Bully

There’s an interesting blog series ongoing at Salon.com that I’ve been following (clued into it thanks to a link from Jay Lake‘s link salad).  The series asks people to reconnect with their childhood bullies and to interview them and write about the experience.  It’s called, naturally, “Interview With My Bully“.

The premise is interesting.  It’s the story of the abuser from the perspective of the abused: comparing and contrasting the irrational hatreds of children with the reasonably respectable adults they’ve become.  Only a handful of the Interviews have been posted, yet – but invariably the bullies of childhood eventually evolved into upright, respectable, productive citizens.  What’s particularly interesting is how many of these bullies have forgotten the pain they once inflicted – it’s something that has receded into their memory.  I don’t doubt, though, that the experience of being a bully has deep implications for their adult psychology.

Like a lot of nerdishly-inclined people, I was bullied growing up.  But I’m not a very good candidate for this project.  I have no single, memorable bully that I can point to.  I recall none of their names.  My bullies were mostly semi-anonymous: kids I spent very little time around, except during recess or between classes, times when we were out of the direct eye of a teacher or administrator or other adult.  That was when I was vulnerable. Continue reading