Sunday, 24 May 2009


When I was about 16, I tried out being a bully. I was feeling a bit big for my boots having reached 6th form and one day I decided that this particular 5th former needed my attention. The attention took the form of me grabbing the school cap off his head and holding it out of his reach. You will have spotted that my attempt at bullying was extremely feeble and indeed it is questionable whether it was actually deserving of the title 'bullying'.

It was a rather impromptu act for which I had made no preparations other than a cursory glance to ensure that the basic rule of bullying was being met - i.e. that I was bigger than he was. My first foray into being a bully would have benefitted from a little research. In particular, it would have been helpful to have found out who the lad was. This elementary exercise would have revealed that Stuart, for I believe that was his name, was considered to be very talented on the rugby field. Armed with this information, I might well have left him well alone. As it was, there was a blur of action, and some time later, I regained consciousness nursing a rather sore jaw. I was alone, and my embarrassment appeared to have gone unobserved.

I relate this unflattering episode from my formative years for one reason only. That is to reveal the point at which I learned that bullying was not for me. I am against it and would never condone it. Having made that clear, I will tell you a story about an experience of my daughter's where I hope you will agree that the humour of the event, eclipses the minor act of bullying involved.

She was teaching in a school for boys who were too badly behaved to attend mainstream school. The class that lesson, aged about 14 or 15, included a giant of a boy, well over 6 feet tall and with the build of a tank. Apparently anxious to please his new and attractive lady teacher, he offered to clean the blackboard. My daughter accepted his offer.

The gargantuan lad duly stood up and approached the front where he turned and bodily picked up a much smaller boy who had been sitting quietly minding his own business. Holding him horizontally, he proceeded to clean the blackboard up and down with his human board wiper. He then turned him to a vertical position and completed the job with a side to side action.

The entire class erupted with laughter, my daughter included. I am pleased to say that the board wiper was laughing as much as anyone.

1 comment: