By the time middle school started, I had the Victim Kit firmly sewed on. Cystic acne, headgear and braces, man-tits and a stupid haircut. Sixth and seventh grade were no fucking fun for me. Summer camp was torture, swimming pools were humiliation ponds, sports were a whirling wall of razors I didn’t dare approach.By the time eighth grade rolled around, I’d adjusted my strategy. Figure out who the biggest bullies and abusers were, use my nascent comedy skills to make ‘em laugh and hone their taunts, and become part of the asshole entourage.It was a survival strategy. I had a hand in tormenting an awkward girl named Robin in my eighth grade personal hygiene class. Also a fat(ter), asthmatic kid with a stutter at YMCA camp whose name I can’t remember and countless, faceless others as I glided painlessly in the wake of a trio of bullies whose names I also can’t remember. I only knew they weren’t bullying me, and were actually glad to see me in the morning, ‘cause here comes a guy who knows seven crueler ways to call someone an asshole or shithead (beyond just “asshole” and “shithead”).
Patton Oswalt wrote a response to the It Gets Better video project on his, uh, MySpace blog today. In it, he talks about how he avoided being tormented by bullies by siding with the bullies, helping them torment other kids. He doesn’t feel great about it!The entire thing is worth reading. It’s great that Patton is so honest about his dickheaddy youth, especially when one assumes most comedians were the bullied, not the bullies.