I thought about jumping on the band wagon and doing one of those hip and trendy “It Gets Better Video” that everyone is doing but I sort of have to take myself out of the equation.
See, in grade school, I was the bully.
Okay I wasn’t a good bully, not like some character out of a Steven King novel, materializing out of nowhere at the last page of a chapter and relentlessly terrorizing the hero for three hundred subsequent pages. No, I was just a jerk.
In grade 5, there was a kid I absolutely hated. Time has eroded the reason why but I remember standing in line to get back into the school after one recess and thinking that That Shillkin kid need a face full of knuckles to shut him up. At the time I was a weedy kid. Thin and unremarkable. As my gaze drifted over the crowd I saw Peter. Peter Hickling. Now HE was a bully – taller and thicker than any other kid in his grade, yet stupid as a cedar plank. Probably why he was a bully. Hum. Probably why I was a bully…
The next day I took a dollar to school and got Peter alone. I offered him cash to punch That Shillkin kid. He’d get paid when the job was done, preferably after school away from teachers. Yeah, that’s right I was a little thug.
Later, as I walked home from school, right in front of the St Francis Xavier church, in broad daylight, Peter and a couple of his friends cornered me and shoved me down for that dollar. I never learned if I got what I paid for. Sort of.
I did decide from that moment on I would never interfere with anyone’s life in a negative way, ever again.*
Of course, as a teenager, I broke that rule so many times – like a politician to a prostitute.
All of the times I broke that rule were stupid, dramatic teen crap, but the one time I regret the most is calling a gay kid in school a “fag”, yet knowing exactly what I was at the time. It’s a stain on my moral past I just can’t seem to erase, no matter how much club soda I use. I’ve since come clean to him via Facebook (yay internet!) but ultimately, being Italian and ex-Catholic, the embarrassment of that still sits around.
So while I agree utterly with the whole “It Gets Better” campaign, I don’t feel I have the right to speak about it.
…which I’ve just done…
But you know what I mean. I guess I’d say “Yeah it does get better, but don’t mess up the foundation of how things get better.”
Oh and also, “Clothes get better too.”*I know how hypocritical it is to say this yet I work in Online Marketing. Shaddap