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Success Is the Very Best Weapon!

How My Enemies Made Me Into a Much Better Person

By Maurice BernierPublished 5 years ago 10 min read
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Photo by Lucas Franco on Unsplash

If you were to ask somebody for the meaning of success, they would probably define it in terms of money, status, or anything else. According to Wikipedia, it may refer to "attainment of higher social status, achievement of a goal, for example, academic achievement or the opposite of failure." All are correct. No argument from me, but I wish to add one more. It is the refusal to abandon one's personal goal no matter how much another person tries to keep you from reaching your goal. Once you can stick to your goal, despite the negativity, you can achieve success by all definitions.

I have had my fair share of bullies, known as cowards, who, because of their insecurities, found a need to elevate themselves by trying to put me down. It started in grammar school and went all the way to my last job. Most of the time, I'd tolerate it, but don't think for a second that I did not want some sort of revenge. But, as the saying goes, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." What does not kill you psychologically makes you stronger psychologically.

Let's take a look at all of them. Please note that I must borrow and adapt a statement that was used in the old Dragnet TV series. "The following story is true. Only the names were changed to protect the idiots."

Let us start with grammar school. I was a student at a local Catholic school in my area. It makes sense since I am Catholic. I attended it from my first day in Kindergarten until my last day in eighth grade. I was never left back and I never skipped a grade. For the most part, things weren't excellent, but they were as good as can be expected except for one classmate during my last year. Let's just call him Deranged.

Naturally, most guys like myself like to take a trip to a barbershop to get a haircut. I loved my barber's work. While it was a two-mile walk across town to get that haircut, it was worth it. When I sat for a haircut, most of the time I dozed off. I was that comfortable. He was gentle and he knew exactly how I liked it done. If I was blindfolded and in a room with 100 barbers, I could always identify my favorite barber very easily. He was a haircut artist. Even today, I have a hard time getting my hair cut to those standards.

Well, one day—a Monday—when school was in session, I was in the schoolyard. While I was chatting with some friends of mine—WHACK! I turned to see Deranged had sneaked up and hit me in the back of my cleanly shaved head with all of his might. Deranged and his friends—the inner clique of boys—started laughing about it. I wanted to take my fist and rap him in the mouth, but I had to be very careful. If I did hit him, I risked getting suspended from school. I could not afford to have that blemish on my record for any reason. If I complained to a teacher, my classmates would have seen me as a baby or a weakling. If I told my Dad, he would have told me to punch him in the mouth. That was Dad's solution for everything. Dad felt that the answer to violence was more violence. I knew right then and there that there had to be another solution. Meanwhile, I knew what to expect each and every time I got a haircut. WHACK!

I had to endure Deranged's nonsense all year long. During that time, unpleasant thoughts circulated through my head, but I stopped because I felt that there was far more than dealing with this idiot in my life. It was bad enough that I also had to deal with a neighborhood bully in the next block. For some reason, he was like a pit bull at times because all he wanted to do is fight. One day, he and his friend had me hemmed up in a local supermarket where, if I went where I told my parents I'd be, would not have been there in the first place. So, according to my tally, I had these two social freaks to deal with already. Fortunately, my problem was half solved when I graduated from eighth grade and Deranged and I went to separate high schools. Recently, he tried to friend me on Facebook. I gave him an answer. BLOCKED!

It did not stop in high school. One of the clique members from eighth grade, Day Bee, also went to high school with me along with seven others. Day was a special kind of instigator. Even though he was book smart, it did not transfer to social intelligence. He loved to start trouble like instigating a fight between one student with another and then stand back collecting accolades from his crew on his ability to get others to fight. I almost fell for his stunt. I forget the class that we had, but there was this strange kid, a year younger than us, who kept saying unintelligible things not only because I could not hear him, but because if I heard them, they simply made no sense at all.

"Oooooh, Maurice," Day said. "Did you hear that? He was talking about your Mother."

