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Cyberbullies Further Thoughts
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Sherry's and crochetlady's comments (see previous Cyberbullies post comments) were painful reminders of what it was like to be a high school girl, long before computers and Facebook and cyberbullies.

Old-fashioned bullying, snide comments, whisper campaigns, teasing and gossip are only too vivid memories, as I look back.

I was what would be called nowadays a geek. I was smart, two years younger than my peers (started high school at 12), a straight A student, socially awkward, and poor. My mother was "strange". I wore glasses.

In other words, I was different. I learned to endure taunts and teasing, the whisper campaign, the looks at the way I dressed (handmedowns). And I developed a strong sense of who I was; I was not them. And never would be.

I learned protective camoflage. I learned to dress acceptably, speak in sentences composed of monosyllabic words with a paucity of dependent clauses. I asked the principal to take my name off the honor roll. It wasn't until my senior year when I was publicly inducted into the National Honor Society that my friends learned I got good grades.

When no one asked me to the Junior Prom, I went stag. Horrors! The bullies had a grand time for days afterward, talking about it. But by then I had learned to be myself, albeit under cover to be socially acceptable.

In recent years I have been more nearly myself, though I work in a profession not known for high levels of education. I'm witty, erudite, well-educated. Mentally quick and agile in thought. Casual or collegial (at work) in dress and manner. Loving my classical music and my books.

The irony is that when I become an old woman and have to deal with doctors and nurses who may know their medical stuff but have no liberal arts education, and with semi-literate caregivers, I will have to go under cover again, as an ordinary person, so as not to be labeled "odd" or "confused" or "senile".

I mentioned to a doctor today about being compos mentis and she didn't have a clue. As her face went blank, I added an apposite phrase to clarify. So as I get older, I'll have to become ordinary and slow again, so as not to scare the natives. I would not like to be locked away because some mediocre brain didn't understand me and felt threatened by one of my esoteric references.

Our society does not easily tolerate anyone who's different. Unless he/she has money--lots of it. Money speaks a universal language of power.

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