So You Wanna Be A Big Bad Bully?

It was another bad, bad day for William Crooney, and he walked home with a sad, sad heart. Just as always, everyone at school picked on him. Some started sniggering or giggling when he passed by, while others preferred to be more blatant and laughed out loud. When they left him alone, he felt too alone. No one wanted to sit at his table during lunch, let alone talked to him. It made him feel very, very lonely.

Life had not always been this brutal. He had a happy and normal life in kindergarten and in elementary school. He had best friends and he was more or less cool. And then came seventh grade, when everything turned upside down. Suddenly everything changed and everyone changed. Everyone started dressing differently and forming cliques as though we could not all get along like one big happy family.

William could not understand why this happened, but he knew that he did not want to be like those who went with the flow. He refused to change. He wanted to be true to himself. He wanted to be himself. So he kept on wearing what he had been wearing in fifth-grade and used the phrases everyone had long abandoned. And then he realized fewer and fewer people talked to him until he was left with no one.

"It's so hard to be yourself when no one want to accept you," he thought mournfully. "But I will not give in. Gandhi, too, was shunned when he was in school. And then look how famous he later became."

At that point, he passed a thrift store he always passed without a second look. This time, however, he suddenly realized that his shoelaces were untied right in front of the store. And after he knelt down and stood up again, he decided on impulse to go in.

It was not a very big store. The storekeeper was a deaf, tired old man reading a newspaper who took no notice when William stepped in and smiled politely at him. William did not really have anything in mind he wanted to buy, but he was soon attracted to the books section. William, you see, was a bookworm. His thick glasses would have given him away had I not decided to pop up out of nowhere and relay to you this exciting information. But I'll be gone from now on.

William tilted his head as he skimmed through the titles on the spines of the paperbacks, mumbling to himself all the way. One title finally caught his eyes. So You Wanna Be A Big Bad Bully? He took the book from the shelf and stared at the cover. Clearly it was written a long time ago. The pages had yellowed and the cover looked dull. But he took interest in it anyway. It was cheap. So he took the book to the deaf, tired old man and put five pennies on the counter. The deaf, tired old man never gave him a second look.