Bullied Into Bending The Truth

, , , , , , , , | Learning | December 10, 2019

(My brother is three years younger than me and started at my secondary school this year, aged eleven. He almost immediately starts getting bullied by a kid in his class, who happens to be the brother of a girl in my year. The bully is easily the smallest child in my brother’s class and is constantly angry, fighting constantly, and seems to be bullying several kids, not just my brother. I witnessed him come up behind his sister and demand money from her; then, he kicked her in the knees so she fell to the ground before kicking her again. He also made lots of nasty comments that made his sister cry. The school does nothing because the bully always starts fights when teachers aren’t looking and then claims self-defense, getting away with it because he’s smaller than them. I offer to help my brother constantly by letting him hang out with my friends or by going to stand near his class in breaks — I’m a school prefect/monitor so could intervene — but my brother has autism and is already struggling socially so he doesn’t want to be with my friends or for me to be near his. Until one day…)

Brother: *crying and running over* “Help! Help! Please help!”

Me: “Is it [Bully]?”

Brother: “Yeah, he got me and now another boy, too.”

Me: “Okay, stay here.” *to my friends* “Look after him, please!”

(I run down to the area where the younger kids have break and see [Bully] immediately. He’s sat on another kid’s neck with his knees on either side of his throat and is just landing punches on his face. As I run closer, I can see the boy underneath is going purple and is pulling at [Bully]’s knees, obviously unable to breathe.)

Me: *still running over* “Hey! Get off him!”

([Bully] doesn’t respond and as I get close, the boy underneath goes limp, still being punched. I grab the scruff of [Bully]’s collar, intending to pull him off the other child and to his feet. I’m only 5’3” and female but I still tower over this tiny child and my panicked grab of his collar results in more than the intended force. Instead of pulling him to his feet, I throw him back where he crashes into a pillar and crumples. I freeze, horrified that now I may have hurt someone; I’m a nerdy girl who’s never been in trouble before. A teacher who knows me and the other prefects well comes running over.)

Teacher: *running over* “[My Name], just go! Run! I’ve got it.”

(I ran for it, leaving the teacher to deal with both boys. The boy who was attacked had to go to the hospital for treatment for a broken nose, broken tooth, and difficulty breathing and swallowing. The teacher knew about the bully and the school’s rule of needing a member of staff to witness and bent the truth a bit. She told them that she’d witnessed the attack on both my brother and the other boy but denied that I’d been there, saying that no one had hurt [Bully] and he’d been making it up to claim self-defense. He ended up getting a long period of isolated education, working one on one in a classroom and taking breaks by himself. It’s not totally moral for the teacher to have lied, but given [Bully]’s year of attacking people every day, it felt justified!)

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War Is A Cartoon Joke

, , , , , | Learning | December 9, 2019

(I live in Israel where military service is mandatory and there’s no shortage of conflicts. But as a mostly non-political cartoonist, I tend to stay away from this subject when drawing, except for this one time. I am sitting in the house of a thirteen-year-old kid to whom I am giving private lessons in illustration. While he works on the comic I assigned him to draw, I sit down to work on my own comic series, which is about stories from my life. He leans over and reads the page I’m working on. It talks about me preparing to get on a bus and head to fight in a war.)

Student: “You were in a war?”

Me: “Yeah.”

(He takes a moment to process this, since this isn’t something I typically talk about, nor do I look like much of a typical “fighter.”)

Student: *now poking my shoulder with his stylus* “I’m just imagining you walking up to enemies on the battlefield and kind of… poking them with your drawing pen.”

(I stare at it for a moment before turning my sight back to my drawing.)

Me: “You’re joking, but I’ll have you know it was a pretty aggressive war.”

Student: *immediately looks regretful and withdraws the stylus* “S-Sorry.”

Me: “We lost a lot of–”

Student: *interjecting with guilt* “I apologize.”

Me: “–good pillows that day.”

(It was silent for a moment. Even though I was not looking directly at him he was glaring at me so hard I could basically feel it on the side of my head. He got up, threw his hands and stylus in the air, and noped out of the room as I burst out laughing.)

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The Only Thing Blaring Is The Neighbor

, , , , , | Learning | December 8, 2019

(It is my first semester of freshman year. I live in a first-year dorm, but it is apartment-style, meaning the door from the hallway opens to a living room and kitchen and there is another door leading to my bedroom. During finals week, “24-hour quiet hours” are enforced, basically meaning that you’re not allowed to blast music or TV loud enough to be heard in the hallway or other rooms. I don’t have any finals, so I am laying in my bedroom with both doors shut watching TV when someone starts pounding on my door.)

