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In which Hank rants about being taunted while riding his bike (which is, btw, very unsettling) and then talks a bit about bullying and he he dealt with it (he didn't) and how you should deal with it (survive.)

The thing about bullies is that they are weak people. The bike taunting story is true, but it's also a metaphor. Bullies bully because they are weak, not because they people they're bullying are weak. Their weakness makes them so frightened that they have to find some way to feel stronger.

And, of course, the person getting bullied also feels tremendously weak and inferior, but it's important to realize that bullying does not come from a place of strength, it comes from weakness and fear. The more they bully, the weaker they become.

This is why I am unsurprised to discover that many of my physically weakest friends are in fact the most brave.


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A Bunny
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Good morning John. I hope that you won't mind if address my video blog today to someone besides you. And that person is the guy who called me a pussy the other day. Hello guy-who-called-me-a-pussy-the-other-day, how you doing?

So last week, as I was riding my bike down a fairly busy street I was thinking about work and I was thinking about friends and I was thinking a little bit about making sure I wouldn't get hit by any cars. Bicyclists on roads are very vulnerable and traffic law and common sense dictate that we travel with the flow of traffic and so, when cars are coming from behind us, we can't see them. What we're doing is trusting that they will not use the power that they have to grind our pelvises into dust inside of our bodies. Yes, it is totally possible that anybody in a car could do that to a biker if they wanted to, but we are trusting that you don't want to.

As well as being an act of trust, it's also an act of bravery. I am not so afraid of death that I will not ride my bike on beautiful days just because there is a small chance that my brain will exit its skull because someone has a very pressing text message and they're not paying attention to the road. That was not directed at the guy who called me a pussy, that was directed at EVERYONE!

Now back to the person who called me a pussy. I'm not sure why you did that as you flew past me in your 3000 pound truck last week. Even assuming that I'm on board with your definition of pussy, which to be clear I am not, because the way that you used that word implies all kinds of assumptions about gender, and weakness, and cowardice that are just not true. But since you probably aren't gonna be able to understand me if I use grown up words, let's stick with your vernacular. I am very not a pussy in this situation, sir. You, as it happens, are surrounded by 3000 pounds of steel and the most advanced safety equipment that humanity has yet to create. I am surrounded by air, balanced on two circular wheels, using nothing more than my momentum and precariously placed body weight! Your vehicle has a top speed of around eight times that of my vehicle and the most advanced safety equipment I've got is a frickin foam hat!

Are you sure that I'm the pussy? Are you sure that taunting a man on a bicycle while you are sitting in what is, in effect, a frickin bullet proof Mech Warrior is not the act of a coward? You think you are brave. What you are is safe. Bravery is not strength in the face of a far lesser foe, bravery is the exact opposite of that. Your need to exert your dominance over me in that situation is in fact an indication of really severe cowardice. Unless this is some kind of bizarre experiment in irony that I don't quite get, it must be really hard for you to live your life as that much of a coward. So for that, I'm sorry, you have my pity. In fact, I want to make that very clear, I. Pity. You.


I originally wrote this rant on my Tumblr, link below. I freaking love Tumblr! But what I didn't say in that Tumblog... For a long time after the incident, a long time after this guy called me a pussy for no apparent reason, I could not help but think, "What did I do wrong? Why did he think I was a pussy?". I have every right to a very healthy ego, yet one comment from someone who I never saw had me thinking "What is wrong with me? Do I look wrong? Do I act wrong? Is there something wrong with me?" Of course there's not! Of course the problem is with the douchebag!

At LeakyCon, a young lady asked me how I dealt with bullying. And I wasn't able to give her a very good answer, which troubles me. There were lots of shouts of "It gets better" and "Stay strong" and "We love you". But when I put myself back in time to when I was being bullied, none of those things would have helped me. Yes, absolutely, it does get better, but when you are being physically and psychologically tortured, it is difficult to remove yourself from the pressingness of the moment at hand.

Here's how I dealt with bullying. I cried, I hated myself, I hated my life. I didn't deal with it, I survived it but I never dealt with it. So here are two tips from someone with lots of experience. One, it's not about you, it has nothing to do with you, it's about the assholes doing it to you. And two, your job is not to deal with it, your job is to survive it, which you can do, because it will end. And then, yes, it will get better.

John, I'll see you on Wednesday.