Bullies and bankers

           I’ll never forget watching my daughter be bullied. We had just walked into a skating rink for a birthday party. We were not two feet in the door when a large, boisterous girl came up to my daughter and said, “Hi, Bucky.”

           My daughter spent the first eight years of her life sucking her thumb. I painted it with vile-tasting liquid. I put band aids on it. All to no avail. When she finally stopped sucking it, the damage was done. So, her teeth protruded.

           My other daughter had perfect teeth, thanks to an orthodontist. She was bullied for questioning traditional Judeo-Christian religion. They told her if she didn’t believe in Jesus, she was going to hell. Her answer: I’ll save you a seat on the bus.

           I can’t remember the reason I was bullied. Maybe there doesn’t need to be a reason. I remember two girls who made my life pretty challenging at Brookfield High School. One of the girls was huge. I’m 5’10” and she towered over me. I can’t remember her name; I don’t care enough to look it up in a yearbook.

           The other girl was smaller, skinnier, with a pinched face. I only saw her smile when she taunted me. I do remember her name. These girls made fun of me for liking school. They made fun of me for wearing a miniskirt to a dance. They promised me a black eye. They were the mean girls. Maybe you know them too.

           They were bullies. While I may not remember their names, I have given them a place of distinction. You’ll find a bully in every book I write. They are my villains, my antagonists.

           Standing right next to them on the shelf of dishonor are bankers. In 2008, the banks were too big to fail. In 2013, we’re told the bankers are too big to jail. I’m not a financial expert. I only know what Stephen Colbert tells me. But I know this: if the federal government investigates you, your misdeeds are huge and sloppy.

           I’m writing about bullies and bankers today because I’m only a few scenes away from finishing the first draft of my middle-grade novel. Toward the end of the book, my amazing main character, Josey, finally stands up to her bully, Andy. I’ve written the scene twice. In the first draft, she just goes crazy and attacks him, much like the movie, “A Christmas Story.” Now, I love this movie. I watch it every December 24th, but I don’t necessarily want to plagiarize it. So, yesterday, I rewrote the scene, but still, Josey used violence to stop Andy’s name calling.

           Josey is an 11-year-old girl; Andy is a 12-year-old boy. If they were both boys, it would probably play out. But when I asked my daughters what they thought, they said that it wasn’t plausible. They said a girl would be more manipulative, more devious in her revenge. Josey doesn’t have a devious bone in her body. She’s not written that way.

           I have a plan. I’m contacting a middle-school counselor in a local school today to ask: How do kids this age confront a bully? When they’ve had enough, when they cannot take the abuse anymore, what do kids do? I want to hear from kids themselves: Write2me@Annettedrake.com.

           Hands and arms inside the cart, please. Tomorrow, we talk about…mice. Eeek!Image

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About Annette Drake

For me, a great book is about the people who live in it. So when my characters talk, I eavesdrop and write down what they say. My three favorite words: what happens next. I make my home in Washington state. A member of Romance Writers of America, I love ferry rides, basset hounds and bakeries. I do not camp.
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4 Responses to Bullies and bankers

  1. Sandra Gleason says:

    I don’t know you, but I am following you because your husband who I went to school with posted about your blog on Facebook. I am enjoying reading your blog. This post hit close to home. I too was bullied and have a son who has been. I appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    • Hi Sandra,
      Thank you for your comment. In the 1980s, I edited the lifestyle pages for a small daily newspaper in Sedalia, Missouri. I wrote an article about bullies, with the headline of “Start with a dysfunctional family, add ignorance, anger and trauma. There you have the making of a bully.” But, you know what, who cares how bullies are made? I’m way more interested in how to end bullying behavior. While it was awful to be bullied myself in high school, it’s so much worse when you watch your kids being bullied. I’m told school faculty work hard to prevent bullying these days. I see television advertisements telling kids to stand up for their peers and stop being a silent witness. I hope these interventions are proving effective. Thank you for reading my blog. Chris tells me you play the clarinet. Is that correct?

      Like

      • Sandra Gleason says:

        You are right about bullies, who cares why they were made. Let us stop the bullying. Schools do crack down on bullying quite severely now, which is great. Yes, I do play the clarinet. My son plays the alto and baritone saxophone. You are from Missouri? My dad is from a very small town in Kansas called Pittsburg. I am enjoying your blog very much.

        Like

      • Thank you, Sandra, for your kind words. Josey, my main character, would love to play the clarinet but her father cannot afford to buy or rent one, so she ends up playing the trombone. That comes in handy at the end of the book. Thank you again for reading. I am such a novice in this medium, so your praise is much appreciated.

        Like

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