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What a Face Full of Negative Egg Did For Me

October 9, 2012

With age, I like to think, comes a tiny bit of wisdom.

It occurred to me the other day that nearly everything negative I have ever thought about myself has come from the mouth of some misguided nitwit looking to make themselves feel better by inflicting pain elsewhere.

If you look at it with your “hunter” and “prey” glasses on, you identify it as abject misery flying around trying to pin itself on one of the many moving targets it sees during the day.

Most people can bob and weave, avoiding the sticky negative goo; others get hit, but due to inflated self-worth, can use the teflon surface of their ego to repel the negativity and watch it slide helplessly to the floor after having no effect.

Sadly, the rest of us get a face full and remain covered in it until we make our way to the psychiatrist’s office for a session, where he helps us scrape it off with one of his two-hundred-dollar-an-hour analyst spatulas.

I used to think I would never be the kind of person who would knowingly inflict pain on another, but I recently became aware that my circle of friends and I used a particularly odd brand of humor to make someone from our past feel just terrible.

So terrible, in fact, that she made a point of telling us that we had made her life a living hell.

Our ringleader was a tall Meg-Ryanesque comedienne with a sharp wit and an acid tongue. Her henchwoman, the brash Lenny Bruce of knee socks and school sweaters, is still my best friend to this day.

They led our daily shenanigans with vigor and might, but I was unaware that we left some people cowering in our wake.

After the initial shock of the victim’s reveal, I sat down and really thought about how we had made this gal feel. Yes, we were heartless little fiends and tear-aways, but we had never made merry with anyone’s appearance or station in life. It seemed odd being singled out as the bully when I had always championed the cause of the downtrodden and picked-on.

Hell, I’d throat-punched some ass after he taunted one of the two fat friends I had in the fifth grade. He told him he’d never keep a wife because he’d roll over and crush her in his sleep. His sad tears and defeated posture enraged me to the point where I actually hunted this bully down Hunger Games-style and delivered the punishment with my fists like the untamed savage I was.

This was new territory for me.

I searched my memory banks for some sort of explanation. Had we been a roving gang of malicious thugs and I was too blind to see it or, worse, was I refusing to remember it the way it had actually been?

Our suppossed victim ran with her story as we, a rapt audience, stood enthralled, listening to her recollections of hijinx we had no memory of.

As desperate as I was for forgiveness for acts I didn’t recall committing, I began to suspect our accusor was either mistaken or just batshit crazy. In fact, I had a flash of her tormenting more than her share of fat, skinny, ugly and off-kilter kids than perhaps she was willing to own up to.

It was the extreme heat of the day, combined with the stench of something not right, that finally prompted me to speak up.

“Are you sure you have the right group of people?”

My words were straighforward, but my tone suggested she had better really think back and make sure she wasn’t mistaking us for someone else.

I got a better look at her eyes when I stepped out from the back of our group and realized she was clearly some sort of lunatic, excited that her long tale of misery and woe had found an audience. A naive, stupid audience.

Everything came flooding back and I realized that not only was every word out of her mouth a flaming falsehood, but she had been a full year-and-a-half older than us in high school, and ran in social circles so vastly different than ours that if we had met up on any given day it would be like two distinctly alien universes passing each other in space: rare, but uneventful.

With a newfound certainty I turned and walked from that place with the knowlege that I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I stopped and wondered about all those who managed to slight people in little and big ways everyday and I resolved to keep a watch on myself just in case.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2012 11:17 am

    That is really bizarre. Why would somebody make that up? There are tons of people who are attention-hungry, but this seems excessive. At least you know who you are and what you were. This woman clearly doesn’t.


    • dufmanno permalink
      October 9, 2012 12:02 pm

      The worst part about it was that I felt like I had done something terrible that I was unaware of. People like to think they know themselves so well and I became fearful that I had been kidding myself and my actions had really tormented someone.
      Thankfully, she was an unhinged lunatic just looking for some attention (oh and I should add that she was completely in the bag- drunk as a skunk) but it really made me think about people who say or do shit to others that they don’t think twice about but the recipient never recovers from the hurt. As it applies to fat acceptance, imagine all those people who drop a nugget or two around the place thinking nothing of it and finding out that someone was devestated by something they said.

  2. October 9, 2012 4:03 pm

    Wow….just wow….I .. I don’t know what to say to that…except wow…how some people can delude themselves…makes one question ones own perceptions. I met up with the sister of my middle school bully last week and she was all smiles and sweetness…weird!

    • dufmanno permalink
      October 9, 2012 9:04 pm

      I saw a lot of this at my high school reunion. Everyone seemed to have selective memory syndrome. Many “hello’s” and “how are you’s?” to people you barely spoke with.
      I will say that one guy who was painfully shy and socially awkward became a zillionaire. He bought everyone drinks.

      • October 10, 2012 1:42 pm

        It is called ‘growing up and maturing’ in most cases. Sadly some never change and have learned that to bully works for them. Be happy with the ones who have matured. We can only hope more adults will mature with age. LOL

  3. Mary Alice permalink
    October 9, 2012 4:20 pm

    I wish I could say that I had never participated in such behavior, especially after being bullied my entire childhood to a point of attempted suicide. Unfortunately, decades later I would engage in such behavior after a severely bad breakup in which my ex dumped me for another woman two weeks after I’d had an abortion due to his refusal to be a parent. My bullying behavior had gone on for 3 years. It included cyber-stalking and blogging unflattering things about the both of them, including the fact that she gained a ton of weight due to a glandular issue.

    Now she did play a part in her acquisition of my ex, including lying to me before and after our breakup. Still, no matter what either of them did, I am deeply ashamed that I behaved so badly. I turned into my bullies, creating fear and an unsafe environment for someone else. I’ve learned from it and regret it sincerely. I didn’t even realize what I was really doing until a lot of time had passed and the damage had been done.

    I now stay vigilant in being self-aware and consider the consequences of everything I post, blog, and do. I hope I never fall so far again.

    • dufmanno permalink
      October 9, 2012 9:07 pm

      That sounds like a sucky situation all around and honestly? I think if someone steals your boyfriend you are entitled to a little payback, You’re a better person than me. I come out swinging.

      • Mary Alice permalink
        October 16, 2012 9:52 am

        I did feel pretty justified at the time, but now that I’ve educated myself about the fat acceptance movement and reading SO much about bullying and trolling (especially with what’s going on with Reddit now), it just makes me feel so gross that I became THAT person. I spent a good amount of time right after the breakup trying to be “the better person” by not engaging them at all, but after seeing his/her lives get better and better while mine seemed to get worse, I think I snapped and went to the other extreme.
        Thankfully, I have my mind and my self back, but I cringe at the thought that there might be some kind of permanent damage done. Perhaps I should have just kicked both of their arses and gotten it out of my system all at once. (Just kidding….sort of.)

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