Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Killing of the Bullies

Shit. I've started it. It's been nagging at me for a while. It's been nagging at me for nearly 20 years. The assholes in my life who have bullied me. The ones who no matter how much time goes by, I still can't shake the anger and rage that wells up when I think about it.

I should be asleep in bed with my wife right now. I should be catching some z's because tomorrow is going to be a long day of work. Instead, I've been trying for the past 12 hours to write this post. This is the final version... Let's just say I've worn out Ctrl+A and delete today.

So, here goes. Want to know what goes through the mind of someone that's been bullied? Want to know why I strive every day to be a nice guy and stand up for the underdogs? Here's why:

Have you ever spent the first month of school being so nervous about bullies that you spend the first hour of the morning throwing up because you are so full of fear?

Have you ever felt as if no matter how hard you try to just blend, you still stick out like a sore thumb with a sign saying "Hurt me badly please?!"

Have you ever really had a wedgie so bad that your butt bled? I'm not talking about a little blood... I'm talking about being afraid of going to the ER because you can't get it to stop?

Have you ever been in the high school pool with the bully and pretend you have to shit for an entire hour because you know if you get into the pool, they're going to put you under until you actually think you are going to die?

Have you thought of 3,472,573,927,875 ways of killing your bully because that's far better than thinking about the pain you feel? And once you thought of every possible way of killing them, you then feel such guilt because now your own rage, anger, and violence that you want to direct towards someone is what you've been enduring?

Have you ever felt as if a supervisor purposefully sought you out just to pick on you?

Yep, here goes with my role call of bullies that should have had the shit beaten out of them repeatedly. Following everything they did to make my life hell. The people in high school I left the names out. The worthless supervisors in the Navy... Maybe their employers will find this and question the integrity of their employees....

Junior High School:
J.H. While this grade a Asshole never put his hands on me, him and his cohort P made sure that their words stung more than anything. Penzoil... That was the nickname gifted to me by these two. Why? I had pimples.. LOTS of them. I had oily skin. The joke? Hey JD, if you sold all the oil on your face to Penzoil, you'd be a millionaire! The one time I tried to stand up to P was on the weekend. I had gone to my school to go rollerblading. I just wanted to have some time to skate around on a nice blacktop that was smooth and envision being like the olympic skater Olav Koss. That dream was quickly taken away as P chased me around the blacktop with a belt and kept hitting me until I fell. I tried to defend myself but apparently her BIG brother was playing basketball. I.O. took it upon himself to come over and "defend" little sister. You know the "back breaker drop" that pro wrestlers do? I lost count at around 7 or 8 times being dropped on his knee. I laid there in my own pee and cried until they all left and I could limp home barefoot since they saw fit to take my rollerblades with them. Thankfully no one was home, I could take a shower, throw away the soiled clothes, and lick my wounds in silence. Sadly, most people who are bullied all go home and suffer silently. Trying to hide the shame they feel for not being able to stand up for themselves. We suffer silently asking God WHY? Why can't I fit in? Why do they continue to torture me?

High School:
R.P. and J.H., and the countless (worthless) wannabe gang bangers and their piece of shit girlfriends

Yes, these Grade A assholes were the ones who threw apples at me (IN CLASS), shoved me off the bleachers, tried repeatedly to drown me in the pool, gave me wedgies that again left my butt bleeding profusely. The ones that would pick on me in class and the worthless teachers who just shrugged it off. Yes Coach Johnson, I'm looking at you.

The worthless gang bangers who thought wearing red made them suddenly god's gift to the world and also gave them the right to torment every timid white boy who crossed their path. The ones who would throw rocks at me when I wasn't looking. That's why I started wearing baseball hats. They lessened the pain of a golf ball sized rock pelting me in the head.

This whole time of experiencing pain and humiliation grew and grew. Shit, I wish I could say that the bullying stopped at high school.

I joined the Navy. I wanted to serve my country. Too bad the military is full of roided out washed up football players who now have a chip on their shoulder. Or think of the people who were discriminated against in the early 80's and 90's. Three people come to mind who made me hate the Navy and wish they would fall overboard. BM1 Richard Blanding. This guy had to be the piss poorest example of a leader I've seen in the Navy. I guess because he was hazed and picked on by white guys when he first joined, it was his turn to return the favor. Guess who got the shittiest jobs on the ship? Yep, this poor timid white boy. Enter Chief Warrant Officer Ezell. He's the best example of reverse racism I've ever seen. He had his little pride and joy Seaman Hamilton. One day, Hamilton told me to "get the fuck out of my way" and I replied "Fuck off asshole". The next morning at Muster, CWO Ezell called me out in front of the whole department. He suspended my liberty for the entire visit to Bahrain and made me stand double watches each day. And then my final nemesis on the USS Cleveland.... Chief Warrant Officer Eugene Schlotterbeck. This guy was a flat out douche bag. He found every reason to torment me. He called me a fat ass, "Cantgetright", worthless excuse for a sailor. He did the same thing that Blanding did. He made me do the shittiest of jobs, work the longest hours, and endure the verbal onslaught day in and day out.

