He was different, he wasn’t cool like me

The news has been very, very depressing lately. I KNOW, it’s ALWAYS depressing. But it’s more depressing than usual. Am I the only one that’s noticed this? I can’t be, right?

Even this pug wearing clothing is super-depressed.

OK, first, this whole thing about the bus monitor in Rochester that was bullied by middle school kids has me insane. INSANE. I tried to watch the video and I absolutely could not do it. I watched approximately a minute and a half and had to turn it off. Yes, yes. I know. The world stepped right up and donated her a ton and a half of money, because if there’s one thing people are good at, it’s throwing money at something that makes them sad to make themselves feel less sad. (Sorry. That’s rude. I’m sure people have the best of intentions.) So far, as of the writing of this post, the fundraiser to send her on a vacation has raised about $668,000. That’s a hell of a vacation. I’m not judging, and it’s not sour grapes, but there are a lot of people saying she “deserves” this money. Really? There are a lot of us who were bullied that much or more by children. Other teachers, even, according to my friend who teaches junior high. Do we also deserve that kind of payout? I don’t think anyone in the world deserves anything. I know, that’s kind of insanely conservative, coming from me, right? I’m a big fat enigma, what can I say. Is it nice that she’s gotten all these donations? Sure, it’s nice. Is it DESERVED? Debatable.

Whew! NOW my conscience is appeased!

That’s not the point. The point is, middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL. Those children were, what, 12-14 years old? What the HELL are we teaching our young adults that they think it’s ok to verbally harass a senior citizen to the point of tears? Did you watch this? Did you all watch this? I think everyone’s watched this, right? I’d link to it but I don’t want to. I just don’t even want to. You know how I feel about bullying, you know that. I know how cruel children are to each other, of course I know that, but when did children stop having even a little bit of respect for an adult in authority? None at all? Really? I mean, sure, we were all kinds of eye-rolly at adults when we were children, sure we were, but we didn’t taunt adults to their faces until they cried. Is it the mob mentality? Like, these children weren’t really all that bad, but as a group they all just got meaner and meaner and meaner and spurred each other on? Or are they? Are children this bad now? My teacher-friend says they are. I don’t want to think they are. I can’t think that, I just can’t. Not without my head exploding.

See? THIS is how I want to imagine junior high kids. All shiny-happy-people. DAMMIT LET ME HAVE THIS.

I don’t know what the solution to this is. First, we didn’t have bus monitors when I was a kid. I asked my parents, and they said this is a thing now. Well, good. The buses were a NIGHTMARE when I was a kid. Just complete and utter chaos. Like, Lord of the Flies but the island was a moving motor vehicle. People were beaten, having sex in the back seats, things were thrown at each other, out of the windows, at the busdriver – and our bus was worse, because it had kindergarten through senior year on it, so you can’t tell me those little five-year-olds were safe with senior year hooligans around them. So, yeah, a bus monitor is a good idea. But apparently not in this case. What was HAPPENING on this bus? This shit kept happening? The busdriver didn’t stop it, or stop the bus? Did this woman report these kids? It’s obvious she wasn’t able to do her job as bus monitor. So were all the other kids she was supposed to be protecting unsafe, because she wasn’t even able to protect herself? I am kind of flummoxed by this entire situation. This couldn’t have been a one-time incident, right?

Look at this shit. This is what happens on the bus, don’t think otherwise. Buses are UTTER CHAOS. On WHEELS.

And listen, I was not an angel-child by any means. No no no. I was often quite cruel. Mostly because I was dealing with a lot of personal shit and I lashed out inappropriately. I don’t think it’s called PTSD when you’re currently experiencing the trauma. Current-traumatic stress disorder? I don’t know. Anyway, I’m just saying, whatever the reason, I wasn’t always nice. Far from it. I was often mean and sarcastic and bitter. Middle school kids are terrible. Just terrible. All those hormones? It’s lunacy.


The whole thing makes me nervous and upset. Do I think the kids deserve punishment? Hell yes. Everyone, no matter how old they are, needs to understand there are consequences for their actions, and that you can’t treat your fellow man in such a way. These kids grew up in a culture where anti-bullying was taught as part of the curriculum. According to the Greece School District Website, they teach using the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  (I have my doubts that these programs work, really, but they have to be better than not having a program at all, right?) It’s not like these kids don’t know what bullying is. Were they not aware that bullying an adult is the same thing as bullying a peer? Did they just not care? I know they’re minors, but I’d love to hear the kids’ side of this. What led them to do this? Were there thought processes involved, or was it just something that seemed fun at the time (like most things we do when we’re hormone-addled teens?)

