Last week, Karen Klein, the 68-year old bus monitor cruelly taunted by seventh-grade boys in Greece, New York, flew to Toronto to accept a cheque for $703,833. Canadians upset over the bullying incident raised the money. Klein has already travelled to New Orleans courtesy of country superstar Tim McGraw, and visited California on news anchor Anderson Cooper's dime. The thirteen-year-old boys who bullied the senior citizen received a one-way ticket to an "alternative-education" school. Whatever that is, it doesn't sound good.
I don't begrudge Miss Karen her thousands. Anybody who is brave enough to spend their day monitoring the behaviour of teenage boys deserves lots of cash, plus at least one of Michael Phelps's gold medals and a spare handbag from the Queen. I am a bit perturbed, however, that my torment has, once again, been overlooked by those not in charge. There is no box on the counter at the local drugstore to raise money to compensate me for transgressions committed against my person. No iphone-wielding do-gooder has documented my pain and uploaded the angst to YouTube. No one has heard the tears I cry in the night. And since I am grumpier and less noble than Miss Karen, I have decided to name names. Or at least name categories. (If you think you might be one of the people listed below, you probably are.)
The bullies who torment me include:
- Pet owners who let their dogs bark and bark and bark - and when I complain act surprised and say, "Fifi's not barking, she's talking."
- Parents who expect teachers to instruct their children about the facts of life, manners, bullying, and why you should not live on credit cards.
- Car owners who drive in the fast lane when they aren't driving fast. Go faster, or get the hell out of the way.
- Realtors who boast that they are internet-savvy and then do not put pictures of the houses they are selling on the website.
- Women - and I hate to single you out but this is true - who stand in line for ten minutes and when the cashier has finally tallied up their bill, start looking for their credit card in their suitcase-like purse.
- Petty bureaucrats who can't think outside the box, nor make allowances for human frailty and acts of God. I guess if they could, then they wouldn't be bureaucrats.
- Athletes who think what they do is somehow equal to the work of firefighters, doctors, excellent teachers and people who build orphanages. Also, the fans who treat them like gods.
- Parents who paint their daughters' bedrooms pink and call them princesses - why would you teach your children to expect so much from others and so little from themselves?
- Couples who sit in a restaurant, each on their own cell phone, talking in their "outside" voice, for the entire meal. No one is impressed.
- Hospital staff who think caring for sick people is beneath them.
I could go on, but I think I have made my point. I do hope whoever is in charge of these things is paying attention. I'd love to see Tim McGraw in concert, and I know Anderson Cooper and I would get along like a house on fire. No personal cheques, please.