Posted by BE on March 30th, 2011
When I first saw the story about Casey Heynes, the 16-year-old Sydney schoolboy who’d been bullied for most of his school career and who finally snapped and turned on his tormentor, I was taken back to my own experience 60 years ago at Dunmurry Primary School, just outside Belfast. You’ll need to know that Anderson & McAuley was the Belfast equivalent of Smith & Caughey or Kirkcaldie & Stains. ‘Cheeser’ was our nickname for the headmaster whose real name was Mr Chesney. This is the story as I tell it in my memoir Daddy Was A German Spy – And Other Scandals:
Like most schools, Dunmurry Primary had its resident bully. Nelson was an ugly fat boy. These days you would say that Nelson was an unhappy kid with body image issues who needed counselling. But in those days it was OK to say that Nelson was an ugly fat boy. Nelson threw his weight around – literally. He would jump on your back, then punch your lights out when you were on the ground. No one ever fought back and unless one of the teachers was around, no one ever came to the victim’s rescue. Nelson could have starred in a 50’s Western as the really bad dude who terrorises the town. Where was The Lone Ranger when you needed him?
I was a favourite target for Nelson whose bully radar may have detected a nervous kid with pacifist tendencies. You never saw him coming. Nelson didn’t bother with foreplay. There were no threats or intimidation to warm things up. You suddenly found yourself spread-eagled beneath a mountain of pummelling lard.
I put up with this for several months. Then, one day, something snapped. Nelson had just had his fill of beating the crap out of me and was wandering off in search of another victim when he got a sudden surprise. The wimp Edwards had appeared from nowhere and was riding on his back, his skinny arms round Nelson’s throat, kicking the living daylights out of the back of Nelson’s knees. A small crowd had gathered.
‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ Read the rest of this entry »