To be very honest, no, I did not hear the twit. However, as angry I was at the statement, I was more than angry at Day Bee. Why? Well, when his Mother died, I did my best to help him deal with his Mother's death three years ago in the hopes that when it was my turn, he would do the same for me. When I refused to raise my fists whether the idiot said it or not, Day retaliated on me by saying, "Maurice, if you don't do anything, I won't have any respect for you." That was fine by me because that was the last day that I had any respect of any sort for Day Bee. When I first met Day Bee in grammar school, he had a tank of 100 gallons of respect from me. On that day, his tank went dry. Even to this very day, the tank no longer exists.

Others have tried to destroy me in some way, but I was able to deflect first strikes with the proper response. This is how I earned respect from others. I showed them that I was not a pushover. My message was simple.

"Don't confuse the smile on my face for weakness. I will be more than happy to help you, but if you try to stab me in the back or hurt me in any way whatsoever, I will be your worst enemy of all time."

Up until now, I only had to deal with male bullies. What happened when the bully was a female?

Allow me to introduce Bar B. Dahl. We worked together in two schools that will also remain nameless. I left the first school early before she did. When I decided to work with her again, she put in a good word with the boss of the second school and I was employed again.

Did that justify the behavior that was to come?

Over the next five years that we worked together, she was a nightmare. I was wondering what happened, Do friends treat other friends like this? I remember being in a faculty room for a meeting. Bar had papers to give out. She eventually ran out after giving them out to her friends on the faculty. When she ran out, she turned to me and gladly stuck her tongue out. That was very mature. A tongue? A grown adult woman bothers to stick her tongue out? Very mature. NOT! So, I got up to get my own paper.

Once, she tried to stick me with a printing job. Keep in mind that she had TWO sons in the same school who were very proficient on the computer. She was married to a husband who used computers at work. No, she wanted me to take on an additional report to be typed and printed during my Christmas break, a break where I had to prepare my own report, a colleague's report because he was the senior member of the faculty and had no computer as well as get myself ready to do my second job. She just wanted the report done so that she could have relaxed during the vacation. Keep in mind that I also helped her prepare the info in the report. Did I forget to mention that she took typing in high school?

On another occasion, I had my graduation class on a day trip to a dude ranch just north of NYC. Events at the ranch precipitated that we leave an hour earlier than expected. Before we departed, I took out my cell phone and called a relay of parents which included Bar and my Principal to let them know that we were on our way home. Because of the light traffic, instead of getting back to school by 8 PM, we got back at 6:45 to 7 PM instead. When the bus arrived back at school, and all the children were off the bus and safely with their parents, guess who took the time to yell at me for coming back early. That's right. Bar.

"You told us that you would be back at 8. You are back early. We parents had plans. You said 8....."

I paid her no mind, turned my back to her as she was nearly across the street anyway and headed to my car. I had better things to do instead of listening to this doofus.

It has been just slightly over a dozen years since I've seen Bar. I don't even wish to reconnect with her. Back then, she was nice enough to stab me in the back, talk behind my back and other things I noticed when I last saw her. Now, there is no loss for me. If she wanted to be a friend of mine, she had her chance. I recall her trying to interject in my Facebook conversations a few times. I decided to block her. Maybe she would get the message. Like my "friendship" with Day Bee, I can do and find much better friends elsewhere, people who value my friendship like I value theirs. I even had a boss who called himself a "friend" but was anything but a friend. I know. A boss is not supposed to be a friend, but when someone takes you in confidence and then turns on you because you have not worn his stupid "uniform" at work, what can I tell you?

If a cat has nine lives, I have 9 million plus lives. I refuse to roll over and play dead. Go ahead and put a barrier in my way. I will either go over it, around it or underneath it. I will even go through it. I refuse to let that barrier get in my way. I will find a way to get past it. No bully will ever stop me. My enemies did not defeat me because they could not defeat me. Instead of making me weaker, they made me stronger. Instead of putting my will out, their actions only firmed up my resolve. I learned to push aside those who can do me no good and embrace those who can do me good. I am much better. I feel much better. I am a new me and I like this me much better than I like the old me. I remember another old saying which I have always lived by. Please try to use it as it will help you, too.

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

Time for me to get going. Dinner's waiting on me!

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About the Creator

Maurice Bernier

I am a diehard New Yorker! I was born in, raised in and love my NYC. My blood bleeds orange & blue for my New York Mets. I hope that you like my work. I am cranking them out as fast as I can. Please enjoy & share with your friends.

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