Monday, September 17, 2012

Bullies, fart jokes & rampaging Muslims

(621 words)

Our 11-year-old jumped off the bus last week and presented me with an opportunity to be a wise parent. I wasn’t due to commence my Friday afternoon drunk for another 20 minutes so I seized it.

She said she’d seen a bigger, older boy bullying a smaller, younger boy. My blood began to percolate.

What happened?

“Well, he was really picking on this kid,” she said. “He was saying he was really farty and that he was so farty he was going to fart himself clear into outer space and stink up the whole universe. The boy was crying.”

Setting aside the fact that by probably 2024 the bully boy and I will likely be sitting on adjacent bar stools giggling about fart jokes, I asked her if she did anything.

“I told him to stop picking on the kid. That he was being stupid and he should leave him alone.”

Yes. Intervene. Defend the weak. Be vocal. Let others see you standing up to bullies. Be a beacon to the frightened little boy. Let him know he’s not alone.

I told her I was proud of her reaction. But she failed to apply one more essential tactic she should remember if it ever happens again or if it ever happens to her.

“Tell the boy to just ignore him. What the bully said was perfectly harmless. There are always going to be stupid people who say mean things to make us angry. Over-reacting only encourages idiots.”

Sticks and stones, kid. Sticks and stones.

I hope my words were beneficial, and I hope the next time it happens Josie’s on a school bus with all 1.6 billion of the world’s Muslims.

Come on! Get over it!

I haven’t and won’t see the incendiary 14-minute film that’s ignited the latest murder rampage, but every article I’ve read says it’s amateurish and laughable. It lampoons Allah and says the deity is a drunk, a despoiler of women, a bumbling idiot.

Throw in the declaration he’s a cheap tipper and it’s basically what the Tuesday night bartender says about me at The Pond. He says it about everybody. He has anger issues.

So do many practitioners of what we keep hearing is one of the world’s great religions.

I fail to appreciate the greatness of a religion whose devotees start behaving like Satan’s soldiers the instant someone publishes a pencil cartoon of their God.

I know less about the Koran than I know about the Bible, which means I know less about it than I know about things like baseball’s murky balk rule.

I have my priorities, misguided as they may be.

But I try to live my life so that the God they’re worshipping in Karachi and the one they’re worshipping in Kansas will find reason to approve.

I’m not going to try and kill anyone who isn’t trying to kill me. I encourage people to do good and enjoy the gift of life that can be taken from us at any instant for reasons that seem at once brutal and whimsical.

I hold aloft a lantern for peace in the hopes it will enlighten others to understand there’s too much blood shed over these infernal my-God-is-better-than-your-God conflicts.

I try and remind people to turn the other cheek, and that the only thing we can do to influence the way people treat us is to be considerate of the way we treat people.

In essence, let’s all lighten up.

Because the only thing worse than being the butt of a stupid fart joke is the silly over-reaction that makes everything much, much worse.

That’s what really stinks.

Related . . .

When Christ as a cudgel

Do turbans make men hotheaded?

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