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Chase Me

When I was in third grade, a few kids were terrorizing the school yard.

The aids on the playground were useless to stop it, which actively made things worse. If you told them about the bullying, they replied that nobody likes a tattle-tale.

My teacher decided to show us how to outsmart a bully. He asked one of the kids to come up in front of the class and chase him.

He didn't move. "Well, chase me." He said. He still didn't move.

"See?" He said. "If you don't run, they can't chase you."

We all nodded, obediently.

I was mad, though. I knew his zen wisdom was bullshit. He was a teacher. He didn't live in our world. We couldn't take proper advantage of his refusal to run. We couldn't write on his shirt or rub dirt in his hair or stomp on his toes.

I wanted to put dirt in his pockets, and see how he handled that. Would he then wear clothes without pockets? What if I rubbed dirt in his hair, or stomped on his toes, or spit in his ear? What if I invented a new torment for him every day for the rest of the school year? Would he cry every morning because he knew he'd see me at school?

Or would he send me to the principal's office? I bet the principal wouldn't call him a tattle-tale.

Readers' Comments

Um... what happened at work today, Chris? Did someone bully you? What brought out this story? No really, where you talking to a therapist or something? What happened?

Who hurt you?

For some reason I thought of it while I was walking Henri this morning. I know that Mr. R. was a good guy, and trying to help. But honestly, he did violate Wheaton's Law once in a while.

I did get bullied as a kid, and my parents were about the only people who were able to help. School officials unanimously refused to do anything.

Oh, and I totally agree with what my Krav Maga teacher tells his kids: "Never start a fight. But if you're in one, do what you have to do, and let me talk to the principal."

Bullies are so terrible, and adults are always so far from helpful. I know I've had my fair share of bad things happen in my life that could have been stopped if adults had listened to what I had to say.

Props to your Krav Maga teacher, that's what I used to tell the kids I taught - martial arts instructors are too often like the Cobra guy in Karate Kid. Zen is usually bullshit, unfortunately, but that's what I've learned in the past year...

Glynis | 12/21/09 9:14AM
What I thought was great was that he (as a dad looking out for his sons/daughters) was telling them not to worry about school rules. The message was: I don't care what school rules say. *Nobody* is allowed to hurt you, and you are *always* allowed to defend yourself. And when the school officials try to bully you, tell them to talk to *me*.
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