I’ll never forget the first day of Kindergarten class. I was terrified, anxious, even had an upset stomach. As a child, I was incredibly shy, to the point that looking back at it now I can’t help but ask myself what the….
I don’t know why I was, but I was. Well, sure enough, even at a young age, a bully was able to understand the psychology and the telltale signs that I was a perfect mark. I was quiet, reserved, insecure and kept my eyes focused on the ground. I didn’t bother anyone, didn’t socialize, just did what I was supposed to do and move on. Just what a bully wants.
One day, this older kid, heavy set, takes my lunch box and rummages through it, taking whatever it is he wanted. After shedding many tears that day and having no lunch to eat, I went home and told my father what happened. Now, my father was like many fathers were back in the day. For one, he had balls. It takes plenty of balls to leave your country with nothing in your pocket, enter foreign land without an understanding of the language, the culture, and the customs, and somehow support a wife and child at the same time. Well, I still remember the conversation as if it was yesterday.
Teary eyed: “dad, some kid took my lunch today.”
“So smack him in the head with the lunchbox.”
Shocked, “but dad, I will destroy my Scooby Doo lunchbox.”
“I’ll buy you another.”
“But dad, I’ll get in trouble with the principal.”
“I’ll take care of the principal. You get kicked out of school, don’t worry about it. I won’t punish you.”
“Listen. It’s simple. If tomorrow he takes your lunchbox, you asked to see it, then smash him across the head with it.”
Shocked, terrified, the next day I went on the bus, and sure enough, the bully takes my lunchbox and Oreo cookies. When he hands me back the lunchbox, I smacked him as hard as I could across the forehead with it. The lunchbox was smashed in because back then lunchboxes were made of tin. That kid looked at me, rubbed his forehead, and started to cry. He told the bus driver who simply replied: “serves you right.” He never bothered me again, or anyone else for that matter. Since that day, I have learned that to communicate with someone, you must speak the same language. You cannot speak Spanish to a Chinese person and expect to get anywhere. The same applies for bullies.
My profession has never been a walk in the park. It has taken everything I got to make my way through undergraduate, graduate, and law school, and it took even more to open up my first matchbox of an office in 1999 a week after passing the bar exam, and keeping it open. It’s been a roller coaster at times with plenty of men/spouses threatening me physically and I have even been attacked physically. Even late last night, I received an email from an attorney bullying me that I will deal with after this blog (unrelated to the motorcycle community, but my profession). But, I’ve stood toe-to-toe with all of them and did not back down because somewhere in me, there is still that little kid clutching his smashed-in Scooby Doo lunchbox. I owe that to my father, who some called at times El Leon, the Lion, or El Picaro, which means astute or intelligent.
Learn from me. When you get bullied, you reach back with all you got, and you smash your lunchbox against the bully’s head because now you are speaking their language. I’ll even buy you a new lunchbox and deal with the principal.
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