Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Am Everyone Else

It was snowing outside. With keys in my hand I leaned over the receptionist's desk and told Shari, “You know how when it’s snowing people say “I’m comfortable with my driving, it’s everyone else on the road that scares me.” Well...” She laughs and completes my sentence with “You are the everyone else, eh?” I laugh along, but let out a nervous twitch as I watch those little white flakes of doom continue to fall from the sky. “It’s true. I’m the everyone else. I suck at driving in the snow, and so as a favor to the rest of humanity, I’m going home before this snow starts to stick.”
I am everyone else. That’s the phrase that stuck with me as I drove home, gripping the steering wheel with an iron grip, suspicious that it was about to develop a mind of its own and crash us into the nearest available solid object. I am everyone else. Hmmm...
It’s anti-bullying day today. Bullying is awful. It’s existed forever, this is no new problem, but it has transformed a bit. It’s expanded and developed to be a tech-savvy creature. The most recent incident I encountered with bullying was when one of my teens showed me a text messaging conversation she had had over the weekend. The content was unbelievable. Then she showed me the advertisement that bully had put up on craigslist. It had her picture, her name and phone number. This girl had to change her phone number because she was getting phone calls from “Johns” looking to buy sex. This is bullying.
There are three roles in the bullying scenario. The first is the victim. The second is the bully. The third, and most important role, is everyone else. If everyone who witnessed bullying in it’s different forms stood up and stopped it, bullies would have a much more difficult time. As you walk by the park and see three little boys being mean to a fourth kid, do you walk on and mind your own business? Yes you do. Of course you do. We all do. We are the everyone else. That’s our role.
This is a call out to Everyone Else. Let’s take our role more seriously. Get Involved. Be a nosey neighbor. (If everyone had nosey neighbors domestic abuse would be much less common, but that’s another rant for another snow day.) Refuse to stay silent and watch. At the mall, in Tim Hortons, on the side of the road where your car is stuck in a snow bank, wherever you are, Get Involved. Speak Up. I dare you.

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