As of late, I have been watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island on TV. You know what? This is the first time I watched the show. I couldn’t watch the show as a kid, that stupid Gilligan made ME feel stupid.
Bullying is a funny thing. Well, actually, it isn’t funny at all; what it is, is damaging.
When I was a kid, some idiot thought it would be funny to stick a nickname on me. Not just any nickname, but of all things, Gilligan. He was so dumb, he couldn’t even pronounce the name correctly, calling me ‘Gillican’ instead of Gilligan.
Being named after a popular television character isn’t always a bad thing, but when the character is a bumbling idiot, it hurts. I actually felt stupid.
This is not to say the bully was any different. Given he was as big as any adult by age 10, he was given the nickname ‘Moose’, which he still answers to today. He was always a big dumb ox, and sadly, nothing has changed.
A few summers back, Moose came home to the island for a family reunion. His mother, a sweet lady, hired me to play a bit of music for their party. I hoped Moose wasn’t there, but of course he was.
My DJ equipment is very heavy, and as I struggled to move the large speakers into the tiny hall where the dance was being held, I heard a voice behind me.
“Gonna strain yerself Gillican.” he said. When I turned around, there he was, Moose. He had a lot less hair than I could remember, and a gut twice or three times as big as it was back when we were kids, but it was him, I could tell from the way he pronounced that horrid nickname.
“I see you has youself a fine woman. Why she with someone like you, Gillican?” he asked.
“She should be with a real man, like me for instance” he stated.
It is funny, (well, not THAT funny), but I was almost afraid of him, but bit my tongue and whipped back “My WIFE is with me because she can appreciate intelligence. She wouldn’t be with you because you have none!”
I don’t know who was more surprised, me or Moose. Surely he didn’t think the tiny, skinny kid who reminded him of a Bob Denver character could ever talk to the biggest kid in school in this manner. I couldn’t believe what I said either. It was one of those ‘Did I think it or did I just say it out loud’ moments. I was almost ready to duck when suddenly, the room filled with laughter.
“He sure told you, Moose!” one guy harped. “He is right you know, you always lacked intelligence.” said another, both those guys former victims of his torturous bullying.
The big guy’s response? “Well, I guess you are right, I don’t have a lot of intelligence” he said.
“That’s alright Steve” I said, ” We all know what you are like.” It took me 40 years to stand up to this guy.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go. I am in the third season of