I am frustrated at the apparent willful ignorance of so many people – people I thought were smart – acting like it is all a hoax, ignoring the science, promoting and sharing lame-ass conspiracy theories that have the potential to harm – or end – those who choose to believe, follow, and promote them.
In recent weeks the infection numbers have been rapidly growing and are higher than ever before. Yet – in many areas the restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, bleachers, beaches, party venues, churches, and streets are packed with people – many maskless and in very close proximity.
In the USA the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are fast approaching as is winter. I have a great concern that many will ignore the recommendations of the experts and will chose to gather inside with family and friends to celebrate these traditional holidays. I fear that if this happens the infection rate will climb even higher and many more innocent people will suffer and die all because people chose to put their own wants over the needs of everyone around them. They will chose to willfully and deliberately ignore the recommendations of science as if they actually believe they will somehow be magically protected by their deity of choice.
Life does not work that way no matter how much you want it to.
Nature does not care about you.
You must care about yourself and those around you.
In grocery and hardware stores I have seen everyone from toxicically masculine macho men to young parents with their kids – all unmasked – closely mingling with others and acting as if nothing is wrong.
I have spoken to mask-wearing front-line workers in these stores and asked them how they deal with these maskless bandits stealing the health and lives of others. They say at first they were told by their superiors to enforce the mask mandate – but then, after extreme push backs and verbal attacks from these maskless partons – they were told to just let them in the door and stop enforcing the rule. Why? Are the store owners afraid of losing profits? Are they afraid of confrontation or litigation? Whatever the reason it just boggles the mind that a store owner would choose possible contagion over doing what is right – tossing the whining, tantrum-throwing, maskless bandits out on the street and telling them to not come back in their store until they are following the rules set by the store owner, the authorities, and by science.
When I visit any store/shop I always wear a mask. In fact, as I have an elderly mother and other family members who are more at risk, and as I am a school teacher – I must limit my chance of bringing an unwanted hitchhiking virus back to my students/coworkers and loved ones. So, when I enter places where I have noted low mask use – such as WalMart and Hardware stores – I opt to wear a 3M N100 full face mask custom fitted with an exhale filter. Yes, I get many odd looks from the maskless bandits but I do not care.
They look at me as if I’m some kind of fearful nutjob.
The reality is that I am not living in fear – I am living with facts.
I look back wondering what is the matter with them – are they really so blind to facts, do they really have no care in their hearts for themselves or their fellow human beings, could they be some of the blind followers of any number of the anti-science, bible waving, greedy ego-maniacs in politics, religion, and on the internet who think it is all a hoax and/or a way for the government to impart control on the population and/or are just using the pandemic as a way to profit off the fear and uncertainty of their followers? Are they all getting some kind of mental fix from this game of Russian roulette they are playing with their lives and with the lives of countless others?
I do not know the answers. What I do know is that I have given up trying to educate those people because no amount of knowledge I share will make them change their minds and listen to reason. It is almost as if they are part of a dangerous anti-science, masochistic, pseudo-religious, cult of toxic self-centeredness.
Sadly sometimes, we thinking types just have to toss up our hands and walk away.
We must continue to protect ourselves by staying as far away as possible from the maskeless bandits.
We must not give up or give in and we must continue to follow the knowledge and recommendations of the science from the experts.
We must do all these things as well as just curl up in the safety of our caves and just sit back and let natural selection run its course.
You have a lust for adventure (whether internally, externally, or both)
You’re willing to go beyond your comfort zone
You accept instability and a lack of security as a way of life
You can be volatile and capricious
You don’t tolerate needy, clingy, judgemental or controlling people
You tend to be an unconventional thinker
You have a unique personal style
You’re a “rule breaker”
You thirst for truth
You’re an innovative dreamer
And yes, despite a few differences, the descriptions on that list mostly sum up who I am. I am a unique kind of person who marches to the beat of a different drum.
