My daughter recently wrote a blog about bullies. You can read it at thttp://sillystupidhighschoolblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/go-nerds.html
I thought I would reprint this blog I wrote about an elementary bully and my daughter, Mary.
When I dropped Sandor, my 8 year old son, off this morning he ran to the playground, overwhelmed by his backpack. He never hesitated or even looked back at me. Instead he happily threw himself into the ocean of kids.
With stunning clarity, I remember the year Mary hated that ocean of kids.She would get out of the car soooo slowly, look at me, pleading with her eyes that I wouldn’t make her go to school. And then Mary would gather all her nine year old courage and walk toward the play ground.
That was the year Mary had a bully problem and it was bad. A little red neck white trash boy named James Rufus made my Mary’s life absolute hell. He was a short, skinny kid, with shaggy, semi-greasy hair and hand-me-down jeans and tee-shirts. James had the kind of “screw you” expression that made you want to slap him before he even opened his mouth. And if you did try to talk to the boy he would just shrug and say “what ever”. Every day this nightmare of a boy singled Mary out on the playground. He followed her around and called her horrendous names, “fat bitch cow” being the least offensive. He said she did things to boys that she didn’t even understand.
I was furious. I wanted to burn the school down. Of course I talked to teachers, principals, counselors. I cried and yelled, threatend the school with law suits, I even threatened to have nine year old James Rufus arrested on harrassment charges. If somebody followed me and called me vile names I could have them arrested. But I couldn’t stop James.
The school counseled him, gave him ISS, took away recess and sent notes home but nothing worked. Mary came home day after day, crying, confused and miserable. I was furious and heartbroken.
Finally, after more than a month of horrendous verbal abuse Mary snapped. She screamed at James Rufus in front of kids and teachers, “My dad’s got a nine millimeter gun and he’s gonna kill you if you don’t stop, James.”
Mary was immediatly suspended from third grade. This was 15 years ago and the country was terrified of school shootings.
While Mary was home I called the school to get the Rufus’ phone number. They wouldn’t give it to me but I poked around and found somebody who know somebody and they gave me the number.
I remember so clearly, my hand was shaking with absolute rage as I dialed the number. I was going to eat that entire family for lunch.
James answered the phone. “This is Mary’s mom, James, let me talk to your mom or dad.”
He sounded tiny, “Please don’t do that, Ms. Hampo I swear to God I’ll stop. Please don’t tell my dad.”
“James, I have to. I can’t let you keep on hurting my daughter. I love her too much.”
He begged and begged then finally handed the phone to his father. I explained the situation and I remember the man’s exact words, ‘I’m gonna beat the shit out of that kid. I swear to God he’ll never say a word to your daughter.”
I felt sick and tried to reason with him.I tried to tell him I didn’t think beating James was the answer but he didn’t hear a word and hung up suddenly.
James Rufus never said another word to Mary and six month latter he was out of our school. He had to go to the “alternative” school, the hell hole they send the “bad kids”.
Now, here’s the strange part of this story. Mary and James are now friends on facebook, though he says he doesn’t really remember her from school. Of course he doesn’t. Bullies don’t remember anybody they pick on. But the victims, those that are bullied remember ever single brutal word.
And Jame Rufus is now openly gay, he told Mary he has a boyfriend and now sells real estate. Even now I can’t imagine what it would be like for a gay boy in our little rural Arkansas school district or in the single wide trailer the Rufus family lived in.
Suddenly, it all makes sense. That’s what Mary said when she found out about James Rufus.
Guest BlogAuthored by Raymond Whitney
I was talking to my sister on the phone yesterday, she was telling me to check out tvbydirect deals when I heard a big crash coming from the back bedroom of my house. I ran back there to see what had fallen and broken. I could not find anything in the bedroom that was out of place. I was baffled. I decided not to worry about it and went about business as usual. When I went into my closet to get my clothes this morning before I went to work, I realized what the loud crash was. A box full of glass Christmas ornaments that I keep on a shelf in my closet had fallen in the floor. I opened it and half of the ornaments were broken. I was really upset. I had some of those ornaments since I was a very small child. I just could not figure out how a box that was securely on the shelf could have fallen off. Finally it hit me when I was at the office, Roxy! Roxy is my four year old Bengal. She had jumped on the shelf in my closet and knocked the ornaments off!
