The Carnival of the Vanities is in town. Mike Finley has a story about his fifteen reunion and a meeting with an old school bully. It's brilliant, and scalding. Go read it.
I was at war with the world at that age, but I don't remember any particular bullies. I mean, I was bullied, and I was harsh to weaker kids, but it wasn't a matter of one outstanding bully or anything. The world hated me, and I wasn't too fond of the world, either. I was a weird, mean kid who was too smart for his own good but not smart enough in the ways that matter. I don't have a bully story, I don't have a name I can blame my childhood miseries on. There must have been individual kids, but in retrospect it's all a blur of denim and mullets.
But I remember the kids I picked on. Mark – the rabbity son of the local Lutheran pastor, who was small and the sort of intelligent that is indistinguishable from dim in everyday affairs. [David - got the guy's name wrong initially], who was one of my friends, who carried an air of saintly passivity which was far too easy to take advantage of when I was in a savage mood.
Christ, was I a bully? I don't think so, not in the classic sense of the word. I didn't go searching for victims or anything. But I could be vicious to the stupid and foolish.
I missed my tenth reunion. It was too early, I guess. Fifteen sounds about right - I wonder if they do that back at North Hills?