I have also been called names – from geek, nerd, wimp, and loser, to bastard and all the other childish “knuckle-dragging” “lowbrow” profanities, and more recently snowflake, greenie, leftie, leftist, activist, and even “hippie hair” as I choose to wear my hair longer than other males of my species within the culture in which I live. Obviously, many of these insults were sent in my direction by my peers when I was younger and in school, however, the latter more divisive and politically oriented verbal attacks were far more recently.
So, my big question to all those who have called me different, those who have called me profanities and other names, those who have labeled or called me a “free spirit” (which, by the way, I am proud to be called), and those that have targeted and bullied me with fear, venom, and hatred is this; why would you, and why would anyone choose to target and attack others with hate and fear without first: 1. Getting to know the person you are targeting before you choose to attack them. 2. Investigating those ideals and hatreds you have chosen to support for the justification of their actions. Why would anyone willfully, blindly, and without evidence, logic, and without considerate calculation consciously choose to target others they do not know with hateful, hurtful, and harmful, words and actions?
Maybe one of the answers is connected to what E.O. Wilson said: “…we are a dysfunctional species. and why? because, we have paleolithic emotions, we have medieval institutions, and on top of all that, we’ve developed god-like technology and that’s a dangerous mix.”
I do not have the answers. Nor do I know if anyone truly knows the answers to these complex questions.
What I do know is as my mother said: “If you can not say anything nice, then just do not say anything at all.”
This I also know – I will always support anyone labeled “different” “other” or “free spirit” by society.
In fact, I most often prefer the individuals that carry these labels as these are the people who most often have the most interesting and beautiful hearts, minds, and souls.
Why? Because I am one of them and I am proud of my uniqueness.
To begin with: Yes. I am a nerd.
I am a wild nature, wildlife, technology, and science loving nerd.
I would rather spend time in the woods than in the shopping mall.
I would rather read a book* than go to a party.
*Just in case you are wondering my favorites include but are not limited to: encyclopedias and reference books, nature field guides, science journals, technical manuals, DIY and other informational books, science fiction, and graphic novels (aka comic books) etc.
I would rather sit around a campfire with a few good friends than hang out at a loud crowded bar or nightclub (especially in today’s world).
I would rather go fishing, hiking, or biking alone or with a close friend, than attend a sporting event or a concert. (especially in today’s world).
I would rather work with my car/computer/cameras/audio-visual/technology and energy projects rather than socialize with others.
I would rather watch Star Trek than any kind of sports.
Team sports do absolutely nothing for me.
Religion is not my thing.
Conspiracy “theories” are a maddeningly huge waste of time.
Politics is insane.
My heroes are probably not your heroes. For example, from the superhero/movie/TV/movie/fantasy world I most identify with Peter Parker aka: Spiderman, Doc Brown from Back to the Future, Han Solo from Star Wars, Jackie Chan, Radagast the Brown – a wizard in Tolkien’s epic story, and MacGyver. I wholeheartedly agree with and understand where Mr. Spock is coming from on so many levels and feel a kinship with Geordie LaForge from Star Trek the Next Generation.
From the real world my heroes/inspirations and mentors include: Stephen Hawking, Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Nikola Tesla, Elon Musk, Clare Patterson, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Jacques Cousteau, David Attenborough, Hayao Miyazaki, the Dalai Lama, Chris Hadfield, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Colllins, Mike Massimino, Les Stroud, Greta Thunburg, both my adoptive and biological mothers and fathers, Ernie Kadel, Joe Woodard, Jim Hardy, and Bob Harris.
I believe it is crystal clear – I am what many would call a square, a dweeb, a nerd, or a geek and I am good with that.
I am a person who trusts, supports, and respects the logic and reason of the scientific method.
I am a person that trusts, applies, does, and communicates science.
I am a person that gets his vaccinations to help himself and others around him.
I am a person who knows the earth is round and exists within the solar system – the small collection of rocky/wet/dry and gaseous planets/moons and random chunks of ancient rock, ice, dust, and other cosmic flotsam and jetsam orbiting a rather insignificant yellow star in a somewhat remote corner of the milky way galaxy which is just one galaxy in billions that all had their start with a big bang some 13.8 billion years ago.
