You know how Classmates.com sends you emails saying who recently joined or viewed your profile, etc.? Recently when I saw the name of someone from my old, old neighborhood--Melanie S.--my knee-jerk reaction was, I hate her—what a bitch!
Melanie had a couple of years on me and was what you’d call a “mean girl.” I was a little runt of a kid and I can remember her threatening to steal my bike and stuff like that. And I did hate her. Then I realized, for Christsakes, she’s like 54 years old now. Maybe she turned into a lovely person, maybe she donated a kidney to someone, or maybe she has MS or some horrible disease and here I am calling her a bitch a full 40 years after her bullying. Yikes.
That led me to think about how people might remember me as a kid and into high school. I was captain of the cheerleaders (at a time when cheerleading was positively the queerest thing you could do) and I was vice president of my senior class (again, queer), but I don’t think I was cliquey or anything. I felt I was well-liked, and without even trying, was nice to everyone.
Well, almost everyone. There was a girl in our Lincoln Avenue neighborhood named Loretta who was kind of heavy and definitely not cool. When she rode past my house, I remember sitting all uppity on my porch steps and saying, “Pretty groovy bike you have there.” In an English accent. WTF???
I remember saying snotty things to her a couple of times--in an English accent--and do you know to this day, I still feel bad about that. It wasn’t like I was going to do anything to her, and the truth is, she was much bigger and could have beaten the shit out of me, but she just kind of looked at me like, “Yeah, I know I’m not cool” and kept going.
My sister Lori dealt with quite a few bully girls, and I think it was even worse for the boys in the neighborhood, like when “Stephen and Gary” were on the prowl to throw their weight around, since bully encounters involving boys could well end up in fist fights.
You have to wonder what turns kids into bullies, like they must have a shitty family life or an undiagnosed learning disability that makes them feel inadequate in school so they have to take out their frustrations somewhere. And aren’t you glad that people pretty much grow out of bullying by the time they’re adults? I’m pretty sure that if I ran into Melanie S. today, she wouldn’t grab my purse and run.
But adults can still bully, no? Maybe you see it in the workplace, or in relationships. Or in the comments section here on my blog, after Tuesday's and Wednesday's posts.
There’s a husband and wife team here in Las Vegas, Laura and Cory, who’ve been leaving comments as “Anonymous” (how brave) for over a year now. I used to let them go through, but when they started getting really nasty, I started moderating comments, and then I got to the point where I rejected them without reading them. Since I do allow people to comment anonymously, I check my stat counter to make sure the comments are coming from the Laura/Cory IP address before I reject them, though now and then I inadvertently open one.
If you’ve read their comments on Tuesday's and Wednesday's posts, you have an idea of their handiwork. (I deliberately let a few go through yesterday because I knew I was going to do this post.) Usually the ugliness is directed at me, but they’re not above spewing their crap on other bloggers, my daughter, and even my grandson. I read a couple of their (ultimately rejected) comments on my “kiss my black ass” post, and I can only conclude their linen closet must be full of white sheets.
Part of me is like, who the fuck cares, but I admit it's a little weird to have someone spend so much time picking you apart. I mean, they come back to this site many times a day, every day. They're like Linda Lou savants, often throwing back details from old posts or my radio show in the comments they make. No doubt my book will be a literary wet dream to them.
It’s weird, all right. And sad.
You know, I was a hospice volunteer for several years, and I’ve seen so many people who would have given anything for more time, and believe me, they would have spent it wisely. I can’t imagine having nothing better to do with your life than to devote so much energy picking apart someone else’s.
This will be the last I mention them and I’ll continue to reject their comments without reading them. I’ll apologize now if I accidentally delete a legitimate one. And I'll also apologize to Laura and Cory since I won't be giving them an opportunity to defend themselves here. But this is my neighborhood, and to use a line from my childhood, "Stay off-a my property!"