I saw a post on facebook today that made me think of people being mean and brought back some unpleasant memories of childhood and middle school in particular. It was one of the pictures with a smart aleck comment underneath it. The picture was basically making fun of a deformity. I didn’t comment on it or acknowledge it on facebook in anyway, and if he reads this I’ll have a conversation with him. If he doesn’t read this or know about it I don’t think it’s worth a confrontation.
I lived in Baltimore Country from 1986 to 1992 during about age 9 to 15. I don’t talk much about the bullying I went through then because I don’t want any of my old friends to think I’m judging them now for what they did as kids. I wouldn’t want to be judged by something I did those years either. I probably dished out insults during that time from being a clash clown, and trying to impress others. It was the suburbs and save, but everyone was incredibly harsh on each other. One thing kids did was pick out the differences in other kids, scrutinize it, and be brutal to each other. A lot of times they would pick out physical differences like too much hair, too little hair, or anything. I got picked on for how I talked among other things. I believe one of my sister’s friends in late middle school or early high school actually got a nose job because she was taunted so much from how her nose looked. I don’t care if people have plastic surgery but something is wrong when a kid is made fun of so much that the parents pay for that.
In this regard for telling us not to be judgmental of how people look I’d really like to thank my Dad. I can think off the top of my head at least of 3 instances from middle school to college age that I said something to him about how someone looked. And he gave me a firm lecture each time that people can’t help the way they are born. I remember at the time other parents would placate or joke around with their kids in the tone that the kids displayed. I’m glad my dad saw that it was unfair BS, and told us not to judge. My mom would also give us solid advice but in a different way. My dad’s direct approach made it clear to me.
Another way people got picked on is if they did things differently. I remember I borrowed my sister’s Cream (Clapton) cassette and started listening to it. I tried to let my neighborhood friend listen to it, and ended up getting made fun of because it was not what the cool kids listened to. Cream is one of the best bands in music history so being made fun of for listening to that is ridiculous; I’m fortunate to have listened to that in the sixth grade. One of my other neighborhood skate friends told me not to do heel flips on flat ground because it’s not cool. To this day heel flips give me problems and I blame that guy.
Lastly, people look different, and are into different things. I know people complain that today people are too politically correct, but I’ll take that as a societal standard as opposed to people being harsh on each other for no reason.