Ok, so the day yesterday started rather swimmingly, with the "Sows Ear" Specialized finding a new home, right quick! I had high hopes for the day after that early start, and quickly jumped on newbies, after banging out a couple repairs, with only minimal problems.
Around noon the phone rang, and the caller greeted me with "Mr. Atherton? This is Deputy ______ at Dunedin High School"
My response was a deflated "oh Lord....."
As the call progressed, I came to find out that Kaleb had an altercation in school with a group of common, useless bullies, who find great pleasure in taunting kids of "lesser means". Granted, Kaleb has his own way. He dresses down when he goes to school, and has a preference for a certain...look. That of grungy. We have tried to convince him otherwise, providing for him good looking clothes, that serve only as lining for his bureau drawers in deference to his "wife beater" t-shirts and cut off, knee length shorts. In our house, once kids hit the high school age, we stop coaching them on hygiene. Their big enough to take care of themselves, and endure the social ridicule resulting. Not defending the antagonists, mind you, but it is always a factor in "choice". Well, apparently, yesterday, having had a bad day so far, he had "enough" and told them to knock it off or, I quote, he would "stab them in the face!"
Needless to say, in todays highly paranoid state of public education, such a threat is NOT taken lightly, and nor should it be. But in the case of Kaleb, who is not by nature, a violent kid, I knew this was him blowing off steam. And as the school has a sadly, SHORT memory, they failed to collate the fact that this had been the SIXTH altercation between him and this group of morons, and in all previous cases Kaleb had NOT taken matters into his own hands but instead reported it to the necessary authorities, who did exactly what they always do, in short, NOTHING! This has sadly been our experience in ALL Florida schools, that they coddle the bully, making excuses for their behavior, while simultaneously victimizing the victim! As I stated, at length, at this mornings meeting, Bullies are meticulous, cruel, cautious and calculating, making sure that their actions are done in secrecy and when there are no witnesses about, while the victim suffers in silence for far to long until the moment when they cannot take it anymore and they snap. Because their reaction is one of heighten emotions, they are not cautious enough to be aware of any onlookers, and more often then not, get caught either in a aggressive verbal exchange (such as this time) or worse, a violent, physical reaction. THAT is what is then witnessed, and the victim is summarily disciplined (especially today under the Bull$#!+ "Zero Tolerance" approach) and are left alone, disheartened and feeling betrayed by the people who are SUPPOSED to protect them! In the extreme you get Columbine. Oh, don't try and tell me there was anything "random" about that event. That was text book retaliation from YEARS of abuse! Sure, the boys were a little whacked in the head for the extremes they went to, but believe me, that kind of anger broils in ALL victims of bullies! And with a completely inadequate system set up to deal with bullies, as the school system and counselors try desperately to find the "underlining causes", we give attention and coddling to the perpetrators. Me? I'm all for public caning of any bully, but that impractical approach aside, bullies SHOULD be publically identified! Why not have a bully be forced to wear a sign around his neck, in school, for a week identifying him as such. Perhaps an assembly where they are trotted out on stage as an example. Oh, I know, bleeding hearts out there will identify this as "cruel", but how is it any more damaging then the pain and long term suffering their actions cause their victims?
ANYWAY, sorry, I'll step down off my soapbox, I just have NO sympathy for ANYONE who takes any kind of satisfaction from inflicting pain on another person.
Needless to say, the better part of my day yesterday was spent dealing with that, and then having a long confab with Kaleb after school getting to the bottom of it all. Thus, giving me all the information I needed to approach all parties at this mornings meeting. Of course, none of the bullies were there. I'm sure they were off somewhere planning their next round of taunts and jeers for some other poor, hapless victim, quite comforted in the knowledge that THEIR actions will never receive any comeuppance.
I jumped back on my tasks around four and finished putting out two rides and tearing down and cleaning a third. Got out a nice ladies 26" cruiser, then put the finishing touches on that GORGEOUS 1981 Trek road bike! Oh what a gem she is! ALL original, but with new tires, tubes and handle bar wraps! Incredible how good a condition she's in!
Got a VERY interesting call yesterday. Seems a gent down in Saint Pete saw the truck, and wants us to build one especial for his business. Supposedly he's coming in for a meet and greet today, so I may just be building another. My only rule is, on custom builds, I NEVER build them the same way twice! Color me a sentimental fool, but mass production detracts from their uniqueness!
OK, I best jump back at it, as I still have a LOT to do!
See y'all soon!!
|LADIES 26" CRUISER!!|
|1981 TREK ROAD BIKE!!|