I am a living being who is a product of evolution. As this being who understands and supports the evidence and the facts supporting the theory of evolution by natural selection, I therefore understand that all living things on this watery space rock we call earth are related – closely and distantly – to each other through their DNA.
I am a person who understands and supports the evidence and the facts supporting that we humans are causing climate change by burning fossil fuels for the energy we need to heat and cool our habitats, produce our food and materials, and move our vehicles around the planet – with the natural consequences of these fuel choices adversely altering our planet’s climate and living ecosystems by burning up too many of these ancient dead things at too fast a rate for nature to be able to mitigate effectively.
I am a person who supports caring for nature – our only environmental life support system – above all other self-centered short term concerns.
I am a person who helps injured wildlife and picks up live serpents, (for rescue, rehabilitation, conservation, and education purposes only – and not in any way for any of the macho, toxically masculine, and/or bizarre, dangerous, and cruel, rattlesnake roundups or pseudo-religious snake-handling traditions.
As this nerdy, free spirited person of nature, science, logic, and reason I believe that is is safe to say that had I been born in the middle ages I would most certainly have been labeled a heretic, a witch, possibly even possessed by “demons” and therefore deemed a threat to society by the narrow-minded fear-driven people of the day. More than likely I would have been held captive in a filthy rodent infested and rot infected hole or dank dungeon, repeatedly tortured, tried by a totalitarian judge, then finally – publicly burned alive as one of my heroes was. Giordano Bruno was tortured and later publicly burned at the stake for being a free spirit – he was horribly killed because he believed in the possibility of other planets orbiting other worlds and the possibility of life existing upon those worlds.
I’m sure had I lived in those narrow minded days I would have surely met the same fate. Like Bruno’s it would have been a gruesome fear-driven political-religious-control-focused jeering bully filled spectacle designed to use those individuals labeled as “different” as examples to keep the rest of the people living in fear, marching in line, and locked in blind servitude to the master-blaster-bully in charge – be they a power mad control seeking king/queen/bishop and/or ancient misinterpreted metaphorical words in a dusty old – and highly edited to fit their politics and profit margin – “religious” book(s).
So, with all that being said, I believe I can understand and relate in many ways how today’s nerds, geeks, dweebs, squares, free spirits, deep thinkers, people of color, people with physical and mental challenges, those on the autism spectrum, and those in the LGBTQ+ community, …and anyone else society labels as “different” than the “norm” whatever the frack the “norm” is… must feel when they interact with the all crazy-mean finger pointing hate-filled, xenophobic, anti-science, myth and superstition following, bully promoting world we have created for ourselves today.
This is why I will always support and stand with anyone labeled “different” or “free spirit” by society.
The good thing for us “different” folk is that in today’s world, those in power do not usually burn alive, hang by the neck until dead, feed to lions or other hungry beasts, leave us in the wilderness to die, or toss us into dungeons to rot – but sometimes, these things do still happen.
Sadly, however, the bullies of today, those individuals who – for some strange reason – feel somehow threatened by our differences such as our looks, our skin color, our genetics/heritage, our place of birth, our dialect, our actions, our choices, our knowledge, or or by any verifiable facts and scientific evidence we may offer up freely to everyone – these insecure knowledge-lacking (and sometimes knowledge-doubting) bullies still feel the need to attack those of us they have chosen to label us as “different” and/or to distrust and deny anything we science and nature nerds discover and/or reveal that has the potential to threaten the ancient and/or modern real and/or /imaginary thrones of power, control, and influence they wish to continue to sit upon.
Strangely, even with mountains of evidence to the contrary staring them in the face, these bullies will often choose to attack with hate and fear-filled, words, fists, and feet…and sometimes, in today’s bizarre world – stones, knives, ropes, fire, bullets, bombs, armies, and even the misguided movements of massive mountains of money and/or gigabytes of data full of manufactured hate, fear, doubt, distrust, and distaste.
These kinds of fear and emotion driven attacks are just so childish, so tribal, so illogical, so…primitive.
“When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper; They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.” – Chris Colfer
The hard part is coming up with a way to educate those who do not want to be educated. How do we teach the bullies and haters that the answers they are seeking are not to be found in their fists and venom-spitting fear of anything different than what they think they know? How do we enlighten them that there is a better road than the terrible dead end road they have been on for so long? How?
Sometimes it does come down to fighting back – but a true warrior fights back not with fists and fury, but with with calculated knowledge, evidence, compassion, and love.
If you are ever forced to attack an enemy bully in self defense, the best defense from that enemy is knowledge. Know your enemy. Know the bully. If you know your enemy, then your attack will be swift, accurate, educational, and will hopefully, it will never need to be executed again and the bully will have grown to become a better person.
Today I am totally comfortable and happy with being who I am…but many years ago I was not. I so desperately wanted to be included and be part of the “in” crowd. The pain of it all was often just too much to bear. There were times when I thought about ending it all but when this would happen I would play with my dog, just go for a walk in the forest, or go fishing. Nature was my healer. It always put me at peace. The trees, the wildlife, the flowing waters, the sun and wind on my face – all these things were my escape from the toxic little red-faced bullies in school.
I am also so very grateful for all the gentle and wise elders who – then and now – have taught me and are still teaching me how to see, how to hear, how to care for others, for nature, and for myself – I am grateful for them because they taught me the true meaning of life.
Clayton and Catherine were my adoptive father and mother who brought me into their home and raised me as their own child. They gave me a deep curiosity for why things are the way they are, in how things work, and they gave me compassion for others. The most important thing my adoptive parents imparted to me was this: be your own person, make your own decisions, find your own path, find your passion. Be whatever you want to be in life as long as it does good for you, for others, and for the future, it will be a good choice. I have carried this with me throughout my life and have made it my motto:
Do good things. Do good things for yourself. Do good things for others. Do good things for nature. Do good things for the future.
If it is not a good thing, if it harms you, others, nature, or the future – delete it. Extinct it.
Do only good things.
There was my friend and mentor, Ernie Kadel, an older German immigrant who fled his home country when the notorious bully Adolph Hitler came to power. Ernie lived his retirement years in the neighboring house to the south of my home. He was a wonderful person who taught me so much about how things work. He took me sailing in his Folbot folding kayak/sailboat. We played billiards in his basement. We worked on projects in his shop. We ate traditional German confections his wife Heidi made. Ernie taught me to care about people because no matter where they are from they all have a story and lesson to share.
Then there was May and Joe Woodard. They were Cherokee. They were wonderful people whose Native American ancestors had been greatly harmed by the choices of my European ancestors. They did not hold a grudge. They just shared their lives, their stories and music from their elders. They shared the value and importance of keeping nature close and working with nature instead of against it. I listened and have kept their lessons close to my heart to this day.
Then there were the neighbors to the north of me. I do not remember their names but I do remember their fights, their arguments, the bitter hatred of the red-haired wife and the meek quietness of the skinny husband. All they ever seemed to do is yell and fight with the wife doing most of the yelling and fighting – the bullying. One day I noticed the man limping in his driveway – he had a arm and leg in a cast. Their cars were undamaged so I could not help but wonder if she, in a fit of flaming fiery rage, had pushed him down the stairs. What I learned from them was that I never wanted to be like them. I was so glad when they moved away but I sometimes worry about that quiet little broken man and if he is OK.
There were the two American dads and their wives. These two men and their wives were the fathers of two of my childhood friends. Both of these dads worked in the same factory, had two kids, had nice wives and tried to give their families the best lives they could. I admired them for working so hard to give their families so much. What I did not admire was that one of them drank openly in his home, even building a bar and having get-to-gethers with friends while his young children looked on and learned that free-flowing alcohol is OK. Some may not see a problem here but I do because my adoptive father was an alcoholic and his vise led to his death at an early age. For one of my friends dads, his open acceptance of drinking led to the abuse of alcohol by one of his sons who was my best friend for most of my childhood. From these two families I learned some great lessons what was a good work ethic, how good parents treat their children, and probably more importantly, good lessons on what not to do.
