School bullying has been much in the news lately. If you're being bullied, here's some tried and true advice from a grownup about how to deal with the situation:
• It may seem counterintuitive, but bullies can often be disarmed by appealing to their empathy and sense of shared humanity. When an attack seems imminent, remind the bully that you are a person, you experience pain, and it's unfair to victimize you. Then add, "Also, you see that kid Eric over there? He's even smaller and weaker than me, and he's been telling everyone you collect dolls and have a crush on Justin Bieber. Oops, gotta go!"
• This simple household item can be a lifesaver: a ziplock bag. Always keep one in your school backpack, making sure it's easily accessible. Also, the bag should be filled with poop, for throwing.
• Without exception, bullies are physical cowards who are actually afraid of real confrontations. If you stand your ground, they will back down without fail. Now go and try that.
Jesus, what happened to your face? You did what?! What are you, retarded? That kid is enormous! He's on the frigging hockey team! Where did you ever get such a stupid idea?
• We generally think of bullies as boys. But girls can be bullies, too. Instead of physical bullying, girls generally rely on ridicule and social exclusion to humiliate their victims. For example, they might threaten to share with all the other popular girls some intemperate and overly friendly overtures you made after a few too many at the company sales convention in Dallas, even though everyone else was loaded, too, and what you did wasn't that bad, especially compared to how Hendricks from Biz Dev was acting. If this sort of bullying occurs, the best strategy is to find a responsible adult and inform them that Katherine Wheelock has been falsifying her travel expenses, and you can prove it.
• Psychologists say that most bullies fail to consider the potential outcome of their actions. Many times you can forestall their aggression by reminding them of the negative consequences: "Do you know how society rewards amoral, asocial behavior like yours? With prison. You will end up in prison. Or perhaps as the chairman of a hedge fund or a giant corporation. And you know what will happen then? Do you? Your selfish, unprincipled conduct will just help you garner ever more wealth, which will in turn further enable you to misbehave and wreak havoc upon the world while avoiding all repercussions. Is that what you want? That, plus any material possession you can imagine? And box seats at every awesome sporting event? And unlimited travel, the ability to manipulate the media and the political system, and also the attention of an endless string of the world's most desirable young women, who will continue to eagerly have sex with you no matter how old and decrepit you become? Really? You want that?"
• Finally, don't keep bullying a secret -- tell a grownup! Because as everyone knows, that. Always. Fixes. Everything.