When I was in junior high and high school, bullies were people who stole your lunch money. Bullies were physical or seemed they would reach that level in their need to control. This was the 90s, things are very different now. And, I am not even going to TOUCH on the added pressures and problems technology and social media add to a bully’s power.
But, by today’s standards, I was a bully. I made jokes at others’ expense. I called people out on their mistakes, in front of anyone and everyone. I think everyone always laughed. At least, I remember the laughter the most. I remember the reactions from the group-never the person. Even right now, I can’t picture a face that was hurt or sad or even angry. I wonder if that is because I was an overweight teen and seemed physically daunting or if it was because they saw the humor in it. Most probably, though, as I write…I never looked at their faces. I only cared about making everyone else laugh. I thought it was my purpose or something.
Not to go completely into the deep, but as I write, I recall my first memories of knowing I needed people to laugh at and with me. I was young, 4, 5 years old tops. My family was and is a party family. We like to celebrate, most everyone drinks, a lot smoke marijuana. And, clearly, we grow up early with this party atmosphere.This particular family event included my older cousins and aunts teaching me a well-known nursery rhyme, but with a twist!
LITTLE MISS MUFFET SAT ON HER TUFFET
EATING HER CURDS AND WHEY,
ALONG CAME A SPIDER,
WHO SAT DOWN BESIDE HER
AND SAID, ‘WHAT YA GOT IN THE BOWL, BITCH?’
I nailed that last line and my family laughed and laughed. I loved it. They loved me. Many more family gatherings included my “funny poem” performance, and always to huge acclaim and approval. I was 4, I had no idea what “offensive” even meant. But, I knew that feeling of instant gratification for being funny meant everything. I’ve been making people laugh ever since.
I won’t ever be able to see those kids’ faces or know their feelings when I pointed out that they’d forgotten to zip their pants or had toilet paper on their shoe. I do remember the girl in 8th grade Spanish who I alerted (in front of the entire class) about her shorts giving her a camel toe. Yep. I did that. And she laughed! She laughed with everyone. But, I know deep down that HAD to have hurt her and embarrass her and who knows what else. But, I never noticed. I only knew I was being funny. I loved the laughter. I only cared about making everyone crack up.