What I Learned on the Govt. School Bus

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As
a country kid I spent two hours a day on that big yellow instrument
of torture some people call a school bus.

Often
through my government school career I was one of the first if not
the first to have to board that diesel-snorting, cold, hot, stinking,
dangerous because it was often driven too fast on narrow roads,
redneck-bully-filled monstrosity. So I usually avoid thinking about
my term of imprisonment there.

But
tonight, while thinking about how alienated the average u2018patriot'
really is from mainstream society, it occurred to me that I learned
a few things on the government school bus that I never imagined
might still apply in the adult world. I was so wrong. Here's what
I learned:

Acting
as if you know anything at all is the quickest way to get branded
a u2018know it all.'

Acting
as if you care about anything that really matters is the quickest
way to get ignored.

Trying
to tell others about what really matters, or telling anything that
varies from the accepted stories, is the quickest way to get hated
or feared or beat up.

Ignoring
bullies is not possible. If they can't irritate or abuse you one
way they'll find another.

Most
people will sit idly by and let the bullies beat the stuff out of
you.

When
you decide to fight back you must always take the high ground, whether
verbal or physical, and make damn sure of it, or the bullies will
take advantage of your poor position.

Taking
the u2018moral high ground' is not a sure means to success. It only
angers some bullies and makes them more determined to destroy you
or cause you misery.

Habitual
liars will not be swayed to the straight path by your good example
or by pleading. They were probably taught to lie at home and it
is part of their value system.

You
have to choose sides. Doing something because it's u2018the right thing
to do' is beyond the understanding of most adults or children, regardless
of how many times they've been taught otherwise. They will ultimately
always choose what benefits their own survival.

Not
being part of one team or the other is the quickest way to get ignored.
After all, if you don't fit in somewhere, you probably don't deserve
to fit in anywhere.

Most
of the riders on the bus of life will expect you to live down to
their standards, if indeed they have any standards. Of course they
all think they have high standards. But that doesn't make it true.

Now
here's the secret to this. Most of the kids who were bullies as
kids grow out of it one way or another.

It's
often the wimpy smart kids, or sometimes the kids who never really
knew failure so they can't understand why others aren't like them,
who grow up to be bullies in the adult world. They end up writing
the laws or promoting or enforcing them, attempting to tell everyone
else how to live and what to do in the pursuit of regulating every
aspect of our lives.

Maybe
my years of being forced to attend the government school taught
me something after all.

May
24, 2005

Barry
Bright [send him mail]
lives on a small farm in Kentucky with two dogs, 9 cats and 18 head
of cattle and does photography when not wondering what they're going
to try to do to us next.

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