Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Can't read my bullied face


True story: During the fifth grade, Ray Carpenter would knee me in the balls every day.

He'd do the knee thing after lunch.

Ray Carpenter was blond, with blue marbles for eyes, and he was fleshy without being fat, like a Michelangelo sculpture. He was a slab of plaster, ill-defined.

"Hey Marc," he'd say.

"Hi."

"Not gonna hurt you today," Ray'd say.

I'd relax.

"How did you like the meatloaf?"

"I didn't eat," I'd say.

Ray would place hand on my shoulder. His bony plaster-hand clutched my shirt. "It was good meatloaf."

"Great."

There were other classmates standing around. They knew what was coming, usually before I knew.

The weird thing about being regularly kneed in the balls by Ray Carpenter was that I was only kneed in the balls after lunch. Most times, Ray was nice to me--we joked around during class, we played around during recess. During gym, Ray and I formed a coalition and took out other boys during dodgeball.

Then, after lunch, Ray would place a hand on my shoulder, assure me nothing would happen, ask me a few questions, then slam his knee into my crotch.

He wasn't the only bully I came across--there were plenty of them. Most called me names, which didn't bother me, or found ways to make me feel like a freak. The only person to physically attack me, tho, was Ray Carpenter.

Well, and the guy who choked me until I passed out in class. I don't remember the guy's name. I do remember the teacher, tho: Mrs. Embry. Mrs. Embry was standing at the front of the classroom, and we were sitting in our desks, and the guy behind me reached forward and pulled my shirt collar into my throat until I passed out and collapsed. When I regained consciousness, the first thing I heard was the laughter of the class. The second thing I heard was Mrs. Embry telling me to stop being a clown. I'd fallen out of my desk onto the floor. I'd interrupted Mrs. Embry's lesson. Shame on me.

Fortunately, this choking event happened after lunch so I'd already gotten my knee-to-groin for the day. I think if I'd been kneed in the balls after the choking, I'd've been too weak to continue the school-day.

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