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Thursday, November 11, 2010

It doesn't get better.

Lately I've been seeing a lot of those "It gets better" videos that people are making in an effort to stop gay kids from killing themselves because they're being bullied at school and everything. Well kids, I'm sorry to break this to you, but it doesn't get better simply because you grow up and become an adult. When you're a kid everyone has to deal with bullies. We all have something that other people will make fun of us for, whether you're too fat, too skinny, your nose is too big, you have funny hair, you dress weird, whatever. It happens to everyone. But these people telling you it gets better automatically because you graduate high school, that's a load of shit.

The truth is kids you will have to put up with bullies your entire life. What you're going to find is the same briandead douche bags who are fucking with you in the halls now become cops, nightclub bouncers, the guy who tried to steal your car stereo, the asshole neighbor, lazy-ass manipulative co-workers, and your boss. True you won't get people picking on you on a daily basis like in high school, but bullies are not simply those who are bigger and stronger than you. A bully is anyone who attempts to unfairly take advantage of their position to force you into doing things you don't want.

You have two choices when dealing with such people - you can either fight, or run. The natural instinct is to run, and there's nothing wrong with that. Some stupid piece of shit starts fucking with you, he's bigger than you and you don't think you can take him? Then run. Fuck it, who cares. Ain't no shame in not getting your ass beat.

But running only gets you so far. Whenever you run it's a green light for the bully to just come back and fuck with you all over again. Sooner or later, if you want people to stop messing with you then you're going to have to confront them, you will have to fight. If you choose to fight then you need to remember a few things:

1) Fighting is always a choice. Might be a shitty choice, but it's still a choice. If you choose to fight be ready to take the consequences.

1) In real life there is no such thing as a fair fight. This applies whether you have a physical confrontation, an argument with a co-worker, conflicts between nations, whatever.

2) Only fight battles to your advantage. If you choose to confront, then only do it at a place and time of your choosing, and only when you know you will win. Never let some fool goad you into fighting on his terms. This doesn't matter if it's some jock dipshit dunking you upside down into a toilet or some asshole threatening you for a lawsuit if you don't pay him off, choose your battles and only confront when the odds are stacked in your favor.

In the first Gulf War While the Iraqis were retreating from Kuwait, the United States air force flew ahead and dropped a shitload of cluster bombs on the 2-lane highway that leads from Kuwait to Baghdad. The Iraqi army tried to go around and got bogged down in the sand. Pretty soon there was a five mile traffic jam of Iraqi tanks, trucks, and jeeps all stuck in the sand, which were all promptly annihilated to fuck by American bombers. Was that a fair fight? Hell no it wasn't fair - but which side lost 26,000 troops, and which side lost 145? The same principle holds true in every single conflict. Do wolves attack the alpha male 500 lb elk? Or do they go after the old and sick animals in the herd? Does the bully go up and start fucking with the 250 lb football player? Or does he pick on kids smaller than him?

What does this mean to you? It means if and when you fight back, do so only when you choose to, when conditions are overwhelmingly in your favor, and when you know you're going to win, with any and every advantage you can get. So is some shit eating dickhead threatening to beat you up? Don't challenge him to meet you after school at the flagpole where you'll get your ass kicked. Get five of your friends, catch him walking home when none of his buddies can help him, gang up and beat his ass down. Is that fair? Hell no. But there ain't no such thing as a fair fight.

These principles don't just apply to physical altercations. You're going to find that many of the people causing you grief later in life don't threaten you physically but do so in other ways. Let me give you a real life example of a conflict that happened to me not that long ago.

There was a girl we hired a few years ago which turned out to be a bad decision. I currently work in the applications development department of a fortune 500 company (which shall remain nameless.) The work we do is boring but not difficult. This girl started out rather well but after she realized how trusting the work environment is at this place her work habits quickly deteriorated.

