Yesterday my youngest boy came home crying, tears stinging his wee round cheeks his eyes puffy and red with the type of sadness a parent does not wish on any child. He had been in a fight and took a beating from an older boy, now the ubiquitous dance of the loser begins he feels as if his life is over and every one will be laughing at him. I ask the usual questions, "Are you alright, what happened, how did it start." The older boy had just appeared in the neighborhood and had decided to give a lesson on bullying, unfortunately my boy was the prefered target of the day.
I dediced to sit him down and tell him a little story. Picture the scene: Strachan Avenue, West Ferry Park, Dundee Scotland, 1976. A young red headed boy on a brand new raleigh chipper bike slashing around the neighborhood like Poncho on his Harley from C.H.I.P.S. Not a care in the world just a boy and his new bike. The most important male possession, a precursor to his first car.
All of a sudden a massive thrust pushed the bike and wee red parted from the chipper as if Moses had just waved his hand. After dusting himself off, wee red looked up at the other kids in the neighborhood laughing as his new yellow chipper was being paraded around by a bully named Andy Curran. Andy Curran - bigger, stronger, faster and the spawn of satan he was abusing the yellow chipper, using it to stockpile laughs and spout invective slang at wee red and his beloved bike. After several failed attempts to regain control of the chipper, wee red began the walk of shame home with tail tucked and head hung low fighting a tear.
Wee red's Dad was the Scottish shotokan karate champion and his mother was a highland dancing enigma, wee red was just a boy without his father's chop or his mother's swirl. When he slinked throught the front door his mother was not far behind and sensed something was wrong as only a mother can. Wee red belted out a tear and emptied his wee soul to mum and dad, then the most important moment of his life happened. His father said "If you want your bike back, then go and get it. Knock him off your chipper and take it." Wee red trembled at the thought of facing Andy Curran, knowing blood loss would be the expected result, his mother added "You can't let bullies win or they will never stop, go get your bike." His father said "Don't come back without it." Yikes, wee red thought no safe haven here just pushed out in the arena to face the lion.
Wee red looked deep into his mother and fathers eyes and knew they were right, the adrenaline was brewing like lava from hell and wee red marched off to war. Andy Curran did not know what hit him as wee red pounded the bully until he cried and ran home to his own neighborhood, the blood loss was his not wee reds. That night wee red and his yellow chipper patrolled West Ferry Park just in case other bullies were hiding in wait, ready to assualt the neighborhood.
So, back to 2009, wee red is now big red, and his son is facing the same demons as he did in 1976. Bullies are bullies no matter what side of the Atlantic you call home. Society has changed drastically since '76, boys are now arrested in school for fighting and they have a 100% hands off policy here. I don't want to mollycoddle the lad, so do I send him off to war with the bully or do I do what some people I know do: call my lawyer, sue the parents for assault and battery leaving them homeless with nowhere to raise such spawn. I decided to take the old school approach and send him out to face his lion alone, he was no more than two steps out the door and I bolted after him, "Stop." I could not do it, I could not stand the thought of him beaten and hurt by a bigger adversary so I did the only thing that sounded reasonable at the time, I sent my oldest boy to punish the offender and teach him his own lesson. My youngest son is 7, the bully is 10 and my oldest boy is 11 Dundee justice, the cycle continues.....
The wee yellow chipper - the inspiration for the Hell's Angels.
Another day with Schmidt's Syndrome, another day of ups and downs, highs and lows and the recurring roller coaster of emotions that accompany me through my diseased journey. It is hard to belive that 20 years have passed since I was diagnosed with this bullshit, 20 long years of pills and pharmacy lines behind old people, sick people and me telling myself I am not like them. I am not diseased just misdiagnosed by underqualified lab coat wearing clowns pimping for the pharmaceutical whores who line their lab coats with lies and dollars.
The last 5 years have been the most difficult with altered dosages and mood swings. Oh the mood swings they are the epitome of evil, someone with a short temper and a big stick, Mel Gibson in Braveheart, Russell Crow in Gladiator, Al Pacino in Scarface, that's me the dynomite about to explode, the adreanline to the heart, lock me in the padded room and hide the key.
The wary quest continues to find a cure but none will ever be found, the closest we came was when Oprah Winfrey was diagnosed with a thyroid disease, the national media groveled at her feet weeping over her symptoms and we were spotlighted for about a month, then the lights flickered and went out and moved on to some freak who's uterus fast tracked 8 babies and now has a reality show.
It could always be worse, my disease is not life threatening not even a disease just a lowly syndrome but one that pushes and bullies the emotions mafia style - take the pills and shut up. Next in line please.....
I was born and raised in Scotland and moved to America as a young lad. As I age I feel more connected to Scotland, I feel her pulling me home like a welcoming Mother at the end of a troublesome day. Today I read several great posts written about Rememberance Day, some of them included pipers and montages of Scotland's mountains and typical scenery and something about it made me shed a tear. How can images on a screen draw out emotions so powerful that you question your whole life? Is it possible I don't belong here any more? Are the images and haunting notes of the pipes calling me to uproot my family and settle back in the land of my ancestors. Where would I work? what the hell would I do? Should I sell the house and business, load up the kids and the dog and make a transatlantic homecoming?
It must be a mid-life crisis. The desire to gypsy over to another spot on the globe, seeking greener pastures and leaving darker ones in your wake before you get too old and the desire fades to a distant memory of youthfull dreams.
Someday I will gaze upon your purple heather and rolling hills, someday I will feel your tepid sunshine and bitter rain upon my welcoming cheek, someday I will stand on the terraces of Tannadice with my Father and be gleefully drawn back to a moment in time. Someday I will come home, but not today, someday....
As reported on the NBC this morning, several Wall Street corporations have received massive doses of the H1N1 vaccine. Although this is not an uncommon practice what about the timing of the reward? Lines of Americans boldy wait their turn wrapped around street corners huddling their babies from natures wrath, while pinstriped fat cats stuff their noses with the vaccine. How do the fat cats line jump to the front while clinics and hospitals wait in vain for their allotment? Does Wall Street not realize they are polarizing themselves even more with this news, or do they care? Are their valuable executives more important to the country than the average man on the street, do they deserve to be saved from a virus outbreak before a carpenter, teacher or housewife? Who would we need if we had to rebuild the country from scratch a construction worker or an executive? Fuck the executives the only dirt on their hands is from counting and recounting our bailout money. The black eye is still visible and fresh in our minds from the last batch of Wall Street bonuses now this is a kick in the balls for Americans. I know the business of America is business but what would the founding fathers say today? probably "Oh no, this is not what we created what have we done."