Odd Thoughts: Cold facts about bullying

I proved them all wrong time after time through the years.

I proved it once again this past week.

But there’s no satisfaction in it, and certainly no pleasure.

If you saw me today you might be surprised to learn – but probably not – that I was no good at sports when I was a kid.

I was the one who was always picked last when sides were chosen… actually, that’s not entirely true.

There was one kid who had a leg brace on most of the time because he had a seriously bum leg. Perhaps he had had polio or something. He wasn’t allowed to play anything rough or vigorous when the brace was off, so technically, I wasn’t last on those days.

One day when sides were being chosen for a softball pick-up, someone actually suggested choosing me before all the dregs were out of the barrel.

“Nah!” said the team captain, “He can’t catch a ball.”

“He couldn’t catch a fly,” called out a wag from the back, quite pleased at his clever turn of phrase.

“Hah!” said the other team’s captain, an infuriating big-for-his-age jerk who was good at absolutely everything except exercising common decency, “He couldn’t even catch a cold.”

And that was it. From then on, I was the kid who “can’t catch a cold” – always punctuated with a round of derisive laughter – whenever there was anything happening remotely to do with sports. The jocular tagline came up even if there was no ball in the game.

The epithet followed me for several years, right through junior high school – until I was in a big enough school that I could duck all of my childhood “friends” completely.

It wasn’t called bullying back then. It was just kids having fun. Any kid who didn’t punch you in the face or otherwise physically assault you could not be a bully.

Even a few of my teachers got into it, although their laughter mostly sounded a little more sincere. Except for one teacher who was clearly as malicious as any kid could be, I believe most really thought I was in on the joke.

Take it like a man, unless you want to be a cry-baby, too. That’s what it really was from my end.

Well, a kid eventually grows up. And I’ve caught many colds since then.

So there!


Just Posted

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

Giants owner Ron Toigo to get BC Sports Hall of Fame W.A.C. Bennett Award

Head of Langley-based hockey team to be honoured at May induction gala

UPDATED: Touching note left on Langley veteran’s windshield

A veteran hopes the writers of a note know how much he was touched by their kind words. They do.

VIDEO: Young Langley boy uses his grief to help other kids suffering loss

Thursday Langley Hospice hosts its Paint the Town Blue campaign to spotlight child bereavement.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

Some departments said it’s too early to provide data, others said initial numbers suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Most Read