She would be out for two or three days a week, usually on Mondays and Fridays. One month she had eight "sick" days. When she was in the office she'd spend the whole day on Facebook or fucking around on the Internet instead of working. Half the time she wouldn't do things correctly as she wouldn't bother reading emails. When I would try give instructions she'd respond with very snarky remarks and major attitude. The developers started requesting to not have her on their projects, one guy even said she was "wasting my time." Eventually it hit the point where she wouldn't even bother to respond to emails, would ignore instant messages, and would even flat out refuse to do things when asked and act very rudely when pressed. The result of this is that other people in my group had to work harder to cover for the dead weight we were dragging. Many days I personally stayed late to complete shit she didn't do right as she left early or didn't come in at all. I butted heads with this girl on more than one occasion, because I like the people under me to like, actually do work once in a while. During one of these arguments she made a not-so subtle hint that if I didn't back off she was going to accuse me of sexual harassment. That's right folks, it was a threat - "Let me do whatever I want or I'll get you fired." She was using her position to unfairly get concessions. She was a bully.

The problem is even the accusation of such a thing has the potential to ruin someone's career. For a man in today's climate there is really no defense against such accusations. I'd be fired right away and not have much recourse beyond hiring a lawyer I can't afford, and even then I'd have this bogus charge on my record following me around to every other job I'd try to get in the future. It doesn't matter if the charge was a complete fabrication (which it was,) it would come down to my word against hers, and in any giant megaconglomerate that's more afraid of bad PR then firing the wrong person (such as what I work for) her word would win automatically. That's not a negative judgement against politically correct sexual harassment policies, it's just how it is. So I did what anyone afraid of losing their job would do - I put up with it - I ran away from the conflict.

But like I said before, running only gets you so far. The girl continued her lazy work habits, crappy attitude, and chronic absenteeism, with me having to cover for her and constantly getting fucked over from her shitty work output on a daily basis. One day I was required to ask her to do some work. As I knew even simply asking her to do it was going to degenerate into an argument (which it always did at this point,) I made sure to get the conversation in an instant message log. Sure enough she started throwing a fit, responding rudely, outright telling me to "Quit bothering her," and so on. (Please keep in mind I'm supposed to be this girl's supervisor.) I made sure to respond as professionally and politely as I could during the conversation, saved it, and showed it to my boss. This got her kicked off my unit so I wouldn't have to deal with her anymore. And wouldn't you know it, without someone she could manipulate to cover for her bad work habits (and no one to threaten with phony sexual harassment charges, my boss being a woman and all) she couldn't maintain the illusion of productivity and within six months got herself fired. I had no input or influence in that decision. All I did was to remove myself from having to deal with her bullshit, the rest was her fault. I fought back, but I did it the right way.

I'll give another example. When I was in grade school there was a kid named Harley. Harley was smaller than me physically but that didn't stop him from fucking with me - making fun of me, throwing spitballs, crap like that. Like any self respecting male I threatened to kick Harley's ass if he didn't knock it off, as I was clearly capable of doing so. What did Harley do? He waited until parent-teacher night and called me out in right in front of my parents, stood there and dared me to do something. I wanted to attack him so bad but my fear of my mom and dad held me back. Harley successfully used an advantage and won the conflict. I learned a valuable lesson that day, never fight unless you choose the time and place.

I've also been hearing people talking a lot about what exactly causes such behavior, and why it's such a prevalent thing nowadays. Give me a break people - it's not like the concept of "Bullies" is a new fucking thing. It's only part of normal human behavior that's been around since the beginning of time. And honestly, who really gives a shit why a bully acts the way he does? Is he insecure? Have a bad family life? Is he bullied himself? Who really out there fucking cares? That's shit for psychologists to figure out, in real life it really doesn't matter why people act the way they do, only how they act and how you deal with it. The motivation as to why some asshole is fucking with you is irrelevant, the only thing that is relevant is what you're gonna do about it.

That's the way of the world folks - those with the ability tend to always take advantage of those who don't, it's the same if we're talking about arguments, economics, war, politics, commerce, or kids getting hassled in the lunch room. Learn how to deal with it. Do not have dealings with people who act in such a manner, and if for one reason or another you can't do that, then FIGHT BACK. But fight back smart.

Because seriously, fuck these people.