I have two fairly famous sayings about teenage boys, they go like this. 1.”Teenage boys have more bad ideas in sixty seconds than the rest of us have all week.” (Example, launching water balloons at the police station.)
2. “As boys turn into men, around age 30, they figure out that it’s not a good idea to act on all those bad ideas.” (example: don’t try to jump off the second story balcony into the hotel pool)
Well according to the NPR story I was both right and wrong. Teen brains understand and recognize bad ideas just as well as frumpy 50 year old housewives but, they don’t exaggerated it the way the grown up brain does. Grown ups tend to think the world is a dangerous place and really bad stuff will happen if we get out of line.
That’s not how teens see things. So their decision to do wacked stuff, like jump in the spider monkey cage at the zoo, isn’t so unreasonable.
The adult thinks, the spider monkey will bite your lips off and put poop on your head, don’t get in there!
The teenager thinks, the spider monkey will sit on my head and my friends will think I’m awesome.
The teen brain knows driving fast is dangerous, but the rewards are more important. The teen boy knows if he drives 118 miles an hour his girl friend might secretly think he’s hot and his buddies will think he’s crazy.That means a lot to the teenage brain, because it needs positive reinforcement and social acceptance.
Adults think, “if I drive 118 mph I’ll probably die, or worse, I’ll get a ticket and my insurance premiums will double.” There’s not much reward, so we don’t do it.
Holy cow, this explains a lot. Teen-agers aren’t idiots, they are just different. I’ll try to remember that next time I see a bunch of kids riding a 4 wheeler, in their boxers, during a snow storm. (Yes, that does happen in my neighborhood.)
*Three side notes:
1. The next blog will be a commercial. Sorry.
2. checke out my other blog http://www.goofyandgreat.blogspot.com/
3. Does anyone know about Kindle e-books? Some folks have suggested I write one.
Tags: Bad Ideas, NPR, teenage brain
I’m in pretty good shape. I work out all the time ,still when I see a picture of myself in my taekwondo uniform I look lake a bloated heifer. It’s awful. I look much much better naked, now that’s saying something.
If you have any boobs at all, Martial Arts uniforms are horribly unflattering. It doesn’t matter how high your rank or awesome your sidekick is, if you wear a dobak you’re gonna look like a big fat slob. The only women who avoid looking like the Hindenburg are the super skinny girls.
Men look good in them, children look cute, women look like mushy lesbians. I’d be better off having my picture taken in a AC/DC concert t-shirt and pajama pants.
I swear I should have considered a different sport. Why have I spent 12 years in a pair of pants so big I could hide a cocker spaniel in them. I’d look better in a black speedo shiny pink gymnastics leotard. (well maybe not).
I love Taekwondo too much to quit now, but before you choose a sport or hobby try on the uniform. Next time I’m going to start playing polo. I’d look hot in those tight jodhpurs(yes that is how you spell the word, it’s the super tight pants they wear), black boots and helmet.
Comments OffTags: martial arts, sidekick, taekwondo, uniform
Tonight my husband, was cleaning his office, and he suddenly held up a bumper sticker. BE NICE!
It was my BE NICE! bumper sticker. Oh my lord. Twenty years ago when Alex and I were dating I somehow convinced him we could be bumper sticker moguls. I thought if we printed 5000 BE NICE and MEAN PEOPLE SUCK bumper stickers we would become crazy rich. He still thought I was hot and brilliant so he paid for the first printing.
Silly man. The MEAN PEOPLE SUCK stickers sold pretty well but nobody wanted the BE NICE ones. Apparently there were a lot more sarcastic bitter people in Hot Springs, Arkansas than hippies. I was crushed.
But those bumper stickers have become an important part of our marriage, they represent something I can’t explain. BE NICE explains Hampoland, the way we’ve raised our children and what we try to do every day. When one of the kids acts like a little puke, we say BE NICE. When Mary gets really really frustrated with jack, she says, BE NICE.
Those two words can end any argument or snarky situation in our house. Cause what do you say after somebody simply tells you to Be Nice?
“You look like a rino today.”
“Your dog smells like a dead monkey.”
‘Your mother is as sharp as a bowling ball.”
“Omg Be Nice.”
See, it works every time.
I think this all started with my brother Granger. I believe he’s the one that gave me the idea.
So, I still have almost two thousand bumper stickers if anybody wants one. And tomorrow, no matter what happens, remember to BE NICE.
