There’s a lot of talk about stopping childhood bullying online and on TV these days. Good, I say. I got bullied pretty badly when I was a kid, and I’m glad to hear that people want to put a stop to that kind of a thing. But on the other hand, you can’t stop rampant assholery. It’s a big brown glacier that just creeps across humanity, and it’s going to come out and express itself in some other weird way.
At least you’re allowed to punch a bully right in the face.
When my family lived in the DC suburbs in the early ’80s, it was pretty bad. I got beat up a lot and I was pretty scared to leave my house. My family was tremendously loving, and I had a dog that was my best friend in the world. But once I left the yard it was like a movie about Vietnam directed by Todd Solondz.
Nobody ever talks about this, though: a lot of times, the kids that are getting bullied get pretty mean, too. Being and underdog and a good guy are not the same thing.
I told this story at the And I Am Not Lying live show at Union Hall back on October 5th. It goes long, but I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. I tried to compress it to a tight 5 minutes for a Moth Grand Slam last week and it was a stunning failure. I got more nervous than I’ve ever been in my life, skipped parts and just blacked out completely on my feet. It wasn’t booze-related, just flop-terror. I came to a few seconds later, literally standing in front of several hundred people who were looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to say something intelligible into a microphone.
A lot of people have that experience as a nightmare.
I hope you guys enjoy my telling of this story more than I did teliing it the other night, anyway.
I’m also obliged to mention that I’m coming to DC on November 2nd and Philadelphia on November 6th with Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman, and Runaround Sue. You can get tickets for the DC show here: And I Am Not Lying: A Night of Storytelling, Comedy, & Burlesque.