There was this period of about three years in elementary school when I got bullied a fair amount. The school was never home to me since I started going there in the middle of the school year in fourth grade and never really quite fit in. I had short hair, wore extremely large glasses, was already about 5’8” in the 6th grade and… this will sound weird if you’re not from Philly, but… I wasn’t Irish, which didn’t float in an Irish school in the Irish neighborhood of a largely Irish city.
I wasn’t Irish. It’s so weird to say that sentence as the reason for being bullied. I wasn’t Irish. Funny thing is, I actually am Irish – a fair amount of it, too – but my last name was Palumbo and to be frank, I didn’t want to be f*cking Irish if these assholes were. So, that, the glasses, the slow-to-put-out… or, rather, the no-to-put-out-because-Jesus-Christ-have-you-looked-at-me, the brains, the fact that my family lived in low-income housing, the dreadful “Beaker-From -the-Muppets” style haircut, and the size ten shoe at age eleven all made for not just one hell of an unpopular tweenager, but one hell of a bully magnet.
There are days that I try finding Christine Volkmann. Wait, am I not supposed to use an actual name? Okay. There are days I try finding “Shristine Flolkmann.” I look her name up on Facebook but oddly enough, there are a fair amount of morbidly obese, ugly Irish/Polish/German ladies with the same name on there; how is anyone supposed to tell them apart? One lady looks seventy but I’m still not quite sure that she isn’t the Shristine Flolkmann I’m looking for. The Irish do like to drink and smoke, after all (oh, hush! Don’t be so thin-skinned.) I’ve even dreamt of sending private messages to them all with a picture of my naked butt crack holding the stem of a sign that reads “Kiss my ass you ugly Irish slut.” But, that wouldn’t be appropriate, now, would it? I realize it would be stooping to her level and yes, I understand that she was “just a kid” at the time and that she has likely become a fine upstanding citizen and active member of her town’s PTA, but, I also believe that God exists, so, you be the judge.
The fact that her face is still burned in my memory all these years later - twenty-six years later - probably bothers me more than the “EAT ME RAW” note she passed to me in the seventh grade during religion class. I had no idea what that meant or why she and her fatties were laughing so hard about it at the time. Actually, I still don’t find it even the least bit amusing. It may as well have said “CRIMSON CHICKEN HANGER.” I mean, I’d at least laugh at the nonsensical nature of that statement. I think she may have even spelled “raw” wrong. How do you spell raw wrong? This is the mental giant that made me a nervous wreck for all those years? Pffff. Screw her and the Budweisers she passed out on. Living well is the best revenge! An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind! And a multitude of other awesome quotes I just found on BrainyQuote.com!
But the quote that stuck with me most as a teenager was one by Marcus Aurelius which states… “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” And not long after first reading that, and that entire experience, I understood, but vowed never to be bullied again. And I never was. And Shristine Flolkmann lived fattily ever after. In my mind, anyway.