While waiting for the water in that kettle to reach a boil and be ready to steep the tea leaves waiting in the teapot, I saw an item online about bullying and how to prevent it. This, of course, sent my mind soaring back to childhood when my younger brother was bullied. Fortunately, the teapot was already prepped and I had nothing breakable in hand to drop when my thoughts turned inward.
My brother has blossomed nicely, and he is now a rather fit, attractive man. But in grade school, he was plump, a bit short for his age, susceptible to catching colds that turned into pneumonia, and on top of it all (literally) was a head of carrot-red hair. Oh, and don’t forget the freckles that go with such a hair color. Nothing to make fun of there, right?
All the other kids need to know is that another child is sensitive about something. Once that is found out, they have their target and know just how to score a bull’s-eye every time. And when taunts of “Carrot top! Carrot top!” don’t generate any pushback, they accelerate to stronger language and even physical actions. Everything from hard bumps to kicks, punches, and knockdowns. My brother endured all of this and more. He had a black eye or two. Finally, my dad took him to the backyard, showed him some moves to make, and how to throw a punch. We didn’t have long to wait to see if this brief training in “bully repelling” was effective or not. The next day, the bullies dove in again. There they were, a head taller, about 50% heavier (muscle, not fat), and with attitudes that would have made Freddy Krueger seem downright hospitable.
First came the taunts. “Tubby freckly carrot top!” Then, a light shove. Then, a push. My brother issued a warning. “Cut it out now.” They didn’t heed him. They were very sorry. Very. The first bully didn’t even see what hit him (my brother’s fist straight to the nose) and went down hard. The others just backed away. After that, they were all friends. All it took was my brother showing some strength and standing up to them.
Speaking of strong, I think that pot of Keemun Panda is ready now. And so are the scones. Time to enjoy a nice mid-morning tea break. A bit of clotted cream. A bit of raspberry jam. A large cup of strong and flavorful tea.
Guaranteed to keep the bullies away every time.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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