A bully hides his fears with fake bravado. That is the opposite of self-assertiveness.
But the coconut is also a symbol of resilience, Samar. Even in the conditions where there’s very little nourishment and even less nurturance, it flourishes, growing taller than most of the plants around it.
We have probably all seen teachers who would pick a student up by the scruff of the neck for saying ‘Shit,’ but who would walk by without a word when overhearing that same student taunting a classmate, calling him a ‘fag.’ It is often easier not to intervene – even when there is a clear-cut victim. It’s out in the hall. It isn’t our business. It isn’t our problem.
But our inactions, like our actions, define who we are and what are true values are.
I know what I’m talking about, Alecto! When I think of Jud, I think of the times he wanted to be a coal miner, the times he took Wendy and me sailing in the harbour, the times he showed me how to play soccer, but I forgot all the bullying and I’ll never understand why. And now you ask me, you ask me what happened once we were in high school. You said you didn’t understand what having a family was like, so ask me!
There are those who will resent you for not being confined by their limitations.
If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will break my soul.
High school will probably be better. I mean, some kids will still be jerks, but it’s not so bad if you have at least one good friend. Someone who gets you.
When Quiggin ingratiated himself with people-during his days as secretary to St. John Clarke, for example-he was far too shrewd to confine himself to mere flattery. A modicum of bullying was a pleasure both to himself and his patrons.
No matter how much bullying they inflict on my body, as long as I have this hope, I can endure any pain.