I was walking to school the other day and came across some colored chalk drawings on the sidewalk, obviously the work of a bunch of little kids whom I've seen playing in that area many times before. I was shocked to see that one of them had written, "I HATE MY LIFE." It depressed me that instead of pretending to drive a car or go to work, this young kid pretends (I hope) that she is as suicidally depressed as the older kids she worships.
Here's another heartwarming tale: I was pushing my son in the stroller to go buy a bottle of liquor. (Hey, we don't give him any.) I walked over a bridge by a little stream, where some kids were fishing. A chunky (but I wouldn't say fat) kid was ahead of me on his bike, just pulling up to the other kids.
The oldest of the kids started accusing him of "liking" some other boy (not present). The chunky kid puzzled for a moment, then smiled as he said, "No no, he was hittin' on me." (He thought that was a great comeback.)
The older kid said, "Shut up, no he wasn't. You're a fag, and you're fat. Get out of here!"
The chunky kid said no, he didn't have to leave.
"Yes you do! You don't have a fishing pole, fatty."
(At this point one of the other kids said softly, "I don't have a fishing pole..." This guy might be a future LRC writer!)
The thing that really bothered me about this episode was not that there exist jerks like that older kid; and anyway, for all I know his dad is a drunk who whips him three times a week with his belt. But what really bothered me was that the "fat" kid really had no choice but to endure the abuse, because all of the other kids thought the jerk was cool. If only a decent number of kids would refuse to hang out with someone who was undeniably as ass to unpopular kids, then society would be far different. Of course, that's like saying democracy would work so long as people didn't reelect someone who lied them into war. (Yep, that's right, I had to make it political.)
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