Posted tagged ‘name calling’

“You bloody old towser-faced boot-faced totem-pole on a crap reservation.”

January 14, 2016

Yesterday I got the newspapers from the front yard, and all my plans for the day changed. It was so cold I decided to stay home. I had a wonderfully cozy day and an early nap. Today is a bit warmer so I’ll venture out bundled only a bit. I got a new vest for Christmas and it is just perfect for today.

I would like to do bodily harm to Peter Pan from the Geico ad. Considering the reactions of Phil and Diane they feel the same way. Joanne looking 70 wasn’t all that far off as it is the Class of 65 and most are probably 68 anyway. No, it was the look on Peter’s face that made the comment so officious. I would love to have smacked him right then or, even better, watch Phil wind up and hit him in defense of the lady. I did chuckle at You Make Me Feel So Young. The song was a brilliant choice.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. I was always struck by that one. I thought name calling really did hurt, mostly inside where nobody would know. It was in school at recess where the boys were the worst and the most heartless. They didn’t target me too much, but they did a few friends of mine. One of my friends cried, the worst thing of all to do. I explained to her that you yell that useless saying back as if you believed it. Better yet, get a crowd to say it with you. Numbers have power. The other option, the one I used once, was to punch the ring leader in the face. That put a quick stop to name calling and I was sent to the office, not at all repentant.


“A knife wound heals, but a tongue wound festers.”

March 24, 2015

No weather report today. Day after day is always the same. It’s depressing. The only bright spots are the large numbers of green shoots in my front garden. They give me a bit of hope.

When I was a kid, we lived in what we called the project. The houses were all duplexes, one side the mirror image of the other. Living there was only open to veterans and their families. Kids were everywhere. We first lived around the small rotary which the last of the duplexes circled. Below those duplexes was the field surrounded by woods. A long fence in the backyards separated our houses from the privately owned houses behind us. I used to climb the gate by the parking lot as it was a shortcut to my aunt’s house. I never once, in all the year’s we lived there, see the gate opened. No car ever used it. No car ever really used the parking lot either. Most cars were in front of the houses. My dad always parked his on the side road as our house was on a corner with the hill on one side.

Most times nothing much happened in the project. In the summer you could, now and then, hear people yelling at each other through the opened windows. We always listened. At supper time, mothers yelled out the doors for their kids. Once there was a fight between two men who were neighbors. I remember one man was a photographer who took pictures for the local newspaper. I don’t remember who the other man was. I do know the fight started because the wife of the photographer was German. He had met her while he was in the service on duty in Germany. This was in the mid 1950’s, and most of the men in the neighborhood had served in World War II. The guy I don’t remember called the wife a Nazi and a few more choice names and then the fight started. They rolled and wrestled on the grassy hill, and I remember the photographer’s sweater vest was pulled over his head so he couldn’t see to defend himself. Everybody was out watching. I don’t remember how the fight was ended. I figure neighbors must have grabbed the fighters and separated them as I would have remembered the police coming.

That fight was the talk of the neighborhood for the longest time. The men never spoke to each other again. The photographer and his wife and son eventually moved. That is the only time in my life I have seen adults physically attacking one another. Burned in my memory is the image of the two men rolling down the hill trying to punch one another. I remember the sweater vest had the argyle pattern popular in the 50’s. The son of the photographer wore glasses.

It is strange what our memories hold on to and what is lost over time.

“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.”

May 17, 2012

It’s chilly but still a beautiful and bright sunny day. It’s also nap time for the animals. The cats are on my yet to be made bed which they love, and the dog is on the couch snoring as if she were a bulky man in a tank top who fell asleep in his chair watching football. Those animals inspire me!

When I was growing up, there were good kids and bad kids, and we all knew the differences. Bad kids were bullies. They were name-callers and they were sneaky. All of them hung together in a sort of gang because the rest of us, the good kids, wanted nothing to do with them so they were stuck with each other. I didn’t know many bad kids. I know I punched one in the face at recess when I was ten, but I don’t even remember his name. I do remember the satisfaction of that punch. He, the nameless one, deserved it for making my friend cry by constantly calling her names. He wouldn’t stop when I asked so I punched him. We both ended up in the principal’s office, but I told her why and she let me go. I don’t know what was said or done to him but he stopped name calling.

In high school, on the bus, one kid got teased all the time. His name was Billy Marrota, and he always took it from the other guys as if he were the designated target. I think there were three or four other guys, and they always sat in the back row. It was a public bus as we went to school in a different town to a Catholic high school. The ride was a long one so I used the time to study. The boys in the back didn’t, and they annoyed me with their noise and laughter and their teasing which was always aimed at Billy. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t tell them to stop. It seemed humiliating, but he laughed with them, probably out of self-defense. I spoke to the bus driver and made him the bad guy. He yelled and told the guys he’d throw them off the bus if they didn’t behave. They did.

When I was young, I believed that most people were good and they were. Even the bullies stopped when confronted (or punched). We were all so innocent back then.

“No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.”

July 19, 2010

The weather is going to be the same all week, the same as it was last week. The paper did say chance of thundershowers this afternoon and evening, and I’m hoping it happens. My world is brown from lack of rain, and I love a thunderstorm. Last night I showered about eight then went right to my air-conditioned bedroom to read. I was reminded of Ghana. I’d take my cold shower, jump into my robe to walk across the back courtyard to my house then go right to bed, still wet from the shower. The air drying would keep me cool enough to fall asleep.

I have such an itch to go somewhere. The other day I went to a few sites and plugged in destinations hoping to find an inexpensive airfare. All the places I investigated were new to me, that was the only rule. I’m still on the hunt. Ghana will be some time next year, but I don’t know when yet. I’m waiting to hear if there will be festivities celebrating 50 years of Peace Corps in Ghana. I’m going regardless, but I’d like my trip to coincide if there are any planned.

When we were kids, we laughed at the grossest stuff and told horrid jokes. If someone got sick, it was fodder for endless jibes. I remember there was a  Helen Keller joke phase and the punch lines would send us into peals of laughter. We weren’t cruel. We were just kids.

Telling someone they had cooties was about the worst. None of us knew exactly what a cootie was, but we knew we never wanted any. I remember making a cootie catcher and holding it near kids and saying, “I got one; I got one.” That always got me chased.

We never swore at each other back then, but we named called. I remember the universal answer was always, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” They actually did, but in no way would we let that one out. The last thing any kid wanted to be was a target, even for a little while.