Saturday, September 20, 2008
Just say "No!" to bullying!
(This after-school public awareness message brought to you by The Film Geek, who managed to avoid all-things-bullying until well into his early 20's.)
That' s mostly true.
During my growing-up-years, bullies seemed fewer than today, and bullying was pretty rare. There was the occasional dust-up. But as I recall, bullies were usually called out early by classmates, and even beaten on themselves once in a while (when they didn't back down) by classmates looking out for each other.
Of course, most of the bravado was fake. I mean, when we stepped up to stare down a bully we all hoped he would back down and not throw a punch. We all wanted to get laid, you see; fake bravado sometimes facilitated that, while bruises, broken bones and black eyes did not.
That's why some of us utilized the "Hold Back Technique" featured in the flick Drillbit Taylor. You fighters know the technique: you position your best friend between you and the person you are expected to fight, knowing that when the time comes to make your move, your friend will step in between the two of you and effectively stop the hoopla.
Here's an example, from 1983.
After a basketball game at [cough, cough] Richwood (WV) High School, I and several of my friends were riding home in a car driven by our assistant coach and his friend, Jeff Asbury. We stopped at the 7-11 for the 80's version of the Big Gulp (because, Chris James, we won the game and we were thirsty) then talked outside the car while the adults were still inside. As we talked, a car load of Lumberjacks--angry because of their devastating loss to the uppity other high school in the county--rolled up, and the Lumberjacks got out.
There was a throw-down coming.
Separated by the assistant coaches car, the two groups cursed and yelled at each other for several minutes, and one of the Lumberjacks called me out by name. Because I'd been keeping my eye on the coach and his friend while they were inside the store, I knew they would be out any second. So, I ramped up my bravado in carefully designed increments, knowing I'd peak just at the moment the coach and his buddy were in place to help.
As the adults walked up on the Lumberjacks side of the car, asking: "What's going on here, boys?" I suddenly threw off my letter-man's jacket, jumped onto the hood of the car and started running toward the lumberjack who'd been smarting me off. As anticipated, the coach's buddy Jeff Asbury caught me as I threw myself off the hood toward the bullying Lumberjack. The fight broke up, and we headed back home.
Reputation intact. But most importantly, no bruises to my face.
The "Hold Back Technique." Carefully planned and executed, it's a most effective way to prevent bullying and injury.