bully of ours and countless others, was in custody for robbery.  This doesn't surprise me in the slightest, and honestly, I figured he was already in jail, so the bigger surprise was that he was at large a state or two away.  His rap sheet was long with petty crimes, enough to keep him in and out of jail for most of his adult life. 

Our history with him goes back to when I met her.  Back then middle school was typically where several elementary schools in the same district all funneled their kids into one big school to make up 7th and 8th grade before transitioning into high school for grades 9-12.  My 5th-grade bestie changed districts in 6th grade which left me heartbroken and taking on "filler" friends to mind the gap until I saw her again in 7th grade.  When I saw her on the first day of school, she had a new friend, Leeann.  (This is the same friend who incessantly repeats the fart story from last week in case you were wondering.)  I don't remember too much about our meeting, but she does.  The one thing she'll never let me forget is apparently upon meeting her, I busted into Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science and said: "don't threaten me, Al.  You're out of shape, I'll kick your ahhhssss."  From that point on, she was both a little intimidated by and loved me.  What the three of us quickly learned in our environment is that this walking meadow muffin, Dick, had a thing for torturing anyone he thought wouldn't fight back.  Basically fatties and geeks.  I heard countless stories from my two friends about the things he would say and do to them.  It was enough to make me steer clear of him because no one wants to be the target of a very clear future (and probably current at that time) criminal.  I might've gotten the occasional fat insult thrown at me by him when he was in the mood but I was taller and louder than him and if I'd reacted in the same mousy way my friends did, I'm sure I would have more stories to tell.

I only had one major run-in with him that left any real imprint.  We shared homeroom together due to last names, and when I was talking to a friend in there, he saunters in late, as usual, plops down at the table behind us and looks at me and yells "what's up fat ass?"  Of course, everyone looks, waiting to see if they should join in and laugh at me or if I'm going to say anything.  I laughed and said "ooooh!!!  Fat ass.  How ORIGINAL!!!  How long did it take you to come up with that!?"  Everyone busted out laughing, and I think it was less at what I said and more out of relief to not have to go along with him to stay out of his crosshairs.  "Shut up, bitch," and he slithered away never to really bother me much again.  (If so, I've blocked it.)  What I love is that none of the teachers ever did a damn thing to stop him.  He was constantly in the principal's office, but that's like a vacation to a ruffian like him.  ( love the word ruffian.)  Thankfully, it was either the end of freshman year or the middle of sophomore year, he transferred somewhere, never to be seen again.

Until the jail thing.

So, I guess there are some alumni social media forums my friend is a part of and that is where she saw the story about his arrest.  She sent me a screenshot of a story someone there told as part of his torment from him.  Barry was a bit of a typical nerd in school.  Nice kid, nothing remotely threatening about him which is just how Dick liked 'em.  He preyed on the weak and Barry was no exception.  Apparently, Dick liked to stab Barry in the leg "only 1/2" deep."  He would go to the bathroom, pack his wound with toilet paper and go about his day.  Dick threatened to kill him almost daily in 7th grade.  Yes, he told the school.  No, they didn't do a damn thing.  One day when he'd had enough, he brought a knife of his own to school and was going to defend himself.  He thought about rushing Dick and ending it for him but he thankfully didn't and now can get a bit of satisfaction knowing he'll be in jail.  It would only be for 5 years max, and then he'll be back out again to menace society.  Another visit to the ultimate principal's office but this time he gets free room and board.  His rap sheet proves he will offend again.  Theft, B&E, drug possession, etc. and he's even escaped custody.  I know it's a drain on taxpayers to keep what they consider a petty criminal behind bars for life, but there needs to be a three-strike law regardless of the crime.  He has been traumatizing people his entire life, and he will continue to do so. 

It killed me to hear how fresh the pain was that my friend still carries with her.  It broke my heart to know that one person was violently assaulted by him often and still carries scars both emotionally and physically from those encounters.  I'm sure there are many more that haven't come forward out of shame and embarrassment.  My friend said all of the people he bullied should go visit him in jail or show up at his hearing.  I told her he didn't deserve a single second of our time and I would never give him the satisfaction.  It would make a walking POS like him feel good to know that 30 years later, we still know his name and who knows, when he's out, he could look you up for old time's sake.  No thank you. 

For now, those of us who were his victims whether emotionally or physically can only dream of the retribution he may get being someone's prison bitch.  My friend said she hopes he gets shanked and I know she wasn't kidding.  He physically and emotionally abused her, and no one of authority did a damn thing about it.  "Ignore him."  How do you ignore someone coming up to you, yelling an insult at the top of their lungs two inches from your face and punching you in the arm daily!?!?!  That is the problem with a blanket solution of telling kids to "tell an adult."  The authority didn't stretch that far and that was then, it stretches even less now.  You tell someone then the bullying gets more intense and often more violent to "teach" you a lesson as it did with my classmates.  This is why suicide rates are higher now than they've ever been because kids feel like there is nowhere to turn and the prospect of years more torture seems too much to bear.  My friend told me she didn't know what she would've done without me and my other friend to turn to in those days.  I have little doubt that if Barry may have had suicidal thoughts thinking about the possibility of 6 more years of hell at the hands of this monster.  It has stirred feelings in me I thought were long buried but I refuse to let him steal another minute from me.  The universe or Gunter the Reaper doing three life sentences can sort him out.  Physical scars may heal and be hard to reopen, but the emotional wounds that we thought we'd worked past are always vulnerable to burst open without warning.  I checked in on Leeann the next day to see if she was okay and she acted like why wouldn't she be?  You go from wanting a tormenter shanked to smiling saying you're fine in the span of 14 hours.  Coping mechanisms, gotta love 'em. 

So I raise my water bottle to you, Dick.   May they throw the book at you and give some emotional justice to the victims who reach far beyond the crimes for which you're currently charged.  Salud.

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  1. I have one childhood bully that I would bet money is in a similar position, but haven't really checked yet. Then I had a high school bully who is dead now and it was a bit odd because he wasn't your typical loser bully but more like the rich kid bully from Karate Kid type of bully. So for him to have died in his 30's is hard to exactly compute in terms of how I feel about that. There is of course a sense of "I won you a-hole" but he had a wife and kids and they certainly did not deserve to lose a father so young. So I had to make peace with it and hope that he had at least changed when he had a family. But this guy you're talking about sounds like he hadn't changed at all and did nothing to improve in his life. You hope jail will turn things around but, well, let's face it, jail isn't all that successful on the whole at actually rehabilitating people.

  2. Appropriately named Dick, hmmmm

  3. Hard to admit but I too hate the bullies I grew up with. Thru Facebook I learned a classmate who notoriously bullied a boy who had learning disabilities, ended up
    adopting a boy who is developmentally disabled. He's 30 years old and still lives with his parents. What goes around comes around.


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