Neighbor: “Open up!”

(I look through the peephole and recognize her as my neighbor from across the hall, so I open the door.)

Me: “What’s up?”

Neighbor: “I can’t focus with your music blaring like that!”

Me: “Um, I’m not playing music.”

Neighbor: “Don’t lie! I hear it right now!”

(Standing at the hallway door with my bedroom door open, I can just barely hear my TV playing.)

Me: “Oh, my TV? Sorry, I didn’t think it was that loud. I can turn it down some.” 

Neighbor: “You’d better!”

(She stomps off and I think that is the end of it. Fifteen minutes later:)

Resident Authority: “Campus housing!”

(I open the door, and my neighbor has brought our RA to my apartment.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Resident Authority: “Do you know about the 24-hour quiet hours going on right now?”

Me: “Yes, that’s why I’m watching TV with my bedroom door shut. Could you hear it from the hall?”

Resident Authority: “Was it playing?”

Me: “Um, yes. It’s still playing right now.”

(He pauses and listens.)

Resident Authority: “I can barely hear that.” *turns to neighbor* “Is this really what you bothered me about?”

Neighbor: “I’m trying to study for finals! I can’t focus with her TV blaring!”

Resident Authority: “I have finals, too! And I can’t focus with people knocking on my door making fake complaints! If it really bothers you that bad, campus housing gave you earplugs at the beginning of the year. Dig those out.”

Me: “So, am I good?”

Resident Authority: “Yep, have a good week, and watch TV all you want.”

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Can’t Duel A Man Who Duals

, , , , , | Learning | December 6, 2019

(This is a conversation I had with my friend and our senior over dinner. We are discussing hobbies and [Senior] mentions that he likes playing badminton.)

Friend: “Why aren’t you part of the badminton club if you play every week?”

Senior: “They wouldn’t let me in.”

Me: “Why not? Did you ask them?”

Senior: “I didn’t bother. I know they won’t.”

(I’m a bit puzzled as the badminton club isn’t competitive or anything. It’s more for learning how to play.)

Me: “Why not?”

Senior: “The thing is, back when I was a kid, I had this weirdo for a badminton coach and she taught me to play badminton completely wrongly.”

Me: “Wrongly? What did she do?”

(I’m thinking that my senior was maybe taught to hold the racquet wrongly or something minor like that.)

Senior: *looking slightly embarrassed* “Well… let’s just say I only found out last– Oh, wait. Two years ago now — that you were only supposed to use one racquet in badminton.”

(I trade incredulous looks with [Friend] and simply say the first thing that comes to my mind.)

Me: “What?”

Senior: “I’m serious.”

Me: *struggling to comprehend* “So… you play by dual-wielding racquets?”

Senior: “Yes.”

Friend: “I’ve seen him play. He’s actually really good.”

Me: “But– but two racquets?”

Senior: “Yeah. I hold the right one in reverse grip and hold the left one normally.”

(I’m completely and totally befuddled at what he told me, my mind struggling to comprehend what I have been told. Incidentally, my friend is still completely fine and not weirded out.)

Friend: “Have you tried using just one?”

Senior: “Yeah, but I always wind up slapping the shuttlecock with my other hand. Muscle memory.”

Me: *somewhat absently* “Ah, yeah. That’s understandable.”

(I’m wondering how the h*** his badminton coach became a coach in the first place, how the h*** she got hired by my senior’s parents, and how the h*** my senior, a straight-A, highly intelligent, mature, and sensible eighteen-year-old, didn’t notice that badminton was meant to be played with only one racquet until he was sixteen. When I asked him on a later date his answers were, “I’ll tell you when I find out,” “She was a family friend,” and, “I’m an idiot.” respectively.)

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Dropping You Off In The Hotel

, , , , , , | Learning | December 5, 2019

My son is in his high school band. They were on a band trip from Pittsburgh to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was sending texts about how bad their bus driver was. She couldn’t get out of the high school parking lot without trouble. At a rest stop, she went in the wrong way to a restaurant.

A few hours later, he texted that everyone was all right, but they were in an accident. One person got hit with a small piece of safety glass when a window broke, but she was fine. The driver was in a tight space and couldn’t turn around, as she was having a very tough time of it. My wife texted asking how close he was to the hotel. His answer was, “Touching it.”

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