Thursday, July 20, 2006

Growing Up

We were talking last Saturday about Ramon Salvosa, a person we went to grade school together with and who recently passed away. I don’t remember him myself, though my other friends do.

An article by Juan Mercado in the July 13, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, entitled “Bullies with Diplomas”, explained that he suffered a deep depression from intense teasing and bullying back in the 7th grade. This was back in 1988-1989, and he reportedly carried it with him since. Naturally, the article contained statements of regret of not helping Ramon enough to deal with the bullying, or that he should have been taught instead to fight back.

This brought up the relationship my friends and I have with one another. We’ve known each other, on and off, for decades. A couple of the guys I was with that evening, one I first met in 1981, and the other in 1984.

We didn’t always get along. Some guys were picked on. Some others did the picking. Some, like me, just kept out of the way and managed to avoid helping or hindering either.

One of the guys present last night knew he was one of those who liked to tease others. Even back in the mid-80’s. He likes doing it now. During the discussion, he did get a bit defensive about his. Naturally, as any group of children would have, we ganged up on him and told him that no, he wasn’t funny at all, that he made life terrible for everyone around. All exaggerations really, but it was amusing to see his wife slap him around for being a bully.

I know I myself can be cruel. I recently found out that a couple of colleagues of mine got really upset with me for some remarks I made. And I always thought that I was being nice to these two.

My friends and I aren't always so nice to one another. We pick on one another even now.

We accept it though, now, as part of who we are individually and together. We don’t have to like everything about one another. And, we don’t have to pretend we do. If we can criticize each other and still be funny, well, that isn’t too childish at all.