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An Open Letter to Dorks and Losers

Hello. My name is Terrence "Mongo" Rennet, and I represent the American Council of Bullies, Toughs, and Schoolyard Ruffians. I'm here to clear up some tragic misconceptions about bullies and their place in the academic hierarchy, misconceptions that have gone unchallenged for too long. It is my hope that by "clearing the air," as it were, bullies and bullied can walk with head erect or cower behind lockers respectively with a newfound respect for one another.

Myth: Bullies are just jealous of your intelligence, sensitivity, or ability to play the oboe.

Fact: Bullies have no more jealousy of your mental abilities than we have of your clean, well-ironed, unfashionable clothing. To the contrary, we are profoundly glad that you have chosen to develop your mental prowess, leaving your body weak and defenseless against our brutality. For that we thank you, even as we elevate your underwear.

Myth: Bullies suffer from low self-esteem, and victimize others to make themselves feel better.

Fact: While each bully has his (or her, as is increasingly the case) own deeply personal reasons for bullying, I can assure you that a poor self-image is not one of them. To the contrary, bullying is a high-pressure occupation, and only someone with an unusual amount of self-confidence will have the elán to shake down younger students efficiently while evading authority. Children without self-confidence tend instead to spend recess in the library, the computer lab, or pretending to be warriors in ridiculous fantasy games. Sound familiar?

Myth: If you stand up to a bully, he will reveal himself to be a coward.

Fact: This is perhaps the most hurtful stereotype of them all, in the sense that if you try it we will hurt you. Endless movies and after-school specials depict a tormented victim finally working up the courage to attack his neighborhood bully, after which said bully runs away crying and -- I must chuckle here -- calling for his mommy. What writers of these "entertainments" don't realize is that bullies invariably establish a complex ritual pecking order through constant low-level violence against each other. Haven't you noticed us punching each other in the shoulder at the bus stop? Then you've witnessed the magic of our social structure. Even if you, with your weak, gelatin-like arms were able to do us physical harm, I can assure you that we would recover faster than you can recite your grade point average and teach you a few things about savage poundings you can't learn from Spider-Man comics.

With that thought, I take your leave, confident that I have, in my own small way, improved the world's understanding of the art and craft of bullying. Good day, and if I see you after school you're dead meat.

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