Tags: be nice, bumper stickers, family
I saw a lot of this when I was in high school, when I worked in a high school and now I hear about it all the time from my kids.
A girl is standing in front of her locker trying to fix her hair.
Her “friend” comes up and laughs, “You still look like shit today.”
A girl finally gets her drivers license and then gets to drive her mom’s car to school for the first time. It’s an ugly, ten year old, four door, but she’s driving to school, all alone and crazy excited!
Her friend walks up and laughs, “God that car is so pathetic, I’d rather ride the bus.”
When guys say stuff like this it’s kind of funny. When girls do it… it’s not funny at all, it’s just mean and bitchy. They think they are being funny, but nobody else does.
Chances are the girls who were the “victims” of the wanna-be funny girl will go to their friends. Tell them what you said, and then they’ll all stand around in the bathroom talking about how mean, snarky and bitchy you are. Then they will talk about your hair and your crappy car. And pretty soon people stop inviting you to the mall, the movie or over to their house because you’re so damn mean.
I promise you, when you say plain old mean stuff and think it’s funny, it’s not. And it’s not clever, or silly, or interesting so you end up sounding mean and kind of stupid. If you think you might be this person but your not sure, make a list of your best girlfriends. If you don’t have many or any, you’re probably a bitch.
I don’t know why it’s different when guys say stuff like this. Maybe it’s because they really don’t care what their hair looks like or what their friends think of their hair. So the comment, “you still look like shit” doesn’t hurt them at all.
Girls care, so the comment makes them sad.
So, stop trying to move up on the social ladder by stepping on your friends. It doesn’t work. And someday you may really need a ride from your “friend” . You know, the one with the POS car and messed up hair.
Tags: mean teen age girls
Buying that first cup or jock strap is a huge moment in a boys life; it’s pretty big for a mom too. Because it means you son is doing something possible violent and dangerous and you are so very very proud of your little warrior.
We had to buy Sandor his first cup when he was six, he’d been sparring in TKD for a few weeks, got nailed between the legs with a front kick and drove immediately to the sporting good store.
Sandor opened it in the car and spent the next fifteen minutes in the backseat pretending it was a boat and the entire gang from Scooby Do were floating in the ocean.
The next day when he went back to Taekwondo class and I explained what he ad to do with the cup he laughed until he drooled. then he told every kid in the building that he was wearing a cup. “Listen, I’m knocking on it,” he said and drummed his knuckles against his crotch. “You can punch me right there if you want, I’ll be ok.” Then they all started punching and kicking each other and yelling, “Cup Check!”
A couple of weeks ago we had a big workout on a Saturday with several other Taekwondo schools. At some point I walked to the back dressing room. There was a tiny little boy standing in front of me in his white briefs. “Can you help me with this?” he said earnestly and tried to hand me his miniature cup.
I shook my head, “I’ll find you folks. Wait right here.”
Now Sandor is eight and the novelty has worn off.Thou last week in the car a younger boy asked him what a cup was for and he said, “You know, to protect all your important stuff, dude.” Sandor is so grown up now,he doesn’t really laugh when ask him if he put his cup it on before class or football practice. He just reaches into his pants to check. What a man.
I just realized yesterday I wrote about sports bras. I seem to have a theme going. I wonder what’s next. Leave me a comment.
Tags: cup, football, jock strap, taekwondo
So here’s a little boob history for you. In 1977 a woman named Lisa Lindahl, with help from costume designer Polly Smith created the sports bra. Lindahl wanted to take up jogging but the bouncing boob situation drove her crazy.
Her husband jokingly put two jock straps on and pranced around the house… and guess what…the sports bra was born. Thank you Liza Lindahl. The original name was “jockbra”, then “jogbra”.
If you don’t have big boobs or the desire to do anything physical the invention of the sports bra won’t mean much to you. But if you are a woman who ever hoped to do anything other than knit and watch tv the invention of the sports bra is as important as microwaves and dental floss.
Life before the sports bra was miserable. I remember playing tennis when I was 12 or 13, before the invention of the sports bra. My coach started calling me “Boom Boom” so I quite the team. There simply wasn’t a place for women in the sporting world if they wore anything larger than a B cup. I was also on the swim team but suddenly, in my 7th grade summer, I wasn’t very stream-lined any more. It was depressing and embarrassing because I was tiny girl with enormous breasts.