In high school there was my my home room and shop teacher “Sarge.” Sarge was a wonderful country gentleman who taught his students with calm strength and calculated educational words of wisdom and guidance that, if you were really listening, would reveal loads of meaning. Sarge taught me how to listen.
My parents and my childhood mentors really helped me sort out the conflicting feelings I had been having in trying to deal with the bullies. They helped me see that the problems I was facing were not in me, they were in the bullies. While I did understood this, it did not help me take the rapid-fire bullying I was assaulted with on a daily basis.
A true story.
Way back in the early 1980’s when I was in junior high school I found myself sitting in history class when the teacher had to leave the room for a few moments. While he was out of the room I, and the other students, witnessed an overly muscled testosterone-soaked toxically violent bully beat a non-threatening autistic boy bloody in his classroom seat just because the autistic boy was “different” and would not speak to the bully. The autistic child did not move or fight back. He never fought back when the bullies attacked. He felt that fighting would put him on the sub-human, fear, and animal instinct-driven level of the bully. He was right.
He just unwaveringly took the blows of the fearful little bully’s clenched fists and the hateful words hurling from his venom spitting mouth and he later walked away, bloody and bruised – but on the right side of history.
The bully was expelled on this occasion and on many more for similar infractions.
The bully continued on through the next few years of junior and high school and then the next couple of decades verbally and physically attacking people (including me) for trivial reasons. He finally met an early end on the other end of a knife from someone he pushed just a bit too far.
The autistic boy the bully attacked – he grew into a man and is a “different” but productive member of society.
“People who love themselves, don’t hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer.” ― Dan Pearce
Moving on through the rest of middle and high school I continued to be the target of many profanity spouting, hair-pulling, ear-flicking, red-faced little schoolyard, locker room, and back of the bus sitting bullies and no, at no time did my increased intake of spinach ever help me overcome their foul mouths and fat little clenched fists.
Why, because I was small in stature, “geeky,” “nerdy,” or “square” acting and looking, I sat in the front row in class because I was in school to learn – and the bullies always seemed to sat in the back row as far from the teacher – as far from the knowledge – as possible. I hung out with the nerdy/geeky/square/smart kids, I liked nature, wildlife, and science and engineering and working on bikes. lawn mower engines, and cars far more than sports and partying. I was also extremely introverted and not at all popular and then and now I did not and do not care about popularity nor do I want to be popular – I have far better things to do than to worry or care about what others think about me – that is their problem, not mine.
“I think the sooner that all of us in society stop accepting any type of bullying or harassment from other people – in spite of people’s social standing or net worth or whatever it is – the sooner it will stop.” – Jason Priestley
In school, and in life, I have always tried my best to fly low and maintain a low profile to avoid the bullies – but this tactic did not work for long because in my experience bullies always seemed to seek out the quiet ones, they targeted the those who fly under the radar – or perhaps I just did not fly low enough. Either I just wasn’t savvy enough to avoid them, or I was just unlucky because the bullies would always find me, and then do all they could do to attack and humiliate me for any superficial trumped-up “reason” they could find and then use to get a laugh from their friends (and sometimes even from those bully teachers and school administrators who are probably just grown-up bullies), and to somehow prop them up and make them feel stronger, popular, or somehow important (more like impotent) among their peers. At the time, when I was being bullied, all I wanted to do was to trounce them vigorously and viciously (like that kid in that old Christmas movie did) – but I never acted upon that urge because I am not a violent person and I also knew the bullies were very insecure, probably had horrible home lives, and many other problems. I knew the bullies were most likely hurting inside far more than I was hurting outside so I did my best to ignore them, I would stay quiet, not respond to their verbal attacks, and walk away when possible – I did not want to feed their attacks – feeding the fires of a bully only makes it grow into an inferno of rage.
