Way Back When…

When I was a kid, I generally was the one that stood up for the kids that were bullied.  That is partly what makes this story from my 1st grade year to strange to me.

There was this girl named Terry that was generally ostracized by everyone.  She was poor, socially inept, and withdrawn.  All the things that seem to bring out the meanest in young children.  And it brought out the meanest in me and my friends.

When we walked home in the afternoon, there was a lot with a few pear trees.  No one ate the pears, so they would fall to the ground and rot.  The outside would get really hard, and they would be kind of mushy.  My friends and I would throw these at each other as we crossed the lot on our way home.

One day, Terry happened upon us.  So, being mean little boys, we started throwing them at her.  At first she lobbed a few back at us, then just took off running.  We gave chase for a minute or two, but since there was no supply lines to replenish our ammunition supplies, we had to call on a full retreat.

But on that day those rotten little pears were given a name.  For, while pelting poor Terry with them one of the apparently smarter of our group coined the term “Terry Turds”.  As the years went on, we stopped pelting people with Terry Turds, but would still chunk them at each other on occasion.

Looking back on this, I can’t even explain what I was thinking.  The thought of victimizing someone is so foreign to me now…it is strange how that works.

3 Responses to “Way Back When…”

  1. A likely explanation is that at that time you didn’t think a lot before you acted. And you were in a group. My guess is that had you come across the little brutes pelting their victim with pears, then you would have been outraged and would have rallied to her defence. But you were part of a group and your desire to stay part of the group led to you behaving in a way that you would not have behaved on your own.

    I am ashamed to say that I also bullied children when I was young. And I’m even more ashamed to say that I have also bullied people as an adult. And like you, I have always passionately stood up for the underdog. Even when I have hated them because of what they have done to me, my pity has outweighed my hatred. Because, however, I have always had a deep disdain for groups, especially for groups where I am not the leader, or which I cannot control or bend to my own will, my meanest actions have always been executed solo. And I believe that this has helped greatly to reduce my malignant potential. While one can always point to the Ted Bundys of this world, the harm they do is a but a drop in the ocean compared to a Ghengis Khan or a Napoleon, a Hitler or a Stalin. Homo, young and old, is at his most lethally destructive when in the Group. The alleged restraints offered by others in a group are much weaker than the urge of the group to cause mayhem, to substitute blind instinct for cautious, careful reflection. And the harm that Homo in groups does in the end always outweighs the good Homo might once have done at the beginning. For me then, the task has been to try to live my life outside every group, no matter how tempting or appealing that group may seem. Guidance best comes from reflecting on books, not from the opinions of one’s peers. But living without friendships, without even the possibility of the solace of others, is frightening, especially as one grows old. Which is why so few choose to walk that path, even though all will find themselves one day having to make the final journey alone.

    • outstanding and introspective. Thank you.

      Group think, or the “herd mentality”, certainly does lead to some unsavory evils. The mob is one of the only things the ruling class fears.

      Thanks for coming by….i would love to hear more of what you have to say.

      BTW, i live mostly without friendship. I have one friend about 6 hours away, and then my wife and kids. The wife and kids are my “friends” One of my greatest fears is having to make that final journey alone.

  2. That should of course be “Genghis”, not “Ghengis”!

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