Oh lord, I'm in Redbook magazine this month -- as a former horrible bully apologizing to those I tormented in middle school (or junior high, as we called it). The article is based on my 2009 Can I Sit With You? story, Not Nice:
I found every last part of seventh grade bewildering. The hundreds of new students, the maze-like new campus, the rows and rows of lockers, having to choose classes and then needing to switch between those classes six times each day, the concept of “popularity” and its blatant yet slippery links to student government elections, and the hundreds of new students.So, please, feel free to tell me what an asshole I was. And be assured that, though decades of interim social conditioning led to improved impulse control and diplomatic skills, I am still a dick-at-heart -- though a generally kindly one.
My classmates and I had been plucked from our isolated, comforting, elementary school nerdling pod, and dropped into a massive social cage match. I found myself on the sidelines, confused and lost, in a holding pen with the geekiest geeks from five other elementaries.
I might have been at a social disadvantage, but I was also not a nice kid. And I quickly compensated for my social disorientation by picking on the weaker and geekier.
Were you ever awful in middle school? Would you mind telling me something horrible that you did, so we can don twin online hair shirts? Or something someone did to you, so we can vilify them in absentia?