But now, because of Lisa and the sports bra, we can all embrace our inner jock. We can run, kick, and hurdle our way into shape without the fear of the dreaded boob bounce.
While shopping for my sports bra today I was so pleased. I tried on an expensive and complicated bra and a simpler fourteen dollar bra. Then I did jumping jack in the changing room of JC Penny. Guess what? The cute cheap one did a better job.
It’s crazy to think our country had been around 201 years before the sports bra was invented. The jock strap was invented in 1874 to save bicycle jockeys riding on the cobblestone streets of Boston. But I’m pretty sure codpieces were the first jock straps.
So, today, we should all toast this remarkable woman, Liza Lindahl, l but make sure it’s with a well supported cup.
This is a partial reprint from March of 2011, by request.
Tags: athletes, boobs, breasts, Liza Lindahl, sports bra
There was an announcement “Casserole Contest” winner gets a great prize! The word contest slams me in the face, I LOVE CONTESTS, no I LOVE WINNING CONTESTS. Actually I love winning at anything, being the best, better than other people. Wait, I’m not one of those people who brags about being the best but it rolls through my brain like a happy train all the time and it’s silly, especially at my age.
The casserole contest is this Wednesday and I’m going to make something insanely yummy even though, I have never, ever made a casserole. i told my daughter lexie about it and she actually said, ‘what exactly is a casserole”? When I say I’ve never fixed one I’m not exaggerating. But it’s a contest, I have to compete.
I’m stupid competitive. Last week when my taekwondo instructor said, “I did 1500 kicks yesterday,” I started counting, trying to figure out how long it would take me to do 2000 kicks. If I do 500 kicks today, then 600 on Wednesday I should be able to do 2000 kicks without stopping in a couple of weeks. But that’s stupid, he’s a professional, he’s a 6th degree black belt, he’s my instructor and just won in an International TKD competition. Why do I feel the need to kick more times than he does? Because I’m an idiot. But I have to try.
Every summer, when we go to the lake, I challenge everyone to underwater distance swimming. My children, other people’s kids, stray teenagers, construction workers. I’ll take on anyone and I’ll die like a beached whale before I let myself lose.
I used to love our sales meetings on Monday mornings because we found out who sold the most the week before. It motivated me cause I want to win. When the new boss decided not to announce our numbers I actually sold less becasue I didn’t get to beat anyone.
Hate me if you must, but I try really hard to be humble. I don’t cheer for myself or brag. Though, when I do win, at anything, there is an outlandish party in my head with fireworks and noise makers.
So what am I going to do about my problem? Make the best damn casserole the First Presbyterian Women have ever tasted and walk away knowing Diana McDaniel Hampo is the CASSAROLE CHAMPION!
Tags: competitve, swimming, taekwondo, winner
Oh my Lord, I just visited www.bet.com for the first time and even though I’m a middle-aged white woman from Arkansas, I think it’s a great site. It reminds me of the old MTV, when they actually show music videos.
BET.com is full of music videos, lots of rap music, and entertainment news. yes, it’s mostly about black entertainers but I don’t think they mind me snooping around. And I saw Justin Beebers cute little white face in there too. But I couldn’t find anything about Keb Mo’ and the God Father of rap, Gil Scott-Heron. (If you love rap music and don’t know who he is you better do your home work and look for Whitey on the Moon and The Revolution Will Not Be Televised) Pit Bull, who is not black, bugs me, but sometimes my son, Jack, makes me really listen to Kayne lyrics and music, and I realize he’s brilliant. He’s just crazy insecure.
Rhianna makes me want to stab her with a fork because she’s determined to be a victim in ever freaking song. Come on, first it was the Chris Brown deal, then you do the song about Russian Roulette, then it’s you and the Eminem song where he beats you and threatens to tie you to the bed and burn the house down if you leave. Rhianna, you’re a moron. Stop positioning yourself as a victim. But rap music is full of that.
I could write pages about Nicki Minaj. What’s the deal, she’s the only girl rapper? Ten years ago there were lots and lots of girl rappers. TLC come back, I miss you, Queen Latifiya. But now, with 3,209,000,000 women on earth(I looked that number up so it’s for real), Nicki is the only one who can rap? I’m not buying that. I know I can find another girl rapper.
Tags: bet.com black entertainer, Chris Brown, gil-scott heron, pit Bull Kayne, rap music, Rhianna, white people