The Worst Thing I've Ever Done
This month's Blogging For Books subject is ... Cruelty.
What a quandary! To tell, or not to tell? If I bare my deepest act of cruelty, I could lose every friend I have. But if I don't take this opportunity... It's the old "tree falling in the woods" thing. You know, if I did something awful, but no one knows... will I still be seen as good? I guess I'll never know unless I hit that "publish" button at the bottom of my blog.
"We like to think of ourselves as nice people. Yet even the nicest person can engage in cruel, vindictive, or just plain mean behavior.
For this Blogging for Books, write about the meanest thing you have ever done - either to another person or to yourself. (Topic idea credit: Jenorama)"
I've fried ants with a magnifying glass and fed nasty food to my dog. Who hasn't? I've said hurtful things, deliberately; with the sole intention of making someone miserable. I've even thrown rocks at children.
But all those things had a reason behind them. A justification, if you will. Each one carried it's own lesson, too. Your dog will eat anything. Ants run from heat. Sometimes you have to choose between a power trip, and having your own power. Throwing rocks won't change the fact that you're mom is getting the shit beat out of her at home... Or that the only reason your sister is throwing rocks along with you is that your mother is taking the blows in her place.
None of those things shame me. It's all stuff I'll happily talk about, if you're interested in the sordid details of my childhood. And there's one thing I will not happily talk about. It makes me sick to my stomach when I remember it. It's the thing I did that taught me the definition of "cruelty".
I helped beat up "the retarded kid".
It doesn't matter that I was in the 4th grade at the time. It doesn't matter that I had been the victim of escalating abuses at school. It doesn't even matter that a teacher had just that week plucked a splinter of my own broken glasses out of my eye, yet continued to have me fend for myself on the playground.
What mattered was that for once, they were beating up someone else. And I rushed across the street to join in.
I wanted to know what it was like from the other side. I wanted so badly to be part of a group, just once. I thought maybe they would like me if I did a good job on this poor kid.
So I ran across the street and whacked him with my bag full of homework.
I was aiming for his head. I wanted to knock him down so the kids could see that it was me with all that power. But he was tall and I wasn't strong enough. My book bag bounced ineffectually off of his back and tears were running down my face. (Yes. I hit him from behind. Not only did I attack a mentally deficient child, I did it from behind. If there's a hell, I'll be there along with Hitler and those guys who wore black hats on the Lone Ranger show.)
I expected the kids to start laughing any minute. I was afraid they might turn on me next. A part of me thought that wouldn't be a bad thing. At least I would deserve it for thinking I was in any way socially acceptable.
I still had a chance to show how tough I was, though; because no one had noticed my feeble attack. I thought I could jump on the kid's back and pound him in the head a few times. Then everybody would see how great I was. Except I couldn't jump that high. My arms weren't strong enough to pull myself up to his shoulders.
I tried again. And I just couldn't do it. He was a 7th grader, for gosh sakes! I just wasn't big enough.
I could still get in a few good blows with my book bag, but first I'd have to re-load it. Everything had fallen out when I'd made my sneak attack. The fight moved down the street as I stuffed my books back in the bag. I'd have to run to catch up.
And then I came to my senses. Instead of running back to the fight, I ran down a gangway. I hid in the shadows and dried my eyes on my sleeve. Then I walked toward home until I was past the fighting. When I got around the corner, I ran.
I ran past the homeless people, fresh tears blurring my vision, terrified that someone would punish me for beating up the retarded kid.
There it is. The worst thing I've ever done. My definition of cruelty.
And Jay? I think this Blogging for Books subject is pretty damn cruel too. :p