Those are the people that made my life hell. They are the ones who have shown me that the only way I can be is nice. I never got the chance to get revenge on them. I still want revenge. I've tried to shake the anger and rage that built up from the 6th grade on. It goes away most of the time. But then there are times like today (this post actually started last night), in which I can't shake it. I highly doubt the bullies remember any of these events. But I do. They are all scars on my heart and mind that weigh heavily every time the topic of bullies comes up. The shame I felt after one particularly bad experience with R.P. in which I drove home, grabbed a wooden baseball bat, drove back to school with every intention of finding him and bashing in his knees and ending whatever chances of playing football he had. How shameful I felt as I sat in my car and cried for the duration of 4th period, lunch, 5th period, and 6th period. nearly 4 hours I sat in my car. One minute enraged at the injustice. The next moment cloaked in self loathing that I had nearly stooped to his level. Going back and forth in the worst game of dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I'd ever experienced.

Thankfully, I chose not to assault R.P.

Thankfully, I've learned that the only way to stop someone from being bullied is to stand up and do something. I fact, I now make it a point to stop whatever I'm doing when witnessing bullying in action and do it in a swift and powerful manner. I may get my ass handed to me while doing it. But I know that if someone just once would have stood up for me, I may have found the ability to stand up for myself.

And Thankfully, because of the pain I endured, I will emphasize being a kind, loving, and gentle Man to my son. I will ensure that he knows it is completely unacceptable to bully someone. I will expect him to be a gentleman. He will be Chivalrous, he will be kind, he will be loving, and he will stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. He will befriend those who just need a friend. Simply, He's just another Nice Guy in training.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

American Chopper is a detriment to fatherhood

I've been an avid fan and watcher of American Chopper since its inception over 5 years ago. I was fascinated with the imaginative bikes they created, intrigued by the dynamic of the father son relationship, and overall trainwreck that I saw on a weekly basis.

I started watching the show before I was a dad. And now that my son is almost 3 1/2 years old, I have a newfound appreciation to fatherhood. I've also had A LOT of time to reflect on my childhood and how my father interacted with me.

Last night I watched my final episode of American Chopper. The show now consists of 5% bike building and 95% Sr. and his cronies talking shit about Jr. All I see is Sr bad mouthing his sons on national television. All I see is the people working at OCC badmouthing Jr. and Sr. not only agreeing with those people, but adding onto what they are saying.

I understand father son relationships can be hard. I understand that there will be disagreements. I understand that sometimes a father and son will butt heads. However, the constant trashing of his sons on national television finally drove me over the edge last night. I just couldn't take it anymore.

All during the show I kept thinking to both my childhood and my adult life as a Dad. I thought about my first marraige and how my dad said he wouldn't come to my wedding because my grandma and aunt (his mom and sister) would be there. They had a falling out the previous year and so he refused to come to the wedding. He flat out said "I won't come because your aunt and grandma will be there". I asked "For your one and only son Dad? You won't come to the wedding?". His simple one word answer ended up being the most hurtful response he'd ever give me: "NO". I hung up and didn't talk to him for nearly 6 years.

Well, the first marriage didn't work out. That's fine. It wasn't meant to be.

Then, in 2006 I met the beautiful woman I'm married to now. They say the second shot at something is always better. Well, this second shot is wonderful and I'm loving every second being married to my wife and having three kids. BUT, the second wedding was coming up and I called my dad to invite him. Mind you, the wedding was in March. no hot weather, not hurricane like rains... just great weather. He can't handle the hot weather so I figured it would be no problem for him to come to it. But then again, that's what I get for figuring my dad would actually care.

His excuse this time for not coming? I can't make the drive. my rebuttal: Dad, I'll pay for your plane ticket. it's a 45 minute flight. Nope, no can do was the response. It's been nearly a year since I last talked to my dad and the wedding was 5 1/2 years ago. I tried making the relationship work over the phone and even driving up a couple times and visiting. It just didn't work out. I couldn't give anymore to the one way relationship between my father and I. Him being the parent should give 150% to the father son relationship. but I was always the one putting in the effort and getting nothing back.

SO, Siyonara American Chopper. So long Paul Sr. Because of your douchebag ways and pride, the relationship with your sons will never be a good one. You'll always have to be #1 and make sure you have the last word.

Here's the deal: Dads out there... It's not about being #1 or having the last word. It's not about being right or perfect. It's about being a Dad. It's about caring for your kids and setting aside your pride and petty differences and being there for your kids. Regardless of what their faith, personality, sexual orientation, or interests are. You love your kids, you don't say mean or hurtful things to them or about them. You love them 100%.

My son asked me a few weeks ago for a pink car. I couldn't find one at walmart but I've been looking online for the perfect pink car for him. I love him regardless of wanting a camo humvee or a pink mazda miata. I will love him whether he wants to be in gymnastics or wants to play football. I will love him if he wants to play the Clarinet or dance Ballet. I'll love him until my very last breath on this earth and nothing will ever change that. I'll never say a hurtful word to him and I'll help him as best as I can for him to realize his dreams. Why? Because that's what a real man and a real dad does.

Discovery Channel: Maybe instead of making a show that demonstrates a cruel hurtful relationship, you can find a father and son duo who love each other unconditionally and work together harmoniously. Make a show that doesn't have all the drama but all the love and successes of a father son relationship. When you do that, I'll come back to your channel.

Tell me, what do you wish your mom or dad had done for you that they never did?

The Nice Guy