From Grades 1 through 12, I took a bus to school. I didn’t mind it, and actually most of the time I liked it! I had extremely fun people on my bus, especially in high school. And when I was younger I would sit with my friends and play clapping games (like Miss Mary had a steamboat) the entire ride.
But it was not all fun and games. When I was in Grade 2 my bus went through some dark times.
The dark times were a boy named Darryl. Darryl was a year older than me, and he was a straight-up bully. Unfortunately, I was Darryl’s favourite victim. He would tease me, try to trip me, repeatedly tap me on the head if he was sitting behind me, pull my hair, call me ugly, steal my school bag, the list goes on. He was relentless.
I would go home and complain to my mom about all the terrible things Darryl said or did to me, and she would just tell me that boys teased you when they liked you, so he probably had a crush on me.
This did not make me feel any better about the teasing. If anything, it made me feel worse. Thinking about Darryl having a crush on me made me feel icky and grimy. He was a disgusting bully.
Darryl’s teasing went on for a few months. And I just quietly took it. Every single day. Sure, I yelled back at him, trying to defend myself. But the more I reacted, the more Darryl laughed at me, and he teased me even harder.
But one day Darryl took his teasing too far.
He thought it would be a good idea to make up a song about how ugly I was. Our bus ride was about 20 minutes long, and he sang the song repeatedly.
He even got a few of his little minions to join in on the chorus.
I sat in my seat clutching my plastic Beetlejuice lunchbox tightly, staring at the seat ahead of me, just seething. I tried to ignore him, but as he went on with his song, I got increasingly more angry.
Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. I snapped. In a rage, I grabbed my Beetlejuice lunchbox by the handle, turned around in my seat…
And I smashed him in his big stupid head.
I hit him so hard that my lunchbox cracked. A huge red gash appeared on his forehead, and he began bleeding profusely.
And then he did something I had never seen a bully do before. He started to cry.
I stared at him bleeding and crying, and I suddenly felt very sad for him. I regretted smashing him in the head with my lunchbox. I didn’t mean to hit him quite as hard as I did. I just wanted to teach him a lesson.
Darryl ran to tell our bus driver, who stopped the bus and called me up to the front. She said that she was going to have to inform the principal of the accident when we arrived at school.
I was terrified. I had never been in trouble before, and I knew that I was probably going to be sent to the principal’s office for this. The principal’s office was an unknown place to me, but I had a feeling it was very scary in there and it did not sound like a good time at all. I thought I was probably going to get at least a detention also, and that did not sound like a good time either.
I sat at my desk that morning, shaking in fear.
About half an hour after class started, I was called to the office. I was prepared for this moment, but I was not ready. I made my way slowly down the hall, prolonging my impending doom. When I reached the office, Darryl was already there, and he wasn’t crying anymore. He looked extremely smug and proud of himself.
We were instructed to sit in chairs in the secretary’s area until the principal was ready to see us.
And I knew he was right. I nearly started to cry.
After what seemed like a million years, the principal came out to collect us. He looked big and mean and scary, and I was afraid. Days of detention flashed before my eyes. I didn’t even know what went on in detention, but I pictured something similar to writing lines on the chalkboard like Bart in the Simpsons.
Darryl and I sat in chairs in front of his desk. He began to question us.
I looked up, surprised. This was true. Could our principal be on my side?
I explained that Darryl had been harassing me every day. That he tripped me in the aisle of the bus, and pulled my hair, and said terrible things about me, and made up a song about how ugly I was.
Our principal said the bus driver had told him this also. And then he said something I will never forget.
The smug smile immediately slowly from Darryl’s face. I was in shock.
I got a warning. Just a warning not to do that again. And that was that. We were free to go.
Word of the incident spread around the school, and for a few weeks I was a hero. Even kids in Grade 6 were coming up to me and asking me about Darryl and the lunchbox accident.
And guess what? Darryl never bothered me again. Not ever.
Now, I’m not saying that you should go around smashing people in the face with your lunchbox. But I am saying don’t bully people. Karma will get you. If not, someone with a hard plastic Beetlejuice lunchbox just might…