“I would rather be a little nobody, then to be a evil somebody.” ― Abraham Lincoln
On two separate occasions I did confront my bullies, this is how those instances played out.
One day in middle school my peers and I were queued up and filing into the kitchen to get our lunch. I knew one of my bullies was right behind me but I just ignored him. I could feel his eyes on the back of my head. I could hear his snickering with his other little bully friend. I heard them talking shit about me trying to get me to respond. I used my Jedi powers to ignore them.
We then entered the kitchen where there was a buffet type set up where, as the students filed through, they would tell the “lunchroom ladies” which food items they wanted which would then be deposited upon our plates. As I moved along the line and my food items were placed upon my plate the bully to my right leaned over and said in a whisper “your father is an alcoholic and you will be too.”
This was it. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I stopped. Frozen in my tracks. The bully stopped. The entire line stopped. I was like a stone. My fists clenched my lunch tray. I thought about smashing the bully over the head with it but I do not like disruption or confrontation so I placed logic over emotion and I regained my composure. I slowly turned to face the red-faced bully – who was now grinning from ear to ear reveling in his toxic comment. I looked him in the eyes and said calmly “My father died last week. If you ever again disrespect his name and if you ever speak to me again – I will destroy you.” The blood drained from the drooling little bully’s face. His greedy grin dropped to a fearful frown. He froze. Then he broke eye contact with me and looked down. I did not give him any time to comment and I turned and moved on down the line.
It worked because the little rat-fink never spoke to me again.
“A bully hides his fears with fake bravado. That is the opposite of self-assertiveness.” ― Nathaniel Branden
In the second instance it was a female bully I had to deal with.
I was in high school and had been instructed by the band director to load several folding chairs onto my truck and take them to a band concert and a nearby school. I and some friends were working to load my pick up truck and a hot headed bully girl came over and started yelling at me calling me names and saying the band director had told her that she could take the chairs. Yes, really – she was bullying me over the right to tote chairs. I stood there in the back of my truck getting screamed at for offering to help the band move chairs. Very strange indeed. I stood there and took it for about a minute and when it looked like the foul mouthed insults from the girl were never going to end I just said – “You want to tote the chairs, sure, you can tote the chairs -” and I picked up about 6 folded lightweight plastic chairs and tossed them on top of the girl and her friends. They all fell down in a pile of chairs, flailing arms and legs, yelling and crying and then got up and ran away yelling insults and saying they were going to tell the principle. Whatever. Later I was called to the office along with the band director. He backed me up and supported my story and the principle dismissed the incident saying they had often had trouble out of the bully girl and that she would be dealt with. She must have been because she never spoke to me again.
After graduation, my schoolyard bullying problems mostly ended and I never saw most of the bullies again and for that, I was grateful.
“Getting bullied in school taught me how to be strong, getting judged taught me to be better, failure taught me to be resilient and being made fun of taught me humility.” ― Mehak Bhalla
In many ways, today’s childhood bullying tactics are far more damaging than the face to face bullying of yesteryear. Today’s bullies often use the before mentioned tactics and then add in social media, email, and other online platforms to horribly and repeatedly attack their chosen targets any time they wish with deep cutting insults, humiliating lies, and harsh and hurtful sarcasm and even threats to life and limb.
“If you’re insulting people on the internet, you must be ugly on the inside.” ― Phil Lester
Sadly, childhood bullying is often ignored by school officials and some parents saying things like “kids will be kids” or that old “sticks and stones” thing that is true only in the physical sense – words can and do cut deeply and words cannot be unsaid.
Please be very careful and calculated with your words.
“Cyberbullying is Bullying. Hiding behind a pretty screen, doesn’t make it less hateful, written words have power.” – Anon
Bullying, verbal or physical, is a form of assault – it is a direct and harmful attack on another person. Sticks and stones may, in fact, break bones but words and actions have the potential to cut deep, lasting, emotional scars in sensitive people as they have done to me.
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” – Harvey S. Firestone
Harmful childhood bullying needs to be stopped. Do not stand by and let a bully get their way. If you do this you are telling them it is ok to be a bully. If you witness an injustice happen and do nothing, you then become part of the problem. Intervene.
Damaged children need professional help. If childhood bullies do not have help sorting out and processing their insecurities, pain and problems when young, they may very well grow into emotionally unstable adults who verbally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically (secretly and publically) attack anyone who threatens their position – whatever they believe their position to be.
When childhood bullies grow up to be professional bullies that resort to toxic tactics in the attempt to win or gain some perceived high ground, it shows how deeply damaged and insecure they really are. This happens more often than we know, from the workplace to the homeplace and even in churches and most definitely in the toxic world of professional bullying: business and politics.
If a young bully does not get help early on, it is very possible they may at “best” grow up to become members of the upper echelons of the workforce where they may fit in best as controlling, micromanaging bosses who continue to harm and bully others daily with their toxic tactics – all while calling it “business” – as if that somehow justifies their horrible treatment of others – it does not. It is possible these boss bullies may reach a “tipping point” where they will be unable to be helped and may then become a detriment to society…what then…maybe they become a member of the ever-growing prison population or, in rare cases, maybe even fearful, venomous, hateful, racist, xenophobic, nationalistic, self-absorbed, power-seeking politicians putting control and profit over people and planet…or in rare cases they may even become terribly destructive fear-driven, power-mad dictators such as Adolf Hitler…
“Bullying happens because weak people need to prop up their ego by beating up or humiliating others.” ― Bruce Dickinson
In many of my part-time, seasonal, and professional jobs over the years, I have been verbally attacked and insulted by workplace bullies – usually for the same infantile reasons why I was attacked as a child and young adult. These so-called “adult” people who bullied me were most often white males in positions of authority and occasional females as well. For me the adult bullying was more subtle, it didn’t come in a physical form but manifested itself in stabbing veral personal attacks and/or painful targeted harsh sarcasm.
“Freedom of Speech doesn’t justify online bullying. Words have power, be careful how you use them.” ― Germany Kent
In one instance a “boss bully” manager of mine would not give me a raise when the time came because I worked my job “by the book” – as he instructed me to do during the two-week training class I attended at the beginning of my position with the company. At a staff meeting where this regional manager was rewarding workers with raises for “a job well done,” he informed me that I was not receiving a raise because I was “slow, and needed to work harder and to cut corners in my work to increase my speed and therefore: increase company profits.” When I calmly said “respectfully sir, people’s lives are at stake so I will work as YOU and your company trained me – “by the book” – and therefore, I will not cut corners that would in turn, jeopardize people’s safety and lives just to increase the companies, your, or even my profits.” – he then jumped all over me yelling, making a scene, and slinging insults and cuss words at me telling me I was “fu***** slow, couldn’t keep up with “the rest of the guys”, would never get a raise, and had no place in the company and if I could not perform and that I should just stay home and play with my turtles.” All his other hand-picked brown nosing butt kissing corner cutting toady employees laughed at me with him and mocked me from then on. Shortly after this incident, I left the company. The bully was later fired for his bullying tactics. Karma, maybe…or perhaps it was a certain well-written report outlining all the on the job infractions this boss-bully had committed that was sent to his superiors – we may never know.
“The meanest people are the weakest people, for they do not even have the strength to believe in goodness. Do not let this be your life’s curse.” ― Sean Patrick Brennan
Over the years I have experienced many other instances of workplace bullying on the professional level and my response would usually be to remove myself from the situation and leave the company…leaving a full and detailed report of what led up to my resignation. It was revenge of the nerds pure and simple.
“If they don’t like you for being yourself, be yourself even more.” ― Taylor Swift
For others, it is not that easy. Many adults suffer daily bullying and harassment in their workplaces and it is not just us skinny nerds, science geeks, and goofy squares who are attacked – it is also women, people of color and other ethnicities, religious groups, those in mixed marriages, LGBQT+, “country” folk, “city” folk, physically and mentally challenged people, and people who are on the Autism spectrum. It often seems that anyone who is labeled as “different” by society are quick and easy targets for the small-minded, toxically masculine, overly macho, knuckle-dragging, status quo seeking type bully.
”Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Then there is familial bullying – bullying among siblings, spouses and other family members. Often familial bullying is verbal and in the form of inflamed tempers, raised voices, personal insults, and/or harmful harsh sarcasm. This type of bullying may be fueled by money/job insecurities, alcohol, and substance abuse, and domestic disputes with one family member taking out their frustrations on another – oddly enough, with the aggressor often saying things like “I only do it because I love you” – riiiiight. This kind of verbal and emotional abuse may even lead to physical and sexual abuse.
You may not think this familial bullying is a big issue but you would be very wrong. Many people suffer familial bullying and abuse and never do anything about it, they just take it, day in day out – hoping the situation will get better or go away. Some of these people get wise and get out of the toxic situation by leaving the family, divorcing the bully, or calling the authorities, or even defending themself with force – but some do not and sadly, some, who cannot see a way out resort to committing suicide.
Yes, bullying can be that bad.
“People try to say suicide is the most cowardly act a man could ever commit. I don’t think that’s true at all. What’s cowardly is treating a man so badly that he wants to commit suicide.” ― Tommy Tran
If you find yourself in a similar situation – ask yourself, am I being bullied or am I being the bully? If you answer yes to either of these questions – seek professional help now.
“Bullying is killing our kids. Being different is killing our kids and the kids who are bullying are dying inside. We have to save our kids whether they are bullied or they are bullying. They are all in pain.” – Cat Cora
Sadly, and bizarrely, it also seems that in some places, those of us who work to support a better future for humanity and choose to unite behind the findings of science with the adoption of clean, renewable energy, ethical foods, coexisting among all “races,” respect of others choices of who they choose to love, and alternative transportation technology choices as well as supporting policies and regulations that protect air, water, nature, and wildlife – in other words, protectors of nature and life – we and our works are often horribly and endlessly verbally bullied online and even in public by those individuals that do not want, or are afraid to change – or that have large sums of money tied up in dirty, highly consumptive, often addictive, outdated toxic technologies such as fossil fuels or tobacco. There are even highly paid “think tanks” and other organizations designed to manufacture and cast about FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) on the facts and the science and to bully and harass the scientists who choose to share their findings and evidence with the world – findings, and evidence that, by their very nature, challenge the status quo. These scientists only want the best for the future of our species and yet they are attacked, ridiculed, harassed and bullied – just because they want to help society. Examples include: Clare Patterson (lead in gasoline), James Hansen (climate change), Rachael Carson (DDT), Robert Mark Bilott (PFAS) – and there are many more.
Hundreds of nature and wildlife protectors are attacked and die each year at the hands of hired thugs (grown-up bullies who are paid to be professional bullies) working to help huge corporations gain access to natural resources such as protected and endangered wildlife, forests, fossil fuel and mineral mining, land rights for expansion of humanity, and factory farms, etc. This is corporate greed sanctioned bullying and it often hits the indigenous and the poor the hardest – but it impacts us all.
“What if the kid you bullied at school, grew up, and turned out to be the only surgeon who could save your life?” ― Lynette Mather
I hope you see my point.
Do not be a bully. Do not support a bully. Do not vote for a bully.
Bullies are never working for you, they are only working for themselves.
If you are a bully, apologize to those you have harmed and seek professional help.
If you have a young bully in your classroom or home, or if you know an adult or a professional bully – please, help them get professional help for their sake and for the sake of all the other people they will wrongly attack throughout their lives if their bullying is allowed to continue.
Believe in good. Do good things. Be the change.
“No one heals himself by wounding another.” ― St. Ambrose
Being “different” in a world full of control freak bullies is a huge challenge, but it is who you are.
Do not be a bully, but be yourself and do your own thing even if it ruffles the feathers of those who would rather stay a sheep, conform, and fit in.