I’m thinking about this too much, aren’t I? I do that with things like this. They upset me more than they should. Andreas wrote a very compelling post about compassion in the human race recently, but I don’t think it’s compassion that’s fueling my cyclical obsessive thoughts about this. It’s childhood trauma, and my need to know why. Why did this happen? What led to this happening? How can we stop it from happening again? Can we stop it from happening again?

And then, THEN, political shit has turned the country into lunatics. There is SO MUCH SHOUTING RIGHT NOW.

So, so much. And hating. And the Republicans are at war with the Democrats. WE HATE EACH OTHER SO MUCH. We can’t be friends. Because the Democrats are a bunch of dirty damn hippies who want the government to give them free…well…everything and also hate Merka and complain a lot and hate God and want us all to be vegetarians and also smoke all the legal weed, and the Republicans hate women and poor people and people of color and illegal immigrants and love guns a lot. So of course we can’t get along because we’re like cats and dogs or maybe oil and water and THERE IS SO MUCH SHOUTING. We seem to forget we’re all just people, and when we finish work, we go home, and we all worry about bills and our loved ones and we like to laugh and we sometimes cry and wear shoes, and we sleep, and we are sometimes loud and sometimes quiet and we’re all a little nuts. Nope. We’re not humans. We are DEMOCRATS or REPUBLICANS. Or, I suppose we can be something else, like Socialists or Green Party members or Independents or whatever, but no one takes those parties seriously. Probably because they aren’t shouty enough.

Listen, I love election season.


LOVE. I love that it gets all exciting, and that there are debates, and people get on television with charts and graphs and you try to guess who’s going to carry which states, and best of ALL you get to VOTE, which, listen, I love so much, I’ve mentioned that before, my insane love of all things voting-related. I love when the vice-presidential candidate(s) are announced. I love when these SCANDALOUS stories come out like “ZOMG BIRTH CERTIFICATE!?!1?!?” or “Romney was a total bully in high school” or “I can see Russia from my HOUSE” or whatever. Love. It all makes me very excited. I love how our political system works, even though it’s a little confusing even though I’ve totally studied and researched it and I’m quite intelligent. I love that we get a say in it. I love that there are PEOPLE whose JOB it is to decide what COLOR TIE a candidate should wear to best come across as compassionate or diplomatic or intelligent. I love it. All of it.


I don’t remember us hating each other this much four years ago. I really don’t. We all started hating each other this much since Obama became president? I’m confused by this. He really doesn’t seem to be doing that bad of a job. I mean, were you all asleep during Dubya’s presidency? The mess Obama stepped into when he entered the White House – I mean, I think if it was me, I would have just put my head down in the Oval Office and wept for like a month. It’s like everyone forgot the Dubya years. I didn’t. I didn’t forget them at all. At least now I don’t have to apologize for the president when speaking to people who aren’t American. I did that a lot during the Dubya years. There was a lot of “yeah, I KNOW, it’s so EMBARRASSING, what can you DO” coming from me for 8 years. A LOT. I haven’t had to say that once in the past four years. Mostly because I’m not embarrassed of Obama. He doesn’t make embarrassing gaffes or stand under big old “MISSON ACCOMPLISHED” signs when the mission wasn’t even accomplished or stare off into space for seven minutes while reading My Pet Goat while his country is under terrorist attack.

This just makes me sad.

Obama’s intelligent. Have you heard the guy talk? He’s intelligent, and he’s personable, and he’s got a sense of humor that’s more New Yorker than frathouse shenanigans. He doesn’t give his staff members nicknames like “Boner” and “Hillbilly Frank.” Is that the problem? Do people resent him because they think he’s smarter than they are? Don’t we WANT a President that’s smarter than we are? I know I sure as hell do. I want the person with his (or her, dammit, her, HER BEFORE I DIE PLEASE) finger on the button to be smarter than I am, and not think kegstands and/or red Solo cups are a good way to spend a Friday night WHEN YOU ARE IN YOUR FIFTIES.

Do you WANT someone like this running your country? I mean, maybe you do. I don’t know your life. But I’m going to hope not.

We’re talking politics. Sorry. SORRY. I know, I try not to do that here.

All I’m saying is, can we stop with the shoutery and the hating? Please? I know. It’s a lot easier to hate someone than it is to put yourself in their shoes for a few minutes and think, huh, if you put aside the politics, we’re just all people. Or if you stop bullying for a minute and look, that person is being injured by what I’m doing, and how would I like it if someone did that to me? Or if (and the kids who did this in Rochester are getting some of this now) people I love saw what I was doing, would they be proud of me right now? What if someone was doing this to my mom? My sister? My grandmother? Would I allow this to continue?

If we all just try to realize that every single person in the world is just that – a person – and trying to do their best, even when they’re being an INSUFFERABLE ASSHOLE – maybe we could just be a little nicer. And then I wouldn’t have to avoid watching the news or clicking on links or talking to my dad about anything but the weather. I need more happy “look, this guy rescued a dog for no reason other than he was a nice man” and less “another kid killed himself because he was bullied into thinking he was worthless” stories. Can we work on that? Any chance? Thanks so much, so appreciated.

This entire photoset is worth seeing. It’ll lighten your day. I almost promise it. Click. What can it hurt?

You know, we really are capable of such amazing things. Why are we wasting our voices and energy on shouting and tearing down when we could be singing and building up?

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

30 responses to “He was different, he wasn’t cool like me

  • sj

    So, I’d avoided clicking on that link before today because I knew it was going to make me cry. I knew it.

    Obviously, I was right because I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face.

    I have so many things I want to say, but some of them I’m not entirely comfortable discussing in public. Regardless, I’d just like to say that while the kids bullying the bus monitor were little shits, wtf is up with OVER HALF A MILLION DOLLARS being donated for her vacation?

    I’ve never had a vacation (like, a real leave the house and go somewhere for any period of time vacation) in my entire life. I was bullied as a kid, can someone please set up a donation fund for me?


    • lucysfootball

      If I had more than $20 bucks, I’d absolutely send you on the BEST VACATION EVER. Someday, my little tapioca pudding cup. We’re going on an ADVENTURE. Someday.

      I love that link. I cried and cried.

      I know, right? I have trouble buying GROCERIES most months. Over $650,000. Good grief.


  • surroundedbyimbeciles

    As a historian, I believe politics have always been divisive. I mean, we’ve had a VP kill another public official in a duel and beatings on the floor of the Senate. Technology has allowed that to seep into everyday life.

    As for the president, I believe we have learned that having a bad one (Bush) doesn’t mean the next one (Obama) is going to be any better. Just because someone gets the job under tough conditions doesn’t mean they are the one capable of fixing things. In fact, I would theorize that we’ve had more bad presidents than good ones.


    • lucysfootball

      Yes, I suppose you’re right. Social media does make it seem more immediate and in-your-face, I suppose.

      And I suppose what we think is better is subjective, too. I have to remember that. One person’s worst president ever is another person’s eh, not so bad, and vice-versa.


  • jbrown3079

    I avoid writing about politics although I may not make it through this year. I agree about the either/or arguments. There is a lot of grey area where compromise lives. My main problem is the constant ignoring of facts when it comes to debate.
    As far as the kids on the bus, make them walk to school for a year. I don’t care how far it is.


    • lucysfootball

      I read today they actually got suspended for a year and got community service. A whole year! That’s some kind of punishment.

      And YES. Agreed. Both sides ignore the facts and flat-out lie. It makes me crazy. You can’t trust anything anyone says. It just makes me sad.


  • Samantha

    Wow that link was beautiful. I nearly cried on the picture of the girl picking up her injured competitor so she’d get across the finish line. And you are so very right, it’s hard sometimes to put yourself in someone’s shoes when what they think or believe is just so horribly wrong in your view (or like you said, they’re being an insufferable asshole). But still, we are still people and should treat everyone like it.


    • lucysfootball

      It is tough. I struggle with it EVERY DAY. (I work with a lot of conservatives.) But I try to remind myself they have kids they love, or something else that makes them relatable. Even though, some days, it’s a lot easier than others.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I think it’s the lack of respect in society in general that is reflected in young people today. Kids tend to mimic the behaviour of adults, and it’s a grab-what-you-can, me-me-me culture going at the moment. “I deserve to get whatever I want” and “It’s not a crime if it doesn’t affect someone I know” seem to be the current mottos. With that kind of nonsense floating around, how can we expect our kids to grow up like honest decent people? (And yes, now I also sound rather conservative – must be that I’m one year older, you tend to get more conservative at old age..)


    • lucysfootball

      I know how old you are now! Are you only one year older than me? And you’re always calling yourself old! You are never allowed to call yourself old now. Only one year older! We’re practically TWINS! Hee!

      I agree. Kids can’t be expected to be better than what they see every day. (And that explains why the children of all the people I love are AMAZING. Because the people I love are amazing, and are wonderful role models.)


    • lucysfootball

      I know how old you are now! Are you only one year older than me? And you’re always calling yourself old! You are never allowed to call yourself old now. Only one year older! We’re practically TWINS! Hee!

      I agree. Kids can’t be expected to be better than what they see every day. (And that explains why the children of all the people I love are AMAZING. Because the people I love are amazing, and are wonderful role models. And, therefore? Your daughter will be AMAAAAAZING.)


  • Domestic Goddess in Training

    I have not been able to watch the video yet. Being a teacher and a mother, unfortunately I have seen situations and dealt with bullying situations and they always piss me off. The sad thing is that In the last 10 years every school I have worked with has had some bullying prevention program and they have worked some, but the problem never gets extinguished. I still hold out hope that someday it will not be a problem.


    • lucysfootball

      I think (and I hate, hate, HATE to say this) that it will always be a problem. It was when my grandparents and parents and I was in school, and I am sad to report that even The Nephew has bullies in his wee little daycare (and BELIEVE ME, my mom and his mom have to physically restrain me from going after those little jerks and throttling them with my bare hands, because HE IS MY WHOLE HEART.) Sigh.


  • Jericha Senyak (@JerichaSenyak)

    “We seem to forget we’re all just people, and when we finish work, we go home, and we all worry about bills and our loved ones and we like to laugh and we sometimes cry and wear shoes, and we sleep, and we are sometimes loud and sometimes quiet and we’re all a little nuts.”

    Thank you. Just….thank you.


  • Elizabeth

    The behavior of the middle school students is one of the reasons I stopped teaching that age group. When a simple request (to open a book to a certain page, for instance) is treated with disdain, there is something wrong with the system. It has gotten worse every year. I am sure they are copying what they see and it is sad that our world has become so angry and full of hatred.

    As for the bus monitor getting donated so much money – it is very frustrating. Maybe I should set a camera up in my classroom to show the disrespect and defiance that teachers face every day. I should record calls from parents who yell at me because their child earned a zero and a referral because he/she plagiarized the assignment. Yet teachers are vilified. After all, we are the reasons why our educational system in the US struggles.

    Anyhoo, thank you for your insightful post. Once again you’ve caused me to think and that is a great gift.


    • lucysfootball

      We were talking about that at lunch today (I spent the day with some friends) and I guess it’s just understood that middle school is a terrible age group. I didn’t ever know that! I don’t remember being too insufferable at that age, and have known some lovely junior high kids. I guess I just know some great kids.

      I also know some amazing teachers. And I know how tough you all have it. I think you all deserve – YES, deserve, more so than this bus monitor – more money than you’re getting, and more support from the parents and the community. Happy teachers lead to kids getting more out of their education, in my opinion. And the teachers that are working through all these obstacles and STILL keep a smile on their face, and the kids STILL love their class and leave both educated and feeling valued? Treasures, right there.

      Thank you for reading. I love seeing you here, every time.


      • Elizabeth

        I enjoy visiting. I may not always comment, but I make sure to read. Your blog gives me all sorts of happy, even when it is serious.

        Thank you for your support of the teaching profession. Most of the time it is a beautiful thing and I love it. Those parts make all the other stuff go by more quickly.


  • Handflapper

    DAMMIT. I clicked on the pictures and I couldn’t look past the first one because I got all goose-bumply and then I knew I was fixin’ to burst into uncontrollable sobbing, so, no. Just no. YOU WILL NOT BREACH MY BARRICADE OF CYNICISM, AMY. Nice try.

    And yes, kids are shits. Mostly. I know a few nice ones, but for many years I made my living teaching the worst, and I’ve been called every name imaginable and had things thrown at me and broken up fights but I have never been bullied. And you know why? BECAUSE I DID NOT ALLOW IT. What the fuck? The last place I taught was a psychiatric day school and those kids were at their last stop before prison, no joke, and don’t doubt they tried to beat me down every damn day with their insults and disrespect and threats and hateful attitude, but I was the goddamn adult and I never let them take charge. I just kept being cheerful and helpful and encouraging and those little shits eventually came around. I learned, even as a child, to let that crap roll right off me like I was teflon. I do enough beating up on myself to ever allow anyone else to do it.

    AND oh, yeah, I remember Dubya. What an asshat. And everyone who voted for him is an asshat.


    • lucysfootball

      Sorry. I didn’t mean to evilly trick you into sobbing. I’ll spoiler-alert you next time.

      You’re brave. I think I’d be a sobbing mess if kids were bullying me. We need more teachers like you.


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