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Watching the TV documentary, “Bystanders Ending Bullying,” last week probably conjured up unpleasant memories for many viewers.
I was thinking of a situation, but not exactly what the show was about.
When I was 20, I worked in a typing pool churning out lumber confirmations at Boise Cascade. Behind me sat Pat, a plain-looking, single mother of two boys. A pretty co-worker, immaculately dressed and coifed, sorted our forms. She made a habit of walking back to give Pat a hard time for piddling errors. All of us in the typing pool liked Pat and were getting tired of this behavior, but nobody said anything.
One day, without thinking, I jumped out of my chair and chewed out Miss Immaculate. I’m not sure who was more surprised — Pat or her tormentor. I’d seen plenty of that crap in high school without speaking up. Now I was older by a few years. I’d had enough.
My outburst earned me a visit to the manager’s office, where I got a half-hearted speech about bringing problems like that to him. I half-heartedly agreed and went back to my IBM. Miss Immaculate never gave Pat a bad time again. I learned that bullies are